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Health & Pupstyle

Sep 10, 2020

Carmel's Journey to become a Certified Therapy Dog

Grandma Lucy’s is honored to have Carmel as a member of Lucy’s Crew! We would like to share a spotlight oCarmel and all that she does as a certified therapy dog. Carmel and her mom Barb have shared their story. 

Carmel is a 4-year-old golden doodle. She and I are a therapy team, certified through Therapy Dogs International, the oldest therapy dog organization. We have been with this organization for 2 years.  

Carmel first came home with us in 2016,  and we had no intention of doing therapy work. Simply, our daughter was 10 years old and ready to have her first dog.  

By the time Carmel was 6 months old, she was extremely strong. It was almost impossible to take her for a walk due to her pulling. We found a trainer who agreed to work with Carmel at our house. The trainer was extremely knowledgeable with 30 years of experience and it showed in her first interaction with Carmel. She started us on gentle leader and a special harness which both instantly helped.  She also encouraged us to sign up for basic obedience classes. 

After the basic obedience class, we signed up for Canine Good Citizen classes with our same trainer. This type of class prepares you for therapy training. Our trainer really loved training Carmel and saw her great potential as a therapy dog. We all saw that the training was making Carmel a better, more obedient, easier to control  dog that you could  take to a public place.  

Once Carmel passed her canine good citizen test, we started thinking about the therapy test. One way to achieve this is by training your dog on your own and then signing up for a therapy test with an organization of your choice. Training on your own is not simple, so our trainer suggested a place that workwith Therapy Dogs International. They have classes specifically for therapy that prepare you for all possible scenarios, such as school visitshospitals, and nursing homes. At the end of this training there is a test. 

We had an amazing experience with both the training and the test. We passed in June 2018! After that, we have been visiting both a local school and college. It is amazing to share your dog’s kindness and love with others!  Nothing compares to it!  

We also share our journey and many tips about therapy dogs on our Instagram account at @carmelgoldendoodle.  

Barbara Vokatis