Spotlight On ALAC Member’s Dogs

CH Rufkins Monarch Just Because I Am THDN CGC

Jan Stevens, an ALAC member and longtime Lhasa Apso owner, describes Casey’s Therapy Dog visits to her local hospital.  I enjoyed reading about Casey’s reaction to the patients and visitors at the hospital and their reactions to him!  He is truly an all around companion!  Casey’s breeder, Roberta Lombardi, reports that Casey was the ALAC Regional Specialty Winners Dog in 2012 under breeder judge Keke Kahn.

Casey is progressing so beautifully in his role as a therapy dog. He seems to look forward to our Tuesday afternoons at the hospital. He dances with excitement by the back door as I load his crate and stroller into the car.

We visit for 2 hours and see about 50 people including patients, visitors, and staff. Many of the staff members have gotten to know him and call out his name when they see him. He loves the attention.  He has turned tears into smiles on several occasions. People love to feel his coat and marvel at his “braids” and his long, soft hair. I get lots of comments about how calm he is.  He behaves as if he knows he is an official ambassador to make people happy. And now that we have been doing this for a while, Casey’s silly, playful side is started to show, especially with the staff members. He likes to show off his prairie dog pose for them.

After our first visit to the hospital in June, I decided to get a stroller for him. It’s easier on him and me as we make our rounds. I also feel that it keeps him cleaner even though I’ve found the hospital floors to be very immaculate (one would hope that in a hospital). I always maintain full control of him when we visit. He greets people from his stroller or I hold him for them to pet him. In a couple of the staff rooms, I let him walk around and he goes from person to person like he knows he is to say hello to each person. Initially I was concerned that his coat might get messed up with all the petting, but thankfully that hasn’t been a problem.

A couple weeks ago he met a 7+1/2 month old baby. I pulled Casey’s stroller up along side the baby’s and they were both so cute. The baby had a smile and big eyes full of surprise and amazement. And Casey was gently smelling the baby. He must have experienced that special baby smell.

Casey got his AKC Therapy Dog Novice title in September. After 50 visits he will earn his full Therapy Dog title. He has 21 visits now, so I expect we’ll get to 50 by spring. When I received his THDN certificate, I was surprised to receive an Achiever Dog certificate as well. I guess that’s something new that AKC is promoting for dogs receiving 3 or more titles. Casey now has CH, THDN, and CGC titles.

I marvel at how well Casey has gravitated to his role as a therapy dog, almost like this is what he was meant to do at this stage of his life. He has surpassed my expectations. I’m grateful that he is happy and healthy and enjoying life.