Berakah Receives Therapy Dog Excellent Award
On Wednesday, May 5th, I took Berakah to the Alzheimer’s Unit for our therapy dog visit. I had been warning everyone that she was failing and will soon retire from doing visits. She seemed to be having one scary episode a week where she becomes confused, and was getting weaker physically. After all, she is 12 ½, which is old for a GSD. Most of the time she’s fine, but I’m thinking about how much each of those episodes further weakens her.
Anyway, they talk to me through the picture window, mostly telling Joy, the staff member I’ve worked with for several years, what to ask and then she relays what I say to the group. Wednesday they asked how many visits a therapy dog must do before it retires. I told them there is no limit, but that I had hoped that Berakah would get her 200-visit-award before she retired. They asked how many visits she had done, and I said that one was #199. They got all excited, and asked where I planned to do visit #200. I said probably the school on Monday, as that was her next scheduled visit, as long as she felt well. They really got excited then and told me THEY wanted to be visit #200, and would I please bring her Thursday. What else could I say than “Sure!”
Thursday was supposed to have nothing scheduled (except trying to catch up on yardwork), but I headed to Sheridan Manor’s Alzheimer’s Unit so that they could enjoy Berakah’s landmark #200 visit. Of course, she has done many more than 200, but for a couple of years, when I didn’t claim my breeding as a business, I didn’t keep a mileage log, so I don’t have proof for visits done by any of my dogs during that time. It was only when I heard that AKC had begun a title award program for therapy dogs that I decided I wanted to try for any rewards. They presented Berakah with a beautiful card. Berakah’s name means “blessing” in Hebrew, and she has truly been a blessing for me – and for hundreds of people whom she has cheered through her therapy dog visits for the last 11 years.
Then the AKC (American Kennel Club) sent her a beautiful medal and patch along with a certificate for earning her Therapy Dog Excellent title.
I just had to get a photo of Berakah with her Medal and Patch. She wasn’t very cooperative during the photo shoot. I wanted her sitting so the medal and patch would show, but she said “no more” after I got one shot. So I had to scan the medal and patch so you can see the details.