My wife and I have a 10 pound gray miniature poodle named “Daisy.” To say Daisy is smart would be an understatement. Daisy is smarter than some lawyers I know and most politicians I know of. And probably brighter than me on some occasions. When you talk to her, she looks you right square in the eye as if she’s trying to figure out “just what language is he speaking?”
Daisy is a certified therapy dog – with the Canine Therapy Corps in Chicago (www.caninetherapycorps.org). Canine Therapy Corps has nearly 75 dogs who work in 15 area hospitals. It is a wonderful program that provides animal-assisted therapy often in collaboration with physicians and attending staff.
Daisy went to school for nearly two years to get certified in this wonderful program. Daisy and Donna work on Wednesday afternoons at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Since Daisy responds to voice and motion commands (both of which Donna says I have trouble with), Daisy works with stroke and spinal cord injury patients who are working on speech and movement. To watch Daisy “on the job” is a treat. Daisy dances, twirls, sits, stays, barks, marches, and does level 1 calculus all while working with the patients. When working with children, sometimes a little boy or girl will just want to hold Daisy. And that’s just fine too.
When Daisy gets home, she takes off her blue vest and kicks back – knocking down a few liver treats and taking a walk. Then – exhausted from the day – Daisy heads upstairs to bed to dream of table scraps and fire hydrants. . . .