- Name: Calvin Leon Graham – “Calvin”
- Breed/Color/Sex: Labrador retriever, yellow, M
- DOB: December 31, 2012
- Current Status: Therapy Dog
- Donor: Milltowne Labrador Retrievers (Mario Cilia & Betty Dust)
- Puppy Raiser: Christen W. & Brendan B.
- Puppy Sponsor:
- Puppy Scholarship: John Prusak
Wow! This month has been so busy! I love keeping busy and having places to go, people to see, and things to do! Did I mention how hot it is?!? I have to dip my head in my water bucket after walks to keep cool! Well, maybe I don’t have to, but it sure is fun!
I began the month at the Brookeville Animal Hospital (BAH) Open House! Hero Dogs did a demonstration on what Service and Therapy dogs are trained to do. I got the big boy task of pulling a wheeled walker to Christen! I did a great job and I got plenty of nom-noms! I even got to meet some tiny goats! I thought they looked like good friends, but they were very shy.
I love going to see Dr. Marcie and Dr. Kane! They have taken care of me since I was a little pup and they are always so nice helping Hero Dogs take care of all of us dogs.
Right after the BAH Open House off I went to the Armed Forces Retirement Home! I met up with my PAL (People Animals Love) friends and greeted all my Veteran friends. I showed them some of my new “tricks” I’ve been working on and I just enjoyed all the pats on the head.
The next week I visited the USO at Walter Reed for my monthly visit. I greeted everyone there with great news! Hero Dogs' therapy dogs have been rewarded for all our hard work and have been invited by the Red Cross to begin the process of becoming Red Cross Volunteers. I hear the humans have a lot of work ahead of them, but we are all very excited to soon join the Red Cross therapy dogs and visit Veterans at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Hospital. This is something I have been working towards ever since I became a certified therapy dog. Some of my PAL dog friends are already in the Red Cross therapy dog program and I can’t wait to join them! After I told them the great news I continued meeting people and spreading the word about Hero Dogs at the USO. I am happy to be able to visit the Hospital soon, but I will miss all the friends I have made at the USO. Surely I will still have to stop by and visit!
The day after that I went to the Frederick Celtic Festival in Mount Airy! It was like nothing I had ever seen or heard before. There were people everywhere! There were food and drinks stomped into the grass! Jan helped us navigate our way to the Hero Dogs tent where we met up with Molly. Sure was good to see a familiar dogface! Plus she gives lots of kisses! She sure is a flirt! Hehe. I tried to stay cool under the tent and I demonstrated different tasks I have learned as a Hero Dog. I picked up a spoon, I touched a button, and I picked up some keys and put them on the table. Then I got to meet two sportsmen unlike any I have met before. The were very VERY tall and they were wearing what looked like the same thing Christen wears out to dinner so I went to see what was under it and the sportsman chuckled and said “Whoa, ho, hey now!” so I guess I got a little too close. They said it’s called a kilt and that I should get one too! They were very nice and the one man was a world record holder in his sport! They threw a lot of things very far, but I wasn’t allowed to retrieve the items. I think they forgot that retriever is in my breed’s name.
Back at the Hero Dogs tent, while I was meeting with Veterans and others at the event, all of the sudden I heard a loud sound I had never heard before, and it started coming over the hill. It sounded like an army of squeaker toys!!! All these humans were walking around with these stuffed toys, squeezing them together at the same time. I know it sounds quite peculiar and it was! My humans wanted a closer look at them so we went and sat by them. Christen said the humans were holding what is called a bagpipe. Well, the bagpipes don’t bother me and I really don’t see what the fuss is about. I didn’t see any of the humans running around with their toy the way I do with my squeaker toys so they must not be that much fun.
At the end of the festival I met a tiny little 9-month-old baby human! She was very nice to me and I enjoyed her petting me as I laid down on the cool grass under the tent. She smiled a lot and I think she even did a one-arm pushup on my back! Did I tell you I love human kids?! I love to see and greet them at the bus stop by my house... I digress. Any chance I get to meet a baby or kid human I practice being very gentle. I love being a therapy dog as it means friendly people and lots of pats on the back!
Therapy dog class this month was an outing to an outdoor shopping area to practice for the CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test. I did pretty well on every part, but the "ignore your fellow dog neighbor" part was tricky. You see, we practiced with graduate Franklin and I haven’t seen him in months! I was so excited to see him! Plus it really seems silly that I’m not allowed to be friendly... I’m a social guy! I will try harder, though, because I know it means a lot to Christen, but we dogs have our need to socialize!
Right after my practice CGC test I went to my annual exam at BAH. I love going to see Dr. Kane! I got my blood drawn and then I waited to see the doctor. When she came in I laid on my side for her! I thought she wanted to pet my belly, but she said it was OK, and she would do my exam with me lying down. She said I looked great and I’m doing well! She got a needle and while she was filling it I sat right in front of her eagerly awaiting my shot! She said she has never had a patient who was so excited to get a shot! I sure don’t know why not! SHOTS = NOM-NOMS! After my shot Dr. Kane gave me a treat and then another treat because I was so good... and then another! (I was like “baby I can do this ALL day!”) I got some medicine that tasted pretty yummy too! She said I am a great dog and is so happy to hear I’m in the therapy dog program. I sure do love the vet’s office, and I’d like to share with all the other dogs out there that are scared of the vet... just be good and you will get a TON of treats!
The next day I went to my ACVO/Stokes Rx National Service Animal Eye Exam at the Animal Eye Care Associates in Columbia. I met with Dr. McInnis and she said my eyes look great! She said to come back and visit her again next May!
A week later I marched in the Laytonsville Parade with the entire Hero Dogs gang. Last year we marched in a very big parade in Washington D.C. and, although it was a lot of fun, I enjoyed this year’s parade because it was the first one I marched in when I was a little pup two years ago! We love thanking the community for supporting Hero Dogs.
Because we had such a busy month the next week we took a break from events and therapy dog visits to hang out in my pool! I had my first pool day of the year! Boy was it so much fun! I love retrieving my toys from the pool! I love running around my pool! Water makes me run around really fast because I am so happy to play in it!
I almost forgot a very important thing that happened this month! I received my AKC (American Kennel Club) Therapy Dog Title Certificate for the title of Therapy Dog Novice! So you can now call me Hero Dogs Calvin Leon Graham THDN! But whom am I kidding; I’m not that formal!
Oh my! I sure did have a lot to write about this month! I have a few announcements before I go. I now have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts! To be updated on my adventures in real time please like/follow me! To see videos about my adventures as a therapy dog and music videos you can subscribe to my human’s YouTube channel. I hope you will join me on my exciting therapy dog journey!