- 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
This month started off great! The weather is nice and the flowers are blooming… (scratch, scratch, scratch)… well, besides my allergies, which really don’t get me down because I love everything!
We celebrated octopus day in the beginning of the month! I mean, Christen said it is called Easter, but I got an octopus toy from a giant bunny. That sounds strange, I know, but you don’t question humans when awesome toys show up. Octopus has squeaky legs and has gone everywhere with me! Also, we all wore bunny ears! It was a lot of fun dressing up like another animal!
A week later was Hero Dogs meeting week. In the beginning of the week we had a therapy dog meeting and the humans talked about how our therapy dog visits have been going and what things us dogs need to learn to improve our therapy skills. The humans also shared lovely stories about how each one of us has helped someone during our visit! Way to go, therapy dog team! Later that week was the Hero Dogs quarterly meeting. It was so much fun with all the new Hero Dogs in training there! I may only be two, but I am one of the older dogs of the group now.
I finally made it back to the Armed Forces Retirement home this month! I was so happy to see all my PAL (People Animals Love) therapy dog friends. My human friends I visit there were very happy to see me again too! I saw my friend Rika (tall dark and beautiful), Biscuit (she smells amazing), and Casey (my best bud). We caught up about PAL visits and we visited with our veteran friends. I did “lap” with some of the Veterans while they were in their wheelchairs and they loved that I got up close for them to pet me!
I visited the USO twice this month, but the second visit was very special because I got to bring my newest Hero Dog friend Dominic with me! Everyone at the USO loved him! He showed them how he already knows “sit” and “down.” We got to help educate veterans and others about what a service dog does and how it’s different than a therapy dog. We both got a lot of attention and we were on our best behavior… well, I was at least. Dominic decided that rolling on his back and sleeping was okay. Christen said it’s okay because he is learning and he is a puppy. She said I am a great example for him and that I did a great job! He really did do a great job and he handled it like a big dog. There were a lot of loud noises at the USO that day. We even got invited to a party room where we met another therapy dog named Goldie Connor Barry. Dominic and I were so tired by the end that we both took a long nap on the ride back.
At therapy dog class this month we learned how to greet someone in a wheelchair and a walker. With the walker I walk up and “touch” the bar of the walker with my chin and I “wait” there until the person is done petting me. This helps them so they don’t have to reach so far. I also learned some skills for animal-assisted therapy where I pick up a ball (“take It”), “bring” it to the person I am helping, and “drop it” in front of their feet so they can kick it. We also learned how to retrieve another person’s item and bring it back to them and not our handlers. I loved doing this so much that I smiled all class. When it was Grant’s turn I stole his turn and picked up the item and brought it back to the person in the wheelchair. Christen said that although she is very proud of how smart and eager to help I am, that I still need to wait my turn. Sorry Grant, I just couldn’t help myself!
The end of this month marks a big day with my humans and me. April 25th was my second “Gotcha Day.” It has been two whole years since my humans took me home. A lot has changed since then and my humans say how proud they are of everything I have accomplished and how much we have done together. They said that I have made them better people. My love of life and my enthusiasm every day have helped them and others so much in their lives! I still have so much more to do and many more people to help. Every day I wake up and I am so happy for the day… to go for a walk, to go play, to work… and, well, of course EAT!
The weather is so warm I can’t wait till next month! I hear we have lots of events and therapy dog visits planned!