Slapshot has been a certified therapy dog since February 2011. He loves sharing his doggy love with people of all ages, and enjoys his fan mail and the pictures children draw for him. Recently an organization invited Slapshot to have his own column in their newsletter. Slapshot is happy to answer any questions he can (I type for him since he has a little difficulty with the act of writing!) and here is the first installment for the column, “Dear Slapshot” as dictated to Slapshot’s handler, Melinda.
What is a therapy dog? Can any dog become a certified therapy dog?
Curious in Columbus
A therapy dog has to love people of all ages and want to visit with them. I kept showing my owners that I was a dog meant to be shared by greeting everyone we met on walks. When I showed them how much people liked visiting with me, they took me to an evaluator for Therapy Dogs International and I passed my test. Any breed of dog can be evaluated to see if therapy dog work is for them. A dog has to be at least one year old, but training can start earlier than that and I was 2 years old when I became a certified therapy dog. I am almost three years old now and I love my work. Therapy dogs have to have a great temperament and tolerate other animals. I actually like most animals, too! Not to brag, but I think I’m a natural at this therapy dog stuff. I’d like to meet you, too, and your family and your friends, and your neighbors, and your pets – well, you get the idea!
What kind of dog are you?
Wondering in Westerville
Well, I am a very good dog, for one thing. And people tell me I am handsome. But I guess you are wondering what breed I am. I am a goldendoodle. My Dad was a 55 lb. standard white poodle and my Mom was a 75 lb. golden retriever. Guess how much I weigh? 95 pounds! I was no runt of my litter! Goldendoodles are considered “designer dogs” because they are intelligent, have good temperaments, and don’t shed as much as most dogs. Honestly, I still shed some but my goldendoodle sister doesn’t shed much at all. She also only weighs 53 pounds and we look very different even though she also had a white standard poodle Dad and a golden retriever Mom, but not the same parents as me. I’m pretty big for my breed, so some people are a little intimidated until they get to know me. One patient I visited told me I was as big as a calf, whatever that is. I guess she likes me, though, because she still pets me and even told me she loved me. I love her, too.