We are in the long winter deep freeze and the schedule is out of control. Some of this is happening this week and some of that is happening next weekend, oh and can you fill in for me tonight as I have double booked my time. This is an altogether too familiar scenario that has played itself out in our lives and the lives of those that are passionate about volunteering with their animals. To add to the list we got an e-mail (I say we as that is spousal privilege to take credit when credit is due by proxy) from a young man on tour with a broadway show and on their stop in Des Moines they had interest in evaluating with their dog "Butley" for animal assisted therapy work. "Sure, no problem!", is always our answer (most often it is "sure" unless we really are triple booked). The scramble began to pull together the location, the crowd and get the pertinant information back over to Butley's handlers so they were prepared and provide them with the "what they should expect from Delta Society's evaluation process." It all came together. When they showed up they were prepared. Nicole spent a couple mornings working with them and generally prescreening the team to give them an avenue for success. She kept coming back and raving about this dog and how spot on solid it was and how it would have no issue with the evaluation. It's now Sunday morning and I get to meet the animal for the first time. He is an American Staffordshire Terrier and a most beautiful dog. He had a shiny blue/grey coat with a gently stalky build. We exchange our hellos and got started with the process. His attention to the handler was extraordinary and his handler "acted" the part. He communicated back and forth as it it were Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers gracefully filling the big screen. As the evaluation escalated the softness of his enthusiasm shone through. He wanted the interaction and the attention of the crowd. He demanded so little but commanded their attention as if he was his own best advocate. His handler was doing just swell but you could see that he wants to be a Pet Partner and was showing his handlers how it was to be done. What a true ham! There aren't many evaluations that stand too far about the rest but Butley did knock it out of the park! When it was all over none of us could resist giving him the attention he so brilliantly manipulated and coordinated throughout the morning. Butley is a fantastic dog and companion. Butley got a break and did a second evaluation with Angie that equally as elegant which in the show biz world would have gotten him an extended standing ovation. Well done and congratulations!
There is a part two to this story.