Cavaliers as Companions
September / October 2017
Edited by Dennis Homes

THERAPY DOGS

In 1976 the late Lesley Scott-Ordish founded "Pro Dogs" in response to what she saw as a growing anti-dog movement in the media and its damaging effect on public perceptions of dogs and their owners. She set out to highlight the beneficial influence dogs can have and to provide an umbrella organization for responsible dog owners. Over the years, the charity gathered a panel of veterinarian and medical experts to respond to health scares and organized campaigns against restrictive laws on dogs and where they may be exercised.

From members’ letters and phone calls, Lesley Scott-Ordish discovered the trauma experienced by the elderly if forced to give up a much-loved pet upon going into residential care. This led her to found, in 1983, "Pets as Therapy Dogs" (P.A.T Dogs), a national home and hospital visiting scheme through which carefully screened dog owners would visit the sick and elderly on a regular basis with their dogs. It soon expanded to include cats and provided therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and a variety of other venues by volunteers with their own friendly dogs and cats. Since its beginning over 23,000 P.A.T. dogs have been registered into the Pets As Therapy scheme. Today there are currently over 4,500 active P.A.T. visiting dogs and 108 P.A.T. cats at work in the UK. For further information on the organization please check out their website at: www.petsastherapy.org.

As well as this great organization there are also a number of smaller independent therapy dog groups that operate within a local area in quite a few countries and this month we’d like to highlight two of them; one on the Isle of Wight and one in Waco, Texas in the USA.

ABILITY DOGS 4 YOUNG PEOPLE, IoW

This is a charity whose main aim is to train assistance dogs for young disabled people on the Isle of Wight. The charity also aims to visit small groups of special needs children at schools and to help dog phobic disabled children to interact and overcome their fear of dogs. Hester Smith is a member of this group and has two Cavaliers; Gibson, a Blenheim that was bred by Barbara Taylor of Taybar Cavaliers and a Tricolour called Sasha who is a rescue Cavalier.

Gibson is a very cute, happy and outgoing dog and has been a part of the Therapy Ability Dog Team for one and half years. He has helped many children overcome the fear of dogs and has visited a number of schools and a respite care home to help install confidence and bring happiness to pupils there. Gibson loves his job as a therapy dog, he enjoys showing people his fun tricks, walking with them and most of all having cuddles. Gibson takes his job very seriously and believes all the general public would benefit from having a cuddle with him. He has also passed on his knowledge to Sasha their older rescue Cavalier, whom has just joined the therapy dog team to help them continue to enrich more young people lives.

Gibson
Gibson
Sasha
Sasha


ANGEL PAWS

Angel Paws are a non-profit organization of community volunteers that began in Waco, Texas in 2003 and now have 22 handlers and 30 dogs. Their members own and train their pet partners/dogs and are responsible for their expenses. An Angel Paws team consists of a pet partner (dog or other animal) that is trained and a handler who is registered with that pet partner. Together they offer consistent, safe attention to those in their care. Angel Paws teams are registered with Pet Partners, Inc., the national non-profit organization for Animal Assisted Therapy. All their animals must pass a rigorous Pet Partners evaluation of obedience and social skills indicating their fitness to serve, and the handlers have passed a thorough Pet Partners evaluation of effective communication and sustained cooperation with their animals. Each team is re-evaluated every two years. A trusting relationship between the handler and animal is key to success.

Jean Ann Jones is a member of the team and has four Cavaliers; Presley and Piper who are Tricolours, and Emma and Ella who are Blenheims. She has kindly sent us photos of some of the dogs in the team and she details some of the superb work in the community that they do.

Angel Paws Team
Members of the Angel Paws team

Salem and an Angel Paws Cavalier

Salem and an Angel Paws Cavalier

Sharon Raabe and I go to McLane Children’s Hospital in Temple, TX. We were the first two pet therapy teams when it started 2011/12. We are led by Child Life Specialists into rooms with ill children and their families to help facilitate healing in every way. This young man is Salem (in 2012) and he has Apert Syndrome, requiring many surgeries. With my Presley, and with Sharon Raabe and her Frank, Salem is smiling. After many surgeries, Salem has improved.

Gilbert the Bichon
Gilbert the Bichon belonging to Sharon Douglas on a therapy visit

Three Therapy Dogs

Christmas Visit
A Christmas visit with Gilbert, Jean Ann’s Emma & Sharon Raabe’s Frank who sadly passed to the rainbow bridge.

Angel Paws teaches a ‘Paws Against Bullying’ program to 3rd graders in Central Texas. We began in 2012, and we have reached seven school districts thus far. Here is a short write up about the program:

Angel Paws (a Pet Partner, Inc. affiliate in Waco, Texas) has introduced a new interactive curriculum for third graders in the Central Texas community. ‘Paws Against Bullying’ teaches students how to identify bullying in case they or others experience it. Students learn the meaning of empathy and how to act responsibly. Angel Paws handlers and their pet partners have been working with students for five years, teaching them to understand animal cruelty and neglect and how to properly care for a pet, among other subjects. Using our pet partners to expand on that curriculum has proven to be the most effective way to show students the need to value one another and their companion animals. To engage the students, questions are posed to elicit thoughtful responses.
  1. "What does a bully look like?"
  2. "How do you bully?"
  3. "Who has been bullied?"
  4. "Who has been a bully?"
These questions make students think, look around, and even squirm, but it peaks curiosity and squashes stereotypes so that they realize bullies look just like everyone else. Anyone can be a bully. Students are then given a piece of paper, undamaged and unwrinkled, and they are asked to wad it up, stomp on it (they love that part), and then try to straighten the paper. They can’t. They realize it will never look like it was before. That’s the point ... once you damage a person there is a piece of that person that cannot be made the same as before. They get it. It’s not OK to bully.

As an example, we take a team with a large pet partner and a team with a small pet partner and ask, "If we pretend one of these dogs is a bully, which one would it be?" The students always choose the larger dog, usually Yetti, an Anatolian/Mastiff mix and Presley, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We then ask, "What if Presley went up to Yetti and said something really mean who would be the bully then?" We get bewildered looks, and then they get it and point to Presley. An aside, one little boy said, "Presley would be TOAST!". We impress upon students that a bully can look like anyone. It’s what you do/say, not what you look like.

At the end of the program, ‘Paws Against Bullying’, the students learn a slogan. With the pet partners’ help, handlers teach, "Be a Buddy, Not a Bully," followed by "Woof! Woof! Woof!" with three fist pumps on the "Woof!" Students love it; they remember it. Exactly! They are given a red wrist band with the slogan and our name, Angel Paws, and they get to pet the dogs.

3rd Grade Class with Angel Paws dogs
3rd grade class: Dogs are Piper (Cavalier), Frank (Lab), Dorey (Australian Shepherd) & Yetti (Antolian/Mastiff)

In the summers, we go to the library, Waco-McLennan County Library, downtown Waco each Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. Children of all ages come one person or family at a time, sit on a pallet with an Angel Paws team and read to the dog. Our dogs are experts at listening, and best of all, they don’t judge! LOTS of hugs and love going on every week.

Reading to an Angel Paws dog

Reading Time

Reading Time

Reading to an Angel Paws dog

Angel Paws was asked by Baylor University Moody Library to visit students studying for exams to help with their stress. Boy, did the students ever take advantage of it. We had 200 students at one time!

Students stress time

Angel Paws Cavalier

Stress Relief

Angel Paws stress relief dogs

Stress relief time

Below are photos of a surprise birthday party we organized for Mr Strong at St. Catherine’s, a nursing facility we visit. Mr Strong was a clown by trade, but when he lost his wife and daughter, he never spoke again. Angel Paws was faithful to visit, and he adored dogs. He had the most wonderful belly laugh, and all the dogs loved him. He passed away earlier this year.


Mr Strong and Angel Paws dogs
Above dogs: Toby, Emma, Mr. Blue, Yetti & Remington

Mr Strong
Above dogs: Frank, Remington, Presley, Sophie, & Cookie.

When I first joined Angel Paws in 2009, we visited the VA to comfort our veterans.
Piper (my oldest Cavalier) gave this guy a kiss.
VA Veteran and Cavalier Piper


BASIC CLICKER TRAINING

Clicker Training is a simple yet highly effective method of training a dog. Although all manner of sounds can be used to catch a dog’s attention many training experts agree that the sound of a clicker seems to capture the attention of an untrained dog or puppy far quicker than any other sound. Maybe it’s the frequency, who knows? But it seems to work. Clicker training is now used quite widely as a starting point for many canine activities from obedience to learning certain moves in heelwork to music. The method is to get the dog to respond to the clicker is simply by clicking and immediately treating the dog. It won’t take your dog long to understand that whenever he hears the clicker he’ll get a treat. You then repeat about 30 times which teaches your dog to associate the click with the treat. (Keep the treats small as you don’t want to end up with a fat dog!) The main thing to remember is never click without treating and never treat without clicking.

When starting to train a young puppy the three most important commands to teach are ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘come’. Here are the basic starting points for each of these commands using a clicker method.

Have your clicker ready and wait for your dog to sit down on his own accord. Most young dogs tend to regard this part of the training session as a game. They need to figure out what to do in order to get the treat. They might do all manner of things to get a treat but just ignore him until he sits. When he does this immediately click and treat and praise him. Keep on waiting until he sits again. Whenever he sits, click and treat. It is quite normal for a dog to get frustrated since he often can’t remember why he got the treat the first time and doesn’t understand why he isn’t getting one now, however as soon as he does sit click, treat and praise. Keep clicking and treating when he sits and he will soon start to realise that if he sits he will get a treat. At this stage of the training process, start saying the word ‘sit’ whenever you click. This will reinforce the command with his action.

When teaching another command such as ‘come’ it is best not to use the clicker immediately as the dog may confuse it with the sit command. Start by walking to the far side of the room and either call the dog’s name or use a word such as ‘here’ or ‘come’, and as soon as he comes to you give him a treat. Once he gets used to this you should then say ‘sit’ when he comes up to you after responding to being called and then click and treat.

Sit, come and stay are extremely important commands as they can be lifesaving if a dog becomes loose off lead in a rather precarious situation. To teach a dog to stay you must first get him to sit then click and treat. Say ‘stay’ and then wait six seconds and then say ‘release’ then click and treat. Once the dog has got used to this command you should then say ‘sit,’ ‘stay’ and wait ten seconds. Then say ‘release’ and then click and treat. This process should be repeated about five times per session slowly building up to longer periods of staying before releasing.

FOOT PAD INJURIES

If the dog has a nail injury you should trim back the broken nail to prevent further irritation. If it is broken at the base and is bleeding it will require veterinary attention as soon as possible. Any wound or abrasion on the foot pad should be cleaned and any debris removed. Debris can sometimes be embedded inside a cut. Soaking the foot in some warm water with Epsom salts for about five minutes can help soften the skin and flush away debris. Swishing the dog’s foot back and forth through the water can help to dislodge debris painlessly. Paper towels or cotton wool can be used to pat the foot dry. You should then examine the paw pad injury for remaining debris, which can be removed with tweezers. Disinfecting the wound with Savlon or Dettol will help to kill any bacteria.

The foot pads are the only area where a dog routinely sweats and therefore it is important not to leave bandages on for too long a time as it can inhibit the healing process. The problem is that many dogs will keep trying to chew at the area and make it worse. In these cases an Elizabethan collar is probably needed. For visits outdoors, plastic wrap or a sandwich bag can be placed over the foot and secured with a piece of tape around the ankle. This will prevent bandage soiling. In addition, walks should be limited for toilet trips until the pad has had a chance to heal.

CHEWING

All dogs love to chew, and indeed chewing the right things can help to keep their teeth strong and help to keep tartar at bay. The need to chew is strongest when puppies are around three months old and they first start to lose their milk teeth and their adult teeth start to come through. As well as gnawing to relieve the discomfort of loose baby teeth and adult teeth emerging chewing starts to become an exploratory factor and that get the urge to chew all sorts of things that they come across. It is therefore important that they are given toys that they can chew and deterred from chewing things that they are not supposed to. Puppies should never be left alone in rooms with loose cables and wiring for obvious reasons. Most pet stores sell toys suitable for chewing and if your dog has a fairly wide selection of toys such as rubber bones, rings and rope tuggers they will soon find their favourites. Stag horns are particularly great for dogs and can be purchased in various sizes to suit different breeds. They are quite safe and help to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

PHOTO OF THE MONTH

I guess this is yet another bad hair day!
"I guess this is yet another bad hair day!"


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH

"Without my dog my wallet would be full my house would be clean but my heart would be empty."



For further online Cavalier news and stories don’t forget to read the regular Chatterbox page at www.cavaliers.co.uk and for some truly inspirational articles log on to the Pawz and Pray page at pawzandpray.com


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

If you have any questions about owning a Cavalier then click on the envelope to email Dennis and Tina who will only be too pleased to try and help you.

However please remember that we are not Vets or Lawyers so questions on these topics should be addressed to the professionals for advice.

Questions and answers that are of interest to other owners may be published on this page.

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