Whew! Yesterday was such an exhausting day! I haven't worked that hard in a really long time. It wasn't so much that it was hard work, 'cause you know I love my therapy work, but it was the most stressful therapy thing I've ever done. Even my mom was really stressed about the whole situation!
It all started on Saturday night when my mom gave me a bath. She said it was because I had to look good for my test the next day. I really didn't know what she meant by that since I'd already had lots of tests at the vets a few days ago, so I figured it was just an excuse to get me into that evil bathtub. But I was a good boy and took my bath and then went to bed to rest up for my test on Sunday.
Sunday morning I got real excited when I found out that I was going for a ride in the car with Mom and Sydney and Foster had to stay home. They weren't very happy about that, but it was ok 'cause grandma was there to play with them.
I could tell Mom was a little nervous about something, and that always makes me a little nervous too so I kept giving her kisses while she was driving…that always makes her laugh and relax. As soon as we got out of the car though it was my turn to get nervous! We were at a Kennel! I was so scared Mom was going to leave me here by myself, but she told me I didn't have to stay so that helped and she put my therapy bandana on so I knew I was there to work. I was really excited to do some therapy; we haven't done that for a while. There were some people in the parking lot that looked like they needed some therapy and the poor boxer they were jerking around by the neck really needed some therapy, but Mom wouldn't let me go over there.
Boy it was loud here! I could barely even hear mom and it was really hard to concentrate on her since there were dogs barking from two different buildings and there were even dogs in the cars. I'd never done my job in such a chaotic place! Even the pet expos I've gone to weren't this loud and crazy! Mom was starting to get upset with me 'cause I was having such a hard time listening to her, and I tried really hard, but I just couldn't shut out all the noise. We went into one of the buildings and it was even worse! There were a lot of dogs in the next room and they were all yelling at each other wanting to get out of their kennels and it echoed really badly. One lady came to talk to Mom and I was so excited to give her some therapy, I jumped up. Mom told me 'no' and I was really embarrassed. I know I'm not supposed to jump on therapy people, but I was just so excited.
All this was so stressful to me and my mom that I was really happy when we went outside to take a walk and calm down a bit. It was still pretty exciting with all the new smells and stuff, but Mom wanted me to do some training stuff to help me focus on her better. I was really trying hard, but it was tough. We did take a nice walk and that helped.
But then we had to go into that building with all the yelling dogs again and wait for our 'test'. I over heard the lady telling Mom we could wait outside, but Mom said that if we had to take our test in there, we might as well get used to the noise. Sitting there listening to all the dogs yelling made me really upset, I was panting and hiding my head in Mom's lap. She kept petting me and telling me it was ok, but I could tell she was getting more and more stressed too. We kept trying to do some obedience in the tiny hallway next to the yelling dogs and we tried really hard to pay attention to each other. Then there was a big fight in the next room. Two dogs were fighting about something and the people were yelling and slamming gates and stuff. Mom asked me if we should just leave, but we decided to stick it out.
After a few minutes things started to quiet down and the lady came back and said it was time for our test. We went into a big room with agility stuff in it and then into a little area with fences around it. We were both still really on edge even though most of the noise had stopped. Mom kept giving me mixed signals and I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been so things weren't very fun for a while. During our obedience tests, Mom had to give me a couple of commands more than once. It was really embarrassing, but I was still really upset and Mom didn't get mad at me but I knew she was getting upset again too. While the lady was writing something on her clipboard, Mom talked gently to me which made me very happy, but then she had to pay attention to the lady again and I got scared so I leaned against her and hid my head between her knees until she could pay attention to me again.
Even though we hadn't calmed down yet, we were still a pretty good therapy team. One of the tests requires the lady to give me a big hug. I don't know why they think this is a test, 'cause everyone loves big hugs don't they? The lady seemed surprised that I wagged my tail while she was hugging me. I tried to kiss her too, but Mom told me not to. After a while we started to calm down a little more, but it took almost half the test before we really got into the groove again. But that's when the fun stuff starts. All the boring obedience part was over and we got to the part where all the people were petting me and I was giving lots of therapy.
At one point though, I was giving therapy to a loud, silly guy with a walker and all of a sudden two other people behind us started yelling at each other. Now normally this wouldn't have bothered me, but with all the previous yelling from all the dogs, it kind of put me on edge again. Mom was there to let me know it was ok though and after they stopped yelling we got to go over to them and give them some therapy so they wouldn't yell and be mad anymore. The last part of the test was my favorite. The loud guy with the walker was petting me and then two more people started petting me at the same time and my mom was there petting me too. They were the same people that were yelling at each other before, but they weren't mad at each other anymore. This is why I got into therapy in the first place, there is nothing better than letting a whole lot of people pet you all at once and they were all so happy again.
We finally got to go home again and get away from all the noise and stress. Mom was happy and said that we had passed our re-certification test whatever that is, but it still took her a long time before she wasn't stressed anymore. Me too! I was so tired from all the noise and having to concentrate so hard to try to do all the things mom wanted me to do and still do all my therapy stuff that I just crashed on the way home. When we got home, grandma had put all the dog beds out on the new deck in the sun so it was nice and warm when I got there.
Mom said she was really glad that Sydney had decided to retire because she wouldn't have been able to concentrate at that Kennel for her test. I can't imagine ever retiring from giving therapy, but I hope I don't ever have to do anymore therapy at a place like that again!