I used to think Skye was going to be a maniac forever. When I first adopted her, I figured it was her complete lack of training that made her so crazy. Sure, she was 2 years old, but she didn't know any better.
Over the next year my struggle to connect with Skye led me to start this blog. Three years old and she still drove me up the wall on a daily basis. After hours of exercise, she would come home and bark for me to play more.
Surely, I thought, she would settle in by age 4. We had agility to bond over, clicker training to build up her obedience skills, and doggie daycamp 5 days a week. Skye was tired, if nothing else. But the crazy was still there. I started thinking about taking the Canine Good Citizen test with her. Then I would laugh. Skye hardly ever lay down on command even with food as a motivator. She couldn't walk on leash without her Easy Walk Harness. It wasn't worth trying and failing.
So when Skye turned 5 in October, I was surprised to find that she had slowly been growing up without telling me. She napped between walks, took days off from work, and rarely made a peep after dinner. A friend told me about a therapy dog program that didn't have the same strict guidelines as the others I had looked into. Many therapy pet programs do not allow dogs on a raw diet, which discouraged me from pursuing a CGC title.
Paws for Friendship doesn't require the CGC, but Skye and I took the test anyway to earn money for the MSPCA. We practiced every day for two weeks to get Skye reliable without food. Or should I say, without food until the end.
After passing the CGC, we applied for Paws for Friendship. Skye and I were warmly welcomed, with only one thing left- another test. The coordinator in our state is a friendly woman who has brought many of her dogs through the program. She loved Skye's Sirius Republic collar and chatted with me about the program while asking me to do various things with Skye. We walked past moving wheelchairs, falling brooms, and another dog. She sat to be pet, had her paw squeezed, her ears pulled, and while she didn't enjoy the last a part, she continued to sit and look at me.
During our visit to a nursing home, Skye showed off her tricks, spent a little time with each resident who was interested, and ate more treats than you might think possible. Time and time again we were complimented on Skye's behavior. How calm she was, how she never stopped making eye contact, what a great ambassador she was for the breed.
And I had to agree.