Zeke’s Big Debut – 11/22/10

 Today was a big day for the one year old Zeke, the youngest golden in our clan. His first day with me on a speaking engagement AND his first day doing real AAT!

The lunch speaking engagement had me more nervous than usual. You see, it was at the Hamilton Club in Lancaster – a rather classy establishment with a wonderful reputation. We were invited to speak for AMBUCS at noon about KPETS – Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services. Taking Zeke was the wise decision, I hoped. With four registered therapy dogs at home to choose from, Zeke seemed that he would be the easiest for this type of setting. And if things didn’t go as well as I’d like, I could always blame it on – he’s a puppy and still learning.
Having never been in the city, Zeke was awsome walking along the busy sidewalk with cars and buses whizzing by. I had been concerned as he has been going through that second fear stage puppies can go through.

Arriving at the Hamilton Club and settling in the dining area, was not a problem either; although, he was a bit nosey  about things,when my friend, Cheryl, held him as I set up my laptop and projector. But during the luncheon and my talk, he was a saint! I was so proud (and a pleasently surprised!).
But that was not the end of his day. Monday’s I am scheduled to do AAT at the Lancaster Rehab Hospital, but I usually use Sammy, my nine year old golden or Max, my three year old golden. Today would be Zeke’s first visit in this type of setting.
I had emailed and asked permission to bring the rookie and all were game to give him a shot!
Enter  Zeke!

Our first assignment was to walk along side of an elderly lady with a walker, the kind with wheels. Piece of cake! He was not afraid, he did not pull. My boy! ! !

Karen and Zeke’s KPETS nametag pic. It’s official!

Our second assigment was for Zeke to retrieve a toy that a patient tossed while they stood – working on balance and endurance. THIS had me concerned. You see, at home, retrieving is not Zeke’s favorite thing to do. His favorite thing is to GET the toy, but keep it away from all his ‘siblings’! If all ‘kids’ are inside and Zeke is alone, I can get him to retrieve if I try really hard, by running the other way when he get the toy. Making it fun to chase me and bring the toy to me How was this gonna work here at the hospital? !

The first toss went about ten feet. The suspense, will he??? He turned around, saw the toy and took off after it AND brought it back! He did this for about six times and then it was time for the patient to sit and rest! HE did it! My boy! !

Our next venture was another walk – this time with a regular walker, with no wheels. This walk was A LOT slower than the first one, but the little champ did great! I difinaltey needed the second leash to keep  him along side but using the click/treat as we walked made it go really well!

Another patient needed Zeke to retrieve but I could tell we may be loosing Zeke’s interest. He did fine about four times but then he did his second favorite thing. Took the toy, flopped over on his back and held the toy between his front paws, like a baby holding a bottle. Ah, stole hearts with that act. The patient and therapist didn’t seem to care that he didn’t bring it right back. Chuckles could be heard throughout the gym.

 Realizing the pooch was getting tired, our next assignment was to lie on a matt table beside a patient, just so she could focus on her weaker side and make her smile during a therapy session that is not a whole lot of fun. Perfect timing. Zeke rested along side her for a short time. Then he’s get up and reposition. He wasn’t the best at snuggling but I think if I do some click/treat training for this, how hard can it be, right?