Stories of razor blades in apples and tampered candy were prevalent when I was a kid and before individually sealed candy. My mom only let my sister and I eat candy from the homes of two or three neighbors whom she knew and trusted. Dressing up to visit three houses was hardly worth the effort, so I have no childhood memories of Halloween costumes (and no photos). As an adult, I found pleasure and created new memories of Halloween with my pets.
My first poodles, Coco and Cash were registered therapy assist dogs. What’s a therapy assist dog? It’s a dog that has been tested and certified by Therapy Dogs International, as having the temperament to go into hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions for companionship. Therapy assist dogs aren’t the same as highly trained service animals like Leader Dogs for the Blind. A therapy assist dog is tested to insure it can follow basic commands, won’t be skittish around crutches, wheelchairs or canes, isn’t aggressive and will allow people to pet them. Most times, the dogs provided comfort, nothing more. To a sick child in a hospital, comfort may be just what the doctor ordered.
Coco and Cash along with a few other dogs from Echo Dog Club went into nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities weekly. We entertained people with a few tricks, Coco played a toy piano (well, she banged on it with her paws). My dog trainer’s dog rode a skate board. After the show, that’s when the petting, hugging and general dog love started. When those visits were near Halloween, the dogs wore costumes. A friend made Coco a pink poodle skirt. Continue reading “Halloween Memories with Pets by V.M. Burns”