A Letter from Archie’s Adopter…
We adopted Archie (formerly known as Skye) from Almost Home Dog Rescue over four years ago (July 2005). We were told that he was an owner turn-in at a shelter in WV. The owners said he was chasing the other animals on their farm. Almost Home had adopted other collies from that shelter and left their card to be called first if they ever got any other collies in. Good thing – Almost Home got the call right away about the collie who seemed to be a good dog but could be put down right away as an owner turn-in. Almost Home picked him up from the shelter the very next day and Archie was in foster care for 3-4 months before we adopted him.
Archie went to basic obedience class at Columbus All Breed in August of 2005, not long after we adopted him. He was quite a hit in his class, and was voted by the other handlers in the class as “Most Improved” on graduation day. Archie is by far one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever had. He learned quickly how to ring his poochie bells on the back door when he wants to go outside, and has taught many of his foster brothers and sisters the same trick. He has also come upstairs in the middle of the night and jumped on the bed to wake us up when we had a new foster dog who had gotten himself locked in our laundry room downstairs and was panicked and scratching at the door.
We began to realize after a few months, what a social dog Archie was, and how he loved to go places in the car, see people, be petted, etc., so I figured he would make a good therapy dog. My grandpa was in a nursing home the last few months of his life, and he always perked up when one of the nurses brought her dog in, so I thought that would be good for Archie to try.
After searching on the internet, I found the Capital Area Humane Society has a program called Capital Canine Connection, which is not as expensive and labor intensive as Therapy Dogs International, so I signed Archie up to be a volunteer. The dogs in that program are required to pass a very rigorous test – it takes at least an hour to complete the test and most of the dogs do not pass on the first try, including Archie. The test is a combination of the SAFER test that shelters use to evaluate dogs, the Canine Good Citizen Test, and situational tests that he would possibly encounter in hospitals or nursing homes. Archie did not pass one portion of the test, so I hired a trainer and worked with him intensively and retook the test three months later and he passed.
We found a nursing home in Gahanna a few minutes from our house that had requested a therapy dog through CAHS. Everyone there just loves Archie – it’s like he almost has his own fan club there! We visit every other Sunday for an hour, and he knows as soon as I put his scarf on him and pick up my Outward Hound travel bag where we are going and he just loves it. He seems to remember which rooms to automatically walk into that want to see him week after week, and he has touched many lives there. Some of his friends there are residents, some are nurses, and some are caregivers who are visiting a family or friend. It is so rewarding to see people’s faces just light up when they see him come into their room or smile when they pet him and say how soft he is. I can tell you, that when we walk into the nursing home, everyone greets him and shouts out his name, but I don’t think anyone there even knows my name, and I wear a nametag every week – HA! I’m just Archie’s mom!