Skye: Lending a Helping Paw

By Patty Aarons, February 2013, Updated February 2015

Just had to tell you how very much I enjoyed Patricia McConnell’s “Lending a Helping Paw.” What dog person doesn’t love everything this woman has to say? She is certainly on the mark with this article.

My Skye girl came to me five years ago as a pup. It was always my hope that we could work our way to being a therapy-dog team, but that depended more on her than on me. She was such a handful—always in one’s face, independent as the day is long, knew her manners but not dependable about them.

We are fortunate to have a most marvelous canine facilitator in our area. Chris Moe-Herlick encouraged and mentored Skye and me. We started with basic classes, progressed to agility (not competition, just for fun) and I took her to several of the children’s programs at our small local library. She achieved her CGC, and miraculously, this past summer, we became a certifi ed, registered therapy-dog team. We continue with our child-oriented program participation and are now also doing twice-weekly visits to a nearby assisted-living/nursing-home facility. I couldn’t be more proud of Skye.

I wasn’t sure we would ever get to this point, but with time, patience and understanding, Skye’s personality has come together. I cannot imagine trying to force this type of interaction with a dog who did not love it.