Sandra and Chase
The Golden Boy
Chase is a big beautiful Golden Retriever. Sandra is his human. Together, they are a pet therapy team that loves to go visiting. Chase enjoys visiting at St. Als – it’s a treat to have children and adults pet him, and he loves to show off by performing his favorite tricks. He is impressed that folks realize how clever he is. He also enjoys spending time with hospice patients - he becomes the center of all the attention and love they have to give. Though it’s a much quieter venue, there is some serious scratching and petting for his pleasure.
Chase probably doesn’t realize all the benefits he is giving the patients at St. Als and the hospice patients – there are so many stories about the benefits that therapy dog visits offers to humans. And for Chase, pet therapy means he gets lots of petting, which is great therapy for him.
Chase is a R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) dog, and has visited libraries so that children can read to him. Chase is also available to work with young oncology patients (e.g. Camp Rainbow Gold), and has lots of love to share with them.
Chase was just a puppy when he met his humans. Having been without a dog for the summer, Sandra came home one afternoon to find that her husband had brought home an adorable 9 week old golden retriever puppy (or as she puts it "I came home from work to find a puppy peeing on the kitchen floor.") He had the biggest ears she had ever seen on a puppy! Chase was such a social, people-loving puppy, it seemed obvious from early on that he would be a great therapy dog. But first, he needed calming down. He loved people so much, that when he saw new people, he was a "wild puppy."
Sandra identifies herself as 1) a Christian, 2) an engineer, and 3) a dog lover. As a Christian, Sandra's desire is to help others in some way, and as a dog lover, she appreciates the idea of helping others by doing pet therapy. As an engineer, she logically reasons that dogs need thorough and consistent training.
There are many different ways that people say is the "best" way to train a dog, but Sandra was not interested in pinch collars, yanking on the dog’s collar, or other forms of punishment. She knew from the beginning that she wanted to find a group that taught positive training techniques.
It had been many years since Sandra had actively been involved in dog training, so she wasn’t sure where to go. After hearing that Helping Idaho Dogs promoted positive dog training techniques, Sandra enrolled in a Canine Good Citizen class in the park. Chase and Sandra loved their classes with Tammy, and soon, Chase was benefiting from the patient training. Training with Helping Idaho Dogs from an early age helped to teach Sandra how to help Chase control his natural exuberance through positive training. There is much research available about positive training, and Sandra and Chase are both firm believers that it’s the best way to teach and develop a strong relationship with your dog.
Having done pet therapy many years ago without being part of a pet therapy training group, Sandra knows how hard it can be to become a therapy team. What kind of training is important? What groups are interested in pet therapy visits? Is it important to be registered with some kind of therapy organization? And, so many other questions can be difficult to answer. That's why she's so happy to be part of the pet therapy group of Helping Idaho Dogs. The Healing Paws Program helps to answer many questions, coordinates with local organizations interested in visits from therapy teams, and offers training for pet therapy teams. The support of the whole pet therapy group is a great help for up and coming teams.
When Chase isn't doing classes or pet therapy, he loves to go for walks (in the foothills, on the greenbelt, in the parks, etc), and in the winter time, thinks that playing in the snow is the best!; He has a blast going to dog events like See Spot Walk, the Pooch Pool Party, or anywhere he can just have fun being a dog.
'When Helping Idaho Dogs sets up a booth, Chase tries to stand tall, and show off his training (but as usual, is mostly there to absorb all the love and attention from passers-by).
On vacation on the Oregon coast, he adores swimming in rivers, running up and down the beach, and playing in the ocean shallows. He's pretty cautious about going out into the deep ocean water, but cuts loose and runs like a 'wild puppy' in the waves by the beach.