Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Happy National Therapy Animal Day!

So April 11th is National Therapy Dog Appreciation Day, and April 30th is National Therapy Animal Day!  The difference is that today we celebrate all therapy animals, a surprisingly long list, which even includes Therapy Chickens! Of course I’m biased, but for me, it’s the dogs that seem to spread the most joy.  But for someone else, it might be a chicken that brightens their day…we won’t judge!

Today is special for another reason, it’s Sophie and Maizie’s 8th birthday!  Fortunately, one of their brothers, Finn, lives in a neighboring town.  So we met at the local park, to let the siblings play together on their special day.

Group picture of the collies, Sophie, Maizie and Finn.

Finn’s Dad took this picture, I love how sweetly they focused on me!  Since today is a National holiday honoring all the work, care and compassion of therapy animals, it seems like a good day to share some of my therapy collies’ recent accomplishments.

Ryder and Scarlett both earned their THDX title, Therapy Dog Excellent, from the AKC.  This is earned by completing over 200 therapy visits.

Sophie should be earning her THDX soon…probably in June.

Sophie, on the right, with her friend, Kelsea

And little Addison has become such an amazing therapy dog, just as I had predicted.  She just shines during these visits, and everyone just adores her.  She will soon have completed enough visits to earn her THDA title.  The THDA, or Therapy Dog Advanced title, is earned by completing 100 therapy visits.

If you are considering training your dog (or chicken) to do therapy visits, please check out your local pet therapy organization.  It’s such a rewarding experience for everyone involved!

Monday, April 29, 2024

The American Working Collie Association

This picture is of Gibbs, one of the collies we bred 8 years ago.  He has earned multiple herding titles, along with being the very best friend to his family could ask for!

Did you know that collies are more than just a pretty face?  While their beauty has captured the hearts of generations, and led to their starring on both television and the silver screen, as well as gracing the pages of countless books, the collie was originally bred for their working ability.  As a working breed, they had to be able to work closely with their humans, and to work independently when necessary.  This made the development of a friendly, intelligent temperament such a crucial trait in the breed.  In the past we have shared numerous posts on our Collie blog, celebrating the versatility of the collie, and they can be found here.

What you may not know, is that there is an organization created to promote the working ability of the collie.  The American Working Collie Association, or the AWCA, is a wonderful group of individuals devoted to honoring all the achievements of the American collie.  The AWCA’s Versatility Program was created to recognize Collies that have “proven their competence as versatile working dogs.”  After sharing our posts over the years, created to promote our wonderful breed, I was very excited to discover the AWCA last year and quickly became a member.  Finding an organization that shares the same goals, full of like minded individuals, I had to write a post to share their program.  Not only does the AWCA encourage collie owners to try new sports and activities with their collies, they also offer working titles for the collies of their members!  

The American Working Collie Association awards two groups of titles:

Versatility titles 

Working titles

 The Versatility Program.  Dogs must be at least 6 months old to begin documenting work in this program, unless otherwise specified. 

AWCA awards four versatility titles:

Versatility Companion (VC) - earned by gaining 5 points from a minimum of 3 categories.

Versatility Companion Excellent (VCX) -earned by gaining 10 points from a minimum of 5 categories.  At least 2 points each from 2 different categories must be earned at intermediate level work. 

Versatility Champion (VCH) - earned by gaining 15 points from 6 categories. At least 2 points each from 2 different categories must be earned at advanced level work. 

Grand Versatility Champion (GVCH) - title granted to Collies earning a VCH plus any 3 of the following 4 titles: Stock Work, HX or higher; Obedience, UD or higher; Scent Work, TDX or higher, or 3 live, cadaver, narcotics, explosives, or agricultural finds, documented by authorities; Canine Sports - Agility, AX or AXJ or its equivalent or higher.

You can find all their Working titles by clicking here.

Ryder, Scarlet, Sophie and Addison have all earned their VC, Versatility Companion title, from the AWCA.  It is such a fun way to celebrate their accomplishments! (And just at the spiffy certificates the AWCA awards the collies!)

If you are looking for new ways to compete with your collies, or just want to join an organization that strives to recognize how wonderfully versatile the collie truly is, then I highly recommend joint the American Working Collie Association.  They do so much more than just title collies, please take a look at their website!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Happy Therapy Dog Appreciation Day!

 Today is the day to celebrate therapy dogs!  They bring so much joy, comfort and love, to everyone they visit.  

Fun fact: the first therapy dog organization was established in 1976!

Have you hugged a therapy dog lately?