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My Life with SASHA
A few years ago, I recently retired and decided that I needed a dog for companionship . . . actually, that was a suggestion from my mother. Anyway, after I caught on to the idea, my preference was to find a black lab which needed a home and for me to rescue. After visiting two labs at the local Animal Pound that were both rather rambunctious and neither was a good match for me, I returned home to again search on the internet for dogs available in my area. I noticed a smaller black lab at the same Animal Pound that I had not seen earlier. So I went back to have a visit with her. She was a 4-year old Lab/Husky mix, with one blue and one brown eye, named Sasha, and when the animal attendant brought her to the visiting room, Sasha immediately came over to me, turned around and sat down at my feet. Well, I can tell you . . . that did it for me! I filled out the paperwork that afternoon and brought Sasha to her new home the next day.
I wanted to share Sasha with others since I noticed her good behavior while visiting with my neighbors, family and friends. For instance, there are several elderly people in my neighborhood and when we take our daily walks; she’s always ready to have her head patted or her ears scratched. And upon visiting my mother in her home, who incidentally had two wonderful recued dogs at the time, Sasha became fast friends with them all.
I knew she could really make a difference because she’s just a big, gentle baby. She doesn’t jump on visitors and rarely barks. People, young and old alike are drawn to her and are quick to ask if they can pet her.
However, I can’t take all the credit of her newfound profession of becoming a Therapy Dog; it was actually the wife of the owner of the local Pet Safe underground electronic fencing business who guided me through the steps toward Therapy Dog certification. Lynn, the wife, came to my house to work with both me and Sasha on how to train her to be aware of the perimeter of the electronic fencing and to not go through it. Lynn observed Sasha’s calm demeanor and commented that she perhaps could become a registered Therapy Dog. That idea sounded interesting to me and soon after that lesson, I began meeting Lynn and her Therapy Dogs at a neighborhood Assisted Living Center. That has been nearly 3 years ago and we’ve been visiting the Living Center and the local Library ever since. We’ve also given demonstrations at two elementary schools in our area.
Sasha loves to visit people and places as she is definitely a “people dog” and craves attention on a daily basis. And people enjoy visiting with her as well – for instance, when I knock on the doors of the residents at the Assisted Living Center, and then open the door to see if they are in the room, some asking questioningly, “Yes?” but then break out in a big smile when they see Sasha come into their room. I’m just the driver . . . I’m driving Miss Sasha where she needs to be.