Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pet Partner Training Course - St. Luke - Part One

A historical set-up to success.
This story started a ways back at one of our other Pet Partner training courses. It was a memorable class for several reasons. One, we were disappointed by the numbers that had interest in taking the time to understand the animal-human bond in the Des Moines area. The gloom was short lived as the four attendees had more then a great deal of interest in the field of Animal Assisted Therapy.

So for the second point, each were professionals in professional fields and brought as much to our experience as be were able to provide back to them. One had traveled down from the Mayo Clinic, another came to us from Iowa city and she was using this course to boost her PHD thesis, she was studying and documenting the effects of AAT on teams in a literacy program, one was formerly with FEMA and had experience a great deal of knowledge of adversity. As the count would have it I did mention there were four in this class.

We were struggling with the idea of only having three for the class that day and dealing with the amount of time it takes to train three, the financial cost of hosting this for only three. We have already invested a great deal of money in our Des Moines dog programs and had a difficult time deciding were we needed to cut our losses financially. We (my wife and I) discussed canceling the course until we could get more interest. The final person was someone that had contacted us late in the week and expressed an especially enthusiastic interest in animal assisted therapy. This person was Chris Montross. How could you turn that down. She was bubbly and you could tell by the tone of her voice, she shared the same passion for others as we do.

We couldn't and honestly cancel the class, we didn't want to disappoint anyone that has the interest.

I could go on and on about everyone there that day but the one person that really stood out was this Chris person. Let me tell you that I haven't ever met a real live clown. No really, she mentioned it in the opening and I couldn't let it go. As a matter of a fact, she was so excited the class was the weekend that it was as it might have interfered with the clown training up on Lacrosse Wisconsin. that she was so interested in. No matter what the topic being discuss she had a new idea or direction to add to the already overwhelming amount of material. No matter when she chimed in those two days, everyone listened intently. Her vast knowledge of the medical field was precise and vast. She announced that she was thinking about initiating a full Delta program at St Lukes Hospital in Cedar Rapids. OK, one last point from me was the week following we received a hand written Thank You note that was so eloquently and beautifully written. This struck me as an outstanding.

From Nicole:

Since that class, Chris and I have spoken regularly. She wanted to put together a succession plan to ensure that the program she had started would always be present at the hospital. And we wanted to address risk management issues that would be alleviated by making sure everybody had a volunteer liability policy separate from the volunteer homeowner's coverage. I can't tell you how many hours we've spent putting this together. And Chris was always the voice of enthusiasm, despite many obstacles. The hospital covered the costs for their volunteers and we managed to recruit three more people from the local community. Seventeen total! SEVENTEEN! WOW! Despite recent floods, the combining of St. Luke's and Mercy after the floods, difficulty in finding a hotel room and my oversight in planning this course on the same weekend that RAGBRAI started, we pulled it off. And it was our best course yet.

Let me tell you as I am telling everyone that we are the lucky ones that Chris took the time to search out our Pet Partner training. She brings so much. She brings so much! St Lukes Hospital is exceptionally lucky that she is behind the surge to excellence with their Pet Partner Program.

Friday, July 18, 2008

St. Lukes - Cedar Rapids

Heading over out to Cedar Rapids for our largest Pet Partner training course to date. We are thrilled to be able to help St. Lukes establish a Delta Society Pet Partner program. The enthusiasm we have received has been overwhelming. Thats not to say there wasn't a few speed bumps along the road but that is understandable. St. Luke's has had a Animal program for years and this opportunity to structure the program around Delta's standards and will take them down new avenues. 

July Fun Run

If you haven't experience the world of agility and have been itching to get into the sport (note: I called it a sport) then head on over to Canine Craze's indoor facility July 26, 2008. We will be running NADAC-style courses and it is open to all breeds of canine. Lamas are welcome and we would love to see them run. 

Come and give it a try, learn what NADAC is all about and help support our community effort through Paws & Effect's Animal Assisted Therapy programs.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Mark of Distinction

Paws and Effect is a finalist for Markham Vineyard's Mark of Distinction grant of $25,000. This grant would help our agility program expand. Your vote could help determine the winner.

You are invited to go to and vote for Paws and Effect today!
You may vote once per day through July 21.

Please follow the link to vote and encourage your friends to do the same!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer Sizzler

Paws & Effect Summer Sizzler Agility Trial
August 9 - 10, 2008
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Raccoon River Park
West Des Moines, IA
PDF of Directions

Judge - Matt McCarter Overland Park, KS

ENTRIES OPEN June 16, 2008
ENTRIES CLOSE 8:00 AM, August 9, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

June R.E.A.D Workshop

Paws & Effect was pleased to host a workshop FREE (well nothing is really free) to all of the current members. We filled up the workshop with teams from all over the state on Sunday June 8th. Despite the heavy storms, sheets of rain, damaging winds and flooded basements of our homes we braved it all to learn more what the program materials could offer. The event was hosted in the new addition of The Integer Group's Butler Mansion. What a fantastic learning opportunity and fantastic facility. 

We also hosted several Pet Partner evaluations in the morning to the success of everyone who participated. Having evaluated several of the Pet Partners, I am amazed at the level of handling skills these teams exhibited. Congratulations to all that were involved.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Seneca Week Two

Our schedule has been hampered by all the wet weather and a trip to help with flood relief efforts in Burlington. Wanted everyone to see Seneca's progress. He is a very sweet and arguably very smart dog. He has really enjoyed his stay with us and is looking forward to the farm where he will be staying for nearly a year. He has a great personality and his temperament allows him to be curious with lots of new things. We find him exploring the backyard often and has enough time to befriend our cat, Crocker.