Showsight Presents the Doberman Pinscher

Shirley Hammond and Sunny working at Ground Zero

Doberman Good Citizen working in therapy service

Doberman Good Citizen working in children’s reading program

over 4 years, and then earned his Th erapy Dog Certi fi cate from Th erapy Dog Inter- national (TDI) http://www.tdi-dog.org/. Since then, Sandy and Gunner, now almost 12 years old, have worked in a residen- tial care and treatment facility for abused, abandoned and neglected boys. Gunner has helped many children, but none more than one severely troubled boy who Gunner has been working with for the past 6 years, from when Johnny was 9 years old. An example of Gunner’s positive impact on Johnny, was the boy’s 13th birthday. Johnny had been very sad and incommuni- cative for some time, and was now curled up in a ball in his room. He would not get up even when Gunner got on his bed and nuzzled him gently with his nose. Th e therapist suggested they leave Gunner alone with Johnny and Sandy agreed. Th ey left Gunner and his toys, brush, treats, and a birthday gift for Johnny in the room and went just outside the door. It was quiet for a few minutes. Th ey waited. Th en came the sound of Johnny sitting up in the bed with Gunner, then toys squeaking and Johnny’s laughter. Finally, Johnny and Gunner came running out of the room together. Th e sta ff began to cry. Everyone had cake, includ- ing Gunner, sang Happy Birthday, and was blessed to witness a young boy enjoying his 13th birthday with his best friend. Gunner and Johnny developed a rela- tionship of trust, through unconditional love, ultimately enabling this now 16 year old boy to move to a new group home with hope for continued improvement. Clini- cians told Sandy the boy is doing well longterm and attributes much of his prog- ress to his relationship with Gunner. Sandy was aware of Gunner’s potential for therapy work since he was a young dog.

Th e TDI test and evaluation con fi rmed her belief and provided additional guid- ance in identifying his particular aptitude with children. Sandy stressed not every dog can or should pursue therapy dog service. A dog must be well-socialized and have mastered basic training. He or she must be con fi dent, friendly, and outgoing with adults and chil- dren, and never shy or aggressive in any way. A solid temperament is essential to work with people with serious emotional issues and in an environment of unanticipated loud noises, intimidating medical equip- ment, and other experiences the average dog does not encounter. Sandy recommended owners interested in getting started in therapy work go to the TDI website, http:// www.tdi-dog.org/, to learn how. Sometimes the best relationships happen when we aren’t looking for one. Such was the case with longtime Doberman obedi- ence competitor and Judge Don Levinson. Th rough a friend, Don was introduced to a Doberman who was looking for her for- ever home. She had been rehomed twice before, but this time it was love at fi rst sight, for both Don and Casha. Don remarked, “Sometimes a dog and an owner are a per- fect fi t.” As a number of Doberman owners have experienced, this was Don’s fi rst step in a forever partnership with his once in a lifetime Doberman, and the Breed. Upon meeting Casha for the fi rst time, Don’s wife had a considerably di ff erent reac- tion. She was petri fi ed of the new arrival and insisted Don get Casha in training immedi- ately. Don began to train with an all breed training club. “ Th e more I trained her, the more she trained me,” he recalled. Th eir bond became stronger and stronger. Th ey began to compete in obedience, ultimately earning a

CH Dymon’s Above The Law Winmar ROM, CD, ThD, CGC (Gunner), a Doberman Good Citizen in therapy service

CH Dymon’s Above The Law Winmar ROM, CD, ThD, CGC (Gunner), pictured at 11.5 years

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