I’ve been working in animal welfare for quite some time now, and in time, have started using my dogs in my work as well. Not all of them, but, as some of them have the right personality for it, why not use them! So, I do!
For years, Squeake, Rover and Gus were used as humane blood donor dogs. They have all aged out of the program now, but for quite some time, we would go in every 7 weeks and they would donate a bit of blood and save the lives of other dogs. They were rewarded with peanut butter and loved every minute of it! Every so often, I think about how many lives my dogs may have saved with their donations and I am just so pleased with them for doing so. But, as they are dogs, all they know is that they had to lie down for 5 minutes and then they got peanut butter.
Gidget and Squeake have both passed the test to be therapy dogs. Though Squeake has gotten a bit older and a bit more arthritic, they have both been used in classroom settings to teach children how to interact with dogs. Whenever requested, they get all dressed up and head out to do nothing more than behave and be patient while kids pet them. Jefferson is currently working towards becoming a therapy dog as well, however, we are having a bit of difficulty with the “lie down while I walk 20 ft away” at this point. But, as soon as he gets it, he will take Squeake’s place and she can retire and live out her days on the couch.
I’m not suggesting that all dogs need a job or are even cut out for this kind of work. I do have quite a few friends with shelter dogs who do other things as well, though. I have friends with shelter dogs who participate and excel in sports, such as fly ball, dock diving, canine disk, agility, lots of awesome stuff.
Mostly, I just want to brag that my rescue dogs have dome some awesome things and if you consider adopting, I bet that, if you wanted to and with enough training, yours could, too!