Delta Pet Partners are required to be re-evaluated every two years, both animal and handler.
Kirby is due for his re-test soon so we are practicing to ensure he can pass all the elements. Since I am the only Delta Evaluator in Las Vegas and I cannot test myself and my own dog, we are going to Los Angeles to be evaluated there.
It’s important not to get rusty in your skills or your dog’s because re-testing is taken very seriously. We not only have to pass all the original elements of the evaluation but show what we have been doing the past two years in terms of volunteering. A team that has not been actively out in the field cannot pass the test.
So I started our process by reviewing everything Kirby and I have done since 2009. We have volunteered over 313 hours. Pretty good for an old dog like Kirby! He started working side by side with Coco and then worked alone with me for about eight months before Benny joined the team. He showed me his amazing talents as a true people-dog and there is no environment or population he cannot work with.
I know Kirby will pass the Aptitude elements but we need to make sure he will pass the Obedience skills as well. So we work every day on his Sit, Stay, Long Leash Recall, Walking and Reactions to new dogs. Sometimes he gets “stuck” and doesn’t want to move forward. It may be because of his sight or his hips or he just doesn’t feel like going through these silly motions! Why bother when everyone knows I am the greatest, most lovable therapy dog!
But we have to bother so we practice and hope the day we are tested is a good day for Mr. Kirby.