Monday, October 29, 2012

Elvis the Therapy Dog

More (imaginary) adventures of Elvis, our mascot...

Is Elvis, our mascot a beagle or a basset hound? My friends who raise basset hounds say he looks more like a basset, but not quite. A basgle? A be-set?

Rain, Rain and Rain 

Elvis decidedly did not like the deluge of rain this week -- not all week thank goodness or we'd be afloat. His human (Wendell -- also known as Dell) said he spent all week barking at the rain through the patio door and grumbling whenever he went outside.

He also keeps alerting to apples and mangoes when Wendell brings them home -- he found a lot of both. stuffed in luggage as contraband in his Beagle Brigade days. Wendell thinks that either he can't shake his training or he wants more dried liver treats. He'd sit by the kitchen counter for hours in alert position if Dell didn't reward him with a dried liver treat, their usual MO when they were a working team at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

Dell decided that maybe he was getting bored being retired from the Beagle Brigade. His friend Amy from the coffee shop suggested that they try Pet Partners  to see if Elvis would be a good therapy dog. They just finished training and Elvis went on his first supervised therapy visit with Amy and Ranger, who is a retired drug sniffing dog. Elvis did pretty well, despite alerting to a package of dried mango slices in one patient's room.

That is, he did pretty well until Ranger caused a mild uproar by alerting to an empty hospice room, something he's never done. But after Elvis alerted to the mango slices, Ranger -- maybe showing off a bit -- alerted to a corner of an empty room.

Amy had to find a subtle way to telling the staff the Ranger smelled something. The something turned out to be a half-gram of marijuana that had fallen into the back corner of the bedside stand. It probably wasn't illegal -- many of the hospice patients are in the last stages of terminal cancer and are registered to receive medicinal marijuana. However, when Elvis got a whiff of the grass, he started howling and wouldn't stop. Dell had to drag him out of the hospice, though he found out later that everyone got a good laugh out of Elvis's behavior and they've been invited back.

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