13 Aug 10

Pit Bulls as Therapy and Service Dog ...

By Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

Recently at a hearing and protest against Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in Rockville Centre, two petite female Pit Bulls came in with their owners adorned in their service dog vets and ID’s.  At first the police were refusing to let them in, until the owners spoke to them and showed them their ID, which the police looked up and finally let them in.  When they walked past the crowd of over 400 people in the gymnasium at the hearing, cheers and clapping erupted for them. A tiny bit startled it for a second, but they took it all in stride, smiling and wagging their tails.  Wrinkles and Cinnamon are a mother daughter duo of red-nose American Pit Bull Terriers, and Wrinkles is a service dog for her owner and Cinnamon is a therapy dog training to work in psychological and children’s hospitals.

Wrinkles became a service dog by showing in innate ability to keep her owner calm and alerting him when his blood sugar went low.  Joe Caufield, Wrinkles owner, is a diabetic who also suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.  Joe said he noticed that if his blood sugar was low, Wrinkles would stay right next to him, lick him and sometimes bark at him, and he mentioned she never barks for any other reason.  He also mentioned that Wrinkles really helps keep him calm and very confident.  After being a victim of a robbery some years ago, he was afraid to leave his house, nervous going outside and doing things on his own, until Wrinkles who he has had since a small pup came into his life.  Joe said, “Wrinkles gives me that confidence I needed to feel more relaxed to go outside especially at night time. She knows she is going to work when her jacket goes on, it’s amazing.”  Wrinkles also carries Joe’s much needed sugar pills in her jacket just in case he needs them. Wrinkles, who is 6-years old, is a registered service dog through the US Service Dog Registry that follows the guidelines of the ADA.

Cinnamon who is Wrinkles daughter is owned by Joe’s daughter Jennifer Collaro-Visalli.  Cinnamon still a pup at 7-months is already following in her mom’s paw prints and is in training to be a Therapy dog.  Jennifer plans on having her work as a therapy dog in a children’s hospital, in psychological wards and more.  She wants Cinnamon help bring joy to kids while in the hospital, and help brighten their day.

Wrinkles and Cinnamon were so well behaved and greeting everyone at the BSL protest with licks, wags and kisses, (and even the police officers!), and true ambassadors of this wonderful breed of dog.   While many people often think of service, assistance or therapy as other breeds American Pit Bull Terriers are proving here on Long Island and across the country that they are capable of working just as well as other breeds of assistance dogs, and thrive while doing so.

Have a Pit Bull or dog that you would love to do therapy work with?  A good suggestion is that you can take a four week CGC (Canine Good Citizen) and TD (Therapy Dog) preparation class at Doggie U K9 Academy. (www.doggieuk9.com). In order for your dog to do therapy work, he will need to pass and TDI test.  This course will prepare you and your dog for each and give you an idea of what to expect on testing day, and what it takes for your dog to be a therapy dog.   And as a Pit Bull owner, having your dog certified as a Canine Good Citizen by passing that test is excellent to have. Being a therapy dog owner/handler is a very rewarding experience, a fantastic way to give back and great way to bond with your dog.

For more information on Wrinkles and Cinnamon go to: http://www.wrinklescorner.com/

Cinnamon (left), Wrinkles (right)

Wrinkles at work!

Comments are closed.