There are many times that I thought Artemis could have been a therapy dog. I never followed through with getting her certified, and perhaps I should have. But there were plenty of times that she filled the roll of therapy dog, even though she wasn’t “official.”
Many Sunday afternoons, especially as she was getting older, I would walk the dogs over to Liberty Park, which is about a half-mile from the house. Franklin, Artemis, and I had a great 2 mile loop that we took, and the park is alway busy with lots of people on Sunday afternoons.
There are always lots of kids playing and skateboarding and biking, but there are also a lot of people who like to just sit on a bench and take it all in. These are the people whom Artemis would seek out.
We would be walking through the park, and after taking a look at the birds in the aviary (Artemis really liked the crimson Egrets and the parrots and especially the peacock) we would walk the middle row between the aviary and the pond. I usually let the dogs take a long look at the ducks and geese in the pond, but never let them off leash for fear that they would jump in to chase the waterfowl and go swimming.
So we would stroll along the middle row of sidewalk, where the benches are all lined up. Sometimes the dogs would get called over by people sitting on benches, but oftentimes Artemis would pull me and Franklin over to someone who looked in need of some attention. Artemis would simply walk up to the person, sit down in front of them, and place her paw in their lap.
“What a sweet dog! She knew that I needed some attention today. Thank you so much for saying hello,” would be the typical response from the stranger.
Artemis wasn’t an official therapy dog, but she was a therapy dog. She knew the right people to seek out and she knew just the right amount of attention to give them.