At "The Dog's Den" we are committed to community service. You will find below some of our past and present works.
We have monthly scheduled Pet Therapy Visits to the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre. Residents look forward to Artemis and Barbara's monthly visits. Artemis, a Briard, lets some of the residents walk him. Other residents that are mobility restricted like to have him jump up on their bed, and some that appreciate Artemis, but from a distance get to see him perform tricks. All in all it is a wonderful experience and we always look forward to our next visit.
We have also had several opportunities to visit the Developmental Classrooms at Imperial School and Wascana Rehabilitation Elementary School. Artemis shows the children how fast he can run and how he can chase a ball. He also does tricks and lies down nicely so the children can pet him and of course he is always very generous with kisses. He even put on a special Christmas show for the children at Imperial School.
On January 3, 2003 we participated in a Day Camp for children at the Regina Science Centre on how animals learn. Artemis did a learning demonstration and then raced the children through an agility course. We look forward to more collaborations with the Science Centre in 2003.
Also in the first quarter of 2003 we have worked in conjunction with the Regina Humane Society to promote the "No Bite Program" and the "Power of Positive Training" at the following Regina Schools: Imperial Community School, Ruth Pawson and Dr. Hannah.
Artemis volunteered to be the demo dog for children to approach and pet. Next Artemis and Barbara did a training demonstration on how dogs learn. Artemis showed the students how he learns through body language and for more advanced behaviours through the use of a clicker. He had to find a cushion, a ruler and a pen in one demonstration and bring them all back to Barbara. The ruler was the hardest because it is so flat and difficult to pick up. The important message the children learned from Artemis' demonstration was "not giving up" and the teachers were reminded of the power of rewarding good behaviours. As difficult as it was for Artemis to get the ruler off of the desk and bring it back to Barbara, he finished the task and never gave up. Later for fun, he raced some of the children individually through and obstacle course of jumps, tunnels and a matt exercise.
Early in March of 2003 Riot and Barbara visited the Veterans Ward at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre for a Pet Therapy visit. Riot did some tricks for the residents, and let them hug and pet him. Riot is a 2-year-old Rottweiler who is very big and a puppy at heart.
On May 19 we participated in the "Cathedral Arts Festival" kick off picnic. Artemis and Riot raced children through a mini obstacle course, and the kids practiced how to properly approach and pet a dog. Artemis also raced the children through a few games of "Go Fish". One of the unexpected events of the day was when a toddler made a breakaway from his parents and raced past Molly and Artemis to get to Riot's ex-pen! He grabbed hold of the ex-pen and started shaking it and squealing, he was so excited to be so close to Riot. His mother was not so excited though and promptly raced over and carried him off! Thank goodness the dogs are used to children racing about!
We also participated at the "Regina Humane Society Agility Fun Match". We did training demonstrations and promoted the "No Bite" program and Artemis competed in a few agility runs.
"The Dog's Den Show" starring Jennifer Berg, Barbara Lloyd, Artemis & Daisy Doolittle on Channel 7 Access Television, community programming broadcast in the fall of 2003 and re-runs continue to be aired.
Our next event was "Canada Day" in the park. Artemis, Riot, Bailey , Wink and Whoopi all took turns racing children through a mini obstacle course. We also promoted the "No Bite" program, responsible pet ownership and enjoyed lots of petting and social interaction with people enjoying the festivities.
In October of 2003 Artemis and Barbara demonstrated to psychology students at Martin Collegiate the Practical Applications of Operant Conditioning. We also visited the Developmental Classroom at the Wascana Rehab Centre, for a Pet Therapy visit. Artemis went dressed in his "Angel" costume, and he played fetch with the children. He found "Nemo" and he gave the children lots of hugs and kisses!
Throughout the fall Barbara and Artemis had several Pet Therapy visits in the various wards of the Wascana Rehab Centre. Artemis brought plenty of joy and companionship to residents who had been under isolation for many days once the restriction was lifted.
In addition in October 2003 , The Dog's Den donated a set of classes to the annual Ducks Unlimited Fund Raiser.
In November Artemis and Barbara visited the Kindergarten, Grade One and Two students at Connaught School to talk about Respect for Animals and gave the children an opportunity to practice positive interactions with dogs.
The Regina Humane Society celebrated its 40th Anniversary in May 2004 and Barbara and Artemis were there to provide training demonstrations and meet Princess Anne.
Also in May 2004, Barbara and Artemis, along with Sue Ailsby, Scuba and Lisa Koch provided the Grade XII Psychology Students at Thom Collegiate with a talk and demonstrations on the Application of Classical and Operant Conditioning. Sue and Scuba demonstrated the skill level required for a service dog.
In July 2004 Barbara and Artemis demonstrated to the kids at the Regina Humane Society Summer Camp, Zoolapaloza, how animals learn by providing training demonstrations and hands on Clicker Training exercises.
In October 2004 Barbara and Artemis were invited to Campbell Collegiate to provide Grade XII psychology students with a web cast talk and demonstration on the Applications of Classical and Operant Conditioning. At the time Barbara was fostering an 8-week-old Rottweiler puppy named Rosie Posy. Rosie demonstrated to the students that learning starts with Classical Conditioning and then leads into Operant Conditioning. Artemis then showed the students an advanced Operant Conditioning demonstration. The class concluded with the students practicing what they had learned.
Once again this October of 2004 The Dog's Den donated a set of classes to the Ducks Unlimited Annual Fund Raiser.
In addition, Barbara and Artemis started regularly scheduled Monthly Pet Therapy visits to the Developmental Classroom at Thom Collegiate in October 2004. An article highlighting Gabriel's Pet Therapy work was published in the "United States Rottweiler Club" magazine. In February of 2005 Gabriel has started to accompany Artemis on his visits and in March, Abby a 10 year old Border Collie and her owner Heather started to take part in the visits. Abby loves to retrieve so the children throw a ball for Abby to chase and sometimes Abby and Artemis will compete in Racing Retrieve Games. Gabriel patiently visits the children one by one giving them acceptance and love.
April of 2005 was a busy month of visiting schools. Artemis and Barbara visited St. Gregory's Kindness Club to demonstrate Clicker Training and discuss the importance of respect for animals. Following that at a later date Gabriel, Artemis and Barbara were invited to Connaught School to teach the students about the "No Bite Program". Gabriel gladly volunteered to be the demo dog for the children to pet. To close the visit Artemis raced some of the children through a mini obstacle course. Later in the month we visited the Grade IV class at Thompson School to discuss respect for animals and once again Gabriel volunteered as the demo dog for the children to pet. In addition he participated in a beginner level Clicker Training Demo and then that was followed by an advanced demo by his Big Brother Artemis.
To kick off May, Gabriel, Artemis and Barbara were invited to Luther College to talk to a Health class about the function and importance of Pet Therapy in our society. Later we spoke to the entire school in honor of "Be Kind to Animals Week". As part of the presentation, Gabriel did a beginner level Clicker Training Demo and Artemis followed with the Advanced Demo. Artemis' comical nature came out in his demo and he had the whole school roaring with laughter.
Our 2007 project is a collaboration with the Saskatchewan Veterinarian Association to promote a province wide Dog Safety program based on the "Doggone Safe" model to Saskatchewan children to ensure safe children and dog interactions.