We started a Facebook group, a few months ago – Canephile. The name is a word I coined, of Greek and Latin derivation. I define Canephile as “caring, responsible pet parents or others who are caring, responsible caretakers of dogs. I hope to encourage communities of Canephiles to explore ways to promote the continued integration of companion dogs into society. Not too long ago, in the Facebook group, we had a discussion about an Oregonian pet leasing company that “euthanized” some of their animals. Some of the membership expressed concerns about leased dogs being potentially subject to mistreatment at the hands of lessees. Giving it some thought, I considered how I would provide prospective pet parents and others with an experience that would have built in protections for the dog and support clients in gaining short duration, yet practical experience with with a dog in their homes. We love the dogs, yet it’s very important to support the folks on the other end of the leash. It is through their day to day expressions of caring that we support the dogs and hopefully create a better, more dog-enriched society.
The clients – some want a little experience with dog care, yet are not prepared to make the commitment required of foster care providers. Some are hoping to experience “the dog thing,” and are attracted by the presence of professional support at the ready. We’ve been told that prospective pet owners sometimes experience considerable anxiety around street-level dog-dog introductions and for those interested parties – dog parks. The professional handlers will discuss dog park etiquette and what happens there.
We jokingly call the dog handler, “Johnny On The Spot” – his role is that of an advisor, and he is watchful of the physical and emotional state of the dog. “Johnny or Janey’s” skilled interventions are sometimes helpful when excited, young children are present. At one Manhattan home, Janey arrived and immediately set up Morgan’s crate, next to the sofa. I small blanket and toy were placed inside. Janey reported, “The parents quickly learned just how stimulating the presence of a dog can be for their 4 year old son. Mom was attempting to corral her son – he seemed to want to glue himself to Morgan. Morgan was great with the little boy, but their son’s persistent behavior was making Mom a little anxious. Jane was able to discreetly and calmly support the parental directive by uttering a “Psst.” This got Morgan’s attention. With a verbal command, Janey directed Morgan to the crate. Dad closed the door and the anxiety-provoking scene was resolved. Their discussion continued for several more minutes, while the little boy was playing on Mom’s lap with his toy caterpillar. When Janey discussed the moment, she was happy to report that the parents commented that (1) Morgan was nonplussed by their son, (2) They had never really thought about using a dog crate as a tool to allow excitement to dissipate, and (3) that Morgan was perfectly comfortable going into and hanging out in the crate. The parents had a positive experience and saw the practical application of dog training and socialization. It’s meaningful to us. Dog training involves being diligent in attention to behavior. Finding ways to make dog training relevant for the busy parents of a four year old can be challenging, but when real life applications appear and these teachable moments occur organically, it’s as good as it can get.
Better Than Dog Rentals
We are very happy when clients express an interest in adopting a homeless dog, as we know that many a great pet can be obtained from shelters and other animal welfare organizations. We are grateful for the opportunity to do a little matchmaking.
The dogs we prepare for placement may be large, medium, or small, but we are sourcing dogs that we believe will behaviorally succeed in a novice home. We demonstrate why our dogs and our professional support are part of a foundation that set the stage for pet parents to have an enjoyable experience.
For our clients that opt for our Pet Parenting Experience, we offer a 2 or 4 hour option. A professional handler and adoptable dog visit – our handler will typically have a collapsible dog crate, toy, dog food, leash, bowls and other supplies. The prospective pet parents will have an opportunity to walk the dog, navigate introductions to other people and dogs (if they care to), feed, experience using a crate or other tools for management, groom, etc. The clients may have the option of adopting the dog that visited them. Johnny or Janey will collect the required pre-adoption information for submission to the office and will likely be the ongoing point of contact for such clients.
The 1 hour Pet Parenting Experience is $115. 2 hour Pet Parenting Experience is $225.00. The 4 hour Pet Parenting Experience is $399.00.