By Carolyn Bickford
WW’s Key Kap Rico, aka Lucky, had his Public Access Test on Monday. He is now a Certified Assistance Dog.
The test started when Sally Hoover, Lucky’s adopter, unloaded him from her car. There were no open handicapped parking spaces, so it was a hike from the car to the Park City Mall entrance. On their way into the mall, Sally and Lucky had to walk through the parking lot, watching for cars, people, and other distractions. Lee Livingood was assigned the job of walking her dog Snickers past Sally and Lucky while they were on their way to the entrance. Lucky did all of that very well, stayed at heel for Sally, and calmly got both of them to the door.
The next test was the controlled entry into the building. No pulling on the leash, or trying to wander off, or seeking attention from other people in the mall was allowed. Lucky aced that too, but it was obvious that he does not like shiny floors. However, it did not deter him, and as the test went on he became more confident.
The rest of the testing was walking through the mall in a controlled manner. At one point Sally was told by the tester, Betsy Howell, to drop his leash and have Lucky pick it up and give it to her. Done and done. Next, Sally took a seat at a kiosk and a “stranger” (me) took Lucky away and out of sight. This is done to show that Lucky would leave her in the event Sally would need help and Lucky had to be out of the way of anyone aiding Sally. No problem.
Betsy dropped her clipboard and Lucky just looked back at her and continued on his way with Sally. There were tests of “down”, “stay” and “sit”. Lucky did all of those on command and then resumed the walk. A mother with her baby in a stroller was asked to walk up to Lucky and Sally. The stroller did not bother Lucky, and he was fine with the baby.
The elevator was Lucky’s favorite part. It was carpeted! Sally had to get him in and out without having the door close on either of them. Not as easy as it sounds, but the two of them seemed to be old pros at it.
Next, we walked through the linen department at J.C. Penney’s, to see how well Lucky did with tight turns. Once again, Lucky did an excellent job. We moved on to the Food Court where Lucky did not eat the french fries that I threw on the floor. He did retrieve the dollar bill that Sally dropped, and picked up the pen that “fell” off the table. The dollar was easy, the pen not so much. The pen was hard for him to hold in his mouth, as he had lost a few teeth at his last dental. He did get the pen to Sally, and with that, both Lucky and Sally had passed the complete Certified Assistance Dog test.
Special thanks to Roseanne Foy of Wet Noses Dog Training for training Lucky, to Sally Hoover and Lucky, who worked so hard, and to Betsy Howell of Redfern Canines who did the testing. All their hard work paid off, Lucky has a job, and Sally has help in her daily routines. Keystone Greyhounds also adds our thanks and gratitude to Penny Auer, Lucky’s foster mom, who made sure he got to his vet appointments and helped him on the road to being certified. Without dedicated volunteers like Penny, Lucky’s second career would not have been possible. (Editor’s note: Thanks to Carolyn Bickford and Lee Livingood for assisting in the testing as well.)