The Finding of a Therapy Cat: a series about Tinkerbelle, Registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat (retired) and our journey together.
By Mollie Hunt
Part 5. Registered!
On test day, I took Tinkerbelle to the Oregon Humane Society where the Pet Partner testing was to be done. Both of us were well-groomed and looked our best for the judges. (Pet Partners humans are required to dress nicely and to always give a good impression of the group.) Tink was bathed, teeth cleaned, claws clipped, and brushed until her long black fur shone. I was nervous; she was not.
The test was made up of simulated real-life situations we might encounter on a routine visit. Volunteers helped act out scenes such as you might find in a hospital, school, or assisted living facility. I held Tinkerbelle in my arms while someone dropped a metal tray and talked loudly. Someone else walked by with a dog. Three people passed Tinkerbelle between them and she was required to sit quietly for 30 seconds on each lap. Tinkerbelle excels at sitting on laps so she had no trouble there.
The judges observed me as well. They made sure I never let go of her leash, watched how I related to the “patients”, and took note of how I interacted with Tinkerbelle as each new situation arose. Pet Partners believes your therapy animal is your first and foremost concern.
Needless to say, Tink passed with flying colors. It was a little funny because she was the only cat being tested, and most of the judges had only judged dogs before. On that day, she became 1 of only 3 registered AAI cats in the city of Portland. We always knew how special she was!
Tink served for four years as a registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat, visiting assisted living facilities and hospice patients. Tink is now retired and living the quiet life. Check out her Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TinkerbelleTheTherapyCat/
About Mollie Hunt:
Mollie is the author of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, and the Cat Writers’ Association. This year she won a CWA Muse Medallion for her 3-part blogpost series, “Life Stages”.
Like Lynley, Mollie is a grateful shelter volunteer. She is a longtime volunteer for the Oregon Humane Society where she socializes sad, fearful, and behavior-challenged cats. She also fosters sick and elderly cats in her home. In 2014, she had the privilege to work with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy on a particularly thought-provoking case.
You can find Mollie on her Website: http://www.lecatts.wordpress.com/, her Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/molliehunt, and her Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MollieHuntCatWriter/.
Sign up for her Extremely Informal Newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/c0fOTn.