I did a post about Working Dogs on December 16th, 2018. I got the idea from a book, Riley the Retriever Wants a Job. In the story Riley’s looking for the perfect job for a Golden Retriever like her.
Here’s the link for that post: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/working-dog
It ended with a picture and information about therapy dogs. That ending gave me another idea—to write a post, this time about Riley and Jill.
This is Jill Mangel Weisfeld and her dog Riley. They work as a team to visit schools, libraries, and retirement homes. Riley wears a uniform, her bandana. When Jill pulls it out, Riley gets excited. She jumps in the car, ready to go to work.
Some dogs aren’t certified, but Riley is. She started school at the Good Dog Foundation when she was 4. Some dogs start at age 1, but they have to be house broken. Who wants a guest who leaves a mess?
At school, Riley took 5 classes, with tests. She had to pass her finals to graduate. Every year Jill and Riley go back to school to be re-certified. Why? To make sure Riley’s still a good dog. I don’t think she’s good…I think she’s great!
Riley is a star. She got her picture in the paper with a new friend. I love the headline—A good listener. I bet Riley needed that skill to pass her tests. Here are a few she might have taken.
To be a good dog Riley had to listen and obey basic commands like sit, stay, come, and down. Looking at this picture Riley definitely sits and stays, but that’s easy when a kid will read you a story.
We can’t see what Riley does when she meets a new friend, but she passed all her tests, year after year. That means she doesn’t jump up, no matter how excited she is. She doesn’t bite, even if she’s scared or hurt.
Here’s another clipping of Riley. She loves books! Look at the little girl’s hand. It gives you a hint into another test Riley took. She has to let a stranger groom/brush her. She may even have to let that stranger hold her head and open her mouth, like they do at dog shows.
During the second half of the test Riley had to obey commands from that stranger. It looks easy peasy for her. She passes, year after year! She’s a great dog!
Riley also passed the polite leash test. She must walk through a crowd without jumping or nipping. She has to respond politely to distractions like honking horns or joggers appearing out of no where. Look at her politely listening to the girl reading. I bet if someone burst into the classroom she’d keep listening.
Here’s the link for these basic tests. There’s 1 more to go:
This is Riley out with Jill’s dad. She takes good care of him. If they meet another dog, Riley won’t fuss. She’ll walk politely past. If you want to stop and chat, tell Riley to sit. She’ll wait till you finish. This is the last and hardest test, to be polite around other people and their dogs. Riley can do it because she’s a great dog.
If you want to learn more about therapy dog tests, click on this link:
Riley took her tests with the Good Dog people. They’ve been training therapy teams since 1998. This year they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary. Good Dogs work in Education, Health Care, Research, and in Disasters. If you want to read more about them, here’s their link:
Jill and Riley love visiting schools, libraries, and nursing homes around Westchester, New York. Riley is so popular! She got top billing on this love note from Class 1B, but they remembered Jill. With kids, dogs rule!
This is Riley at work, NOT! She does not have computer or writing skills, even though she loves a good story. Riley and Jill have been visiting libraries for over 7 years. They listen to children and let them practice reading skills so they become independent readers.
Jill got this story idea from their work with schools and nursing homes. She wanted to write a fun story that would also teach kids about working dogs.
Jill played with plot ideas until she came up with Riley searching for just the right job. The best place to search? ‘Doogle’ of course! I love the play on words.
Jill got help from Riley, of course, and from her mother, Deborah Mangel, who was a children’s author. The only sad part to this story, Deborah died before the book was published, but I’m sure she’s proud of it. The 3 of them succeeded in their goal…writing a fun story that teaches kids about working dogs.
The picture below gave me a case of mistaken identity. I thought Riley was at the library celebrating her new book with the librarian…WRONG!
This was a bookstore where they autographed Riley’s story. I’m sure Jill did the signing, but I hope Riley gave everyone a ‘paw-tograph.’ That’s a paw print autograph.
This isn’t the librarian or the store clerk either. It’s one of Jill’s daughters hanging out with their celebrity dog. Lucky daughter!
If you’d like to hang out with Jill and Riley, click on their link: http://peek-a-bear.com/
This is Riley, finally at the library! I’m so glad she found her book, but I think she looks better in person.
The Scarsdale Children’s Librarian has had Jill and Riley visit them for years. Now they’ll never leave unless Riley the Retriever is checked out, but I bet Jill and Riley like nothing better than sending their book home with a child.
I’ve never seen a dog at my library, but if you think one would make a great addition to yours, show this article to your local librarian. Ask them to check out Jill’s website. Maybe you can add a dog to your local library.
And if that works, show this to your teacher. Maybe you can have a dog visit your classroom. I’m a retired teacher, but I think it’d be way more fun to read to a dog than to me.
But if that won’t work, click on this link, and you can visit Riley anytime!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!