Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dempsey's evaluation

I think we've mentioned that Dempsey is in love with Valarie, the "pet taxi' driver who took him to his evaluation. Here's proof:

Dempsey knows how to "snuggle" on cue, but with Valarie, he did it unprompted.

After a few days of going to evaluation, Dempsey figured out that a phone call early in the morning meant that Valarie was five minutes away. He would eagerly get dressed in his pack, and then do a perfect sit-stay by the door, wagging his tail the whole time. When Valarie finally arrived, he would hop up into the taxi and give her a snuggle.

I don't think he'll have any problem bonding with his new person.

We got the results of Dempsey's evaluation while we were grocery shopping in Phoenix. Because Doreen and I were dying of curiosity, we opened the evaluation on our brand-new smartphones, and read the report -- all eight, single-spaced pages -- on the tiny screen in the baking aisle.

We can report that Dempsey is doing.... ok. His skills were rated on a 5-point scale, and I did a quick calculation to see that his average was a 3.8. Corrected to a 4-point scale, he has a 3.04 GPA -- a solid B.

Being "tiger mothers," we told Dempsey that a 3.04 is "garbage" and will not get him into CalTech. Doreen is outside as we speak, burning Dempsey's stuffed Kong toys. We are cancelling all of Dempsey's puppy play dates, telling him he cannot audition for "Annie," and teaching him to play the violin, never mind that he has no thumbs. Tonight he will do 1,000 sits. Thanks for the helpful hints, Amy Chua.

All kidding aside, the evaluation was surprisingly accurate. It nailed both the skills Dempsey is struggling with ("brace," "across," long-duration drop-stays) and the ones he excels at ("switch," "get dressed," "light"). I think Helping Paws knows Dempsey very well, and I'm now totally confident that they'll match him with the perfect person.

The evaluation also included a "corrective action plan" for the skills Dempsey is deficient at, and we also had a one-hour parent-teacher conference to discuss how to improve his skills. We want Dempsey to be the best service dog he can be.

Ok... gotta go now. It will take some time to do 1,000 sits tonight, before the violin lessons.


  1. Poor Dempsey! We are rooting for him!


  2. Glad to hear you got his "report" card; sorry it wasn't the best grade, but we know he'll do great!

    Rudy's Raiser

  3. Love this blog, keep up the great work wish you all the best.

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