Chris and Diamond
The AHF thanks Chris for all that he does for us. Not only does he visit with his wonderful Whippet, Diamond, but Chris helps out at our monthly evaluations giving instructions to the soon to be Pet Partners. Here's Chris & Diamond's story:
My name is Chris Schlieter and I found the Delta Society while looking for a positive form of community service. I was working from home at the time and doing Animal Assisted Activities would get me out a couple times a month interacting with nice groups of people. In addition, my wife and I didn’t do so well training and socializing our first dog, so we worked extra-diligently with Diamond to achieve better results.
So in 2005 I attended a workshop to learn the basics of what the human needs to know, and then volunteered during an evaluations day so I’d know what to expect when our big day came. Our preparations paid off and we earned a Predictable rating on our first try.
What came next is what impresses me most about this local Delta Society Affiliate (and the dedicated group of volunteers who make it all happen). They offered mentoring and had a list of facilities and regularly scheduled visits we could join in on. Diamond and I quickly discovered how visiting Senior Day Services programs were the best fit into our schedule and how those clients worked well with her personality (and vice-versa).
Diamond still loves to visit Seniors, but she also works well at the other end of the spectrum. About once a year she goes to Kindergarten for a special reading to the dogs day. She’ll lay on her pad calmly while each child reads a few pages to her, then perks up when it’s time to be petted. Diamond has also worked as a Delta Society booth ambassador at the huge Pet Expo held in April at the Orange County Fairgrounds.
Remember when I said I was impressed with this local Delta Society Affiliate? Well I decided I had to give back as my way of saying thank you. At first I was a regular “crowd member” volunteer for evaluation days. Then I started bringing Diamond as the neutral dog for the last exercise in the Skills test. Finally I asked if I could help out as “Reader” and that’s been a role I’ve enjoyed ever since.
I began working in retail sales a few years ago, and the ever-varied work schedule has cut down on our Delta visits and on my participation in evaluations. But I still feel strongly about the value of this program and how the Animal Health Foundation does so much to support our registered Pet Partner Teams.