Pidi and Daisy are known by many throughout the community. Some know these two dogs from their frequent presence at Omer and Bob’s. Some have spent time with them as therapy dogs at Wheelock Terrace, and some from the dog park. Regardless, they’ve built quite the name for themselves.
Addi Faeber had adopted Pidi in Wisconsin about a year-and-a-half before she and Sam Burdick moved to Lebanon. Addi was busy writing her doctoral dissertation while out in Wisconsin and had no thoughts about training a therapy dog. She spent much of her days writing, taking puppy Pidi for a walk, writing, taking puppy Pidi for a walk, writing... ad nauseam, which allowed her to spend a great deal of time training and bonding with him. By the time they moved, he had a solid sit-stay, down, and great recall, all things that would become important when he took the therapy dog test.
“When we moved out here, we were living at Gile Hill apartments, and Wheelock Terrace is right behind there. It’s a retirement community, and I had a friend from the dog park who was their event coordinator who said, ‘Pidi is so wonderful and so affectionate, would he like come in and meet some of our residents as a therapy dog?’” Addi said. So, Addi decided to take Pidi to do the therapy dog test and get licensed as a Therapy Dog.
Pidi was already well-trained from all the time Addi was able to spend with him during his puppyhood, and there were plenty of instructional videos online, so Addi didn’t take him to a training class, but rather worked with him herself, and he passed. They became a licensed therapy dog team and regularly visited Wheelock Terrace.
One of Addi and Pidi’s favorite times to visit Wheelock Terrace was on Friday afternoons for social/cocktail hour.
“It was just the most wonderful time,” Addi said, “because Pidi could be friendly and social, the residents were all gathered together in one place, and were looking forward to a nice Friday meal later. It was just a good time to bring in a dog; it made it feel much homier.”
Addi and Sam found the fourth member of their family, Daisy, when she was almost a year old, and Pidi was four. Daisy came with a reasonably good sit and stay, so shortly after adopting her, Addi took Daisy to therapy dog training classes in Concord, NH. Daisy also passed the test, making Addi and Daisy another licensed therapy dog team. Addi has not ever taken the test to allow her to handle Daisy and Pidi in a Therapy Dog capacity at the same time. Sam has not taken the test to be an official handler in a therapy dog team with either dog.
Pidi and Daisy hiking
The licensing process matters for a few reasons, the biggest one being that many facilities will not let you bring your dog inside without proper licensure paperwork. Another is that to work in a particular place the handler must have a facility agreement signed and sent off to TDI, partially because once you have become a licensed therapy dog team, Therapy Dogs International or TDI covers all liability insurance and other issues that may come up. Because of these reasons and more, TDI requires you to re-license your therapy dog every year, but not re-test.
This year, neither Pidi nor Daisy have been licensed as therapy dogs. Pidi is now 8, the recommended age for retirement, and life has grown a little busier for Addi these days, so she didn’t re-register Daisy this year. But neither of them seems to mind. On Tuesdays, and sometimes other days of the week, they get to spend the day at work with Sam, “helping” customers at Omer and Bobs. Daisy has a particular affinity for this “job,” she will watch out the window, waiting and hoping customers will come in.
Other days, Pidi and Daisy can often be found walking with their humans along the west end of the new Mascoma Rail Trail which has recently opened for public use right near their house. Pidi, in particular, is grateful for the Rail Trail extension. After a few scares with cars, he stopped walking on the road, and will only walk on the Rail Trail. In fact, Sam can safely walk with both dogs all the way from their house to work. It might take an hour and a half, but now there is a place to do it, and that’s making the whole Faeber Burdick crew happy!