After living on the North shore of Massachusetts for a few years, I am returning to my original home of the South shore. The big difference this time is that now I have my very own dog. I adopted Tris from Schultz’s Guest House in Dedham MA three years ago. During those three years we explored the city of Salem, and some other beautiful spots on the North shore. We had made friends, dog and human alike, at all our local haunts, and now we are beginning to explore the dog friendly spots of Plymouth and Cape Cod. Feel free to check out all of our favorite dog friendly shops, restaurants, and parks, on both shores!
Every month Tris eagerly awaits her BarkBox, but this month was even more special. We noticed a special holiday colored BarkBox on our front step today, and she simply couldn’t contain her excitement. As she sat in front of her box crying for me to get it open, I grabbed the camera ready to document some of the holiday goodies she found inside.
The stuffed toys, and edible sticks and treats, are tied for first place. She loves her holiday lamppost and already devoured the duck stick. Next up will be the holiday themed bags of treats…
Thanks for the early Christmas joy BarkBox! We love your whimsical designs and delicious treats!
If you have ever walked from one end of the Cape Cod Canal to the other you would know about the park in Buzzards Bay. It is still being developed/renovated but so far there are benches, a beautiful gazebo, and some walking paths that lead right to the train bridge. This park featured a neat monument to fisherman, many personally engraved bricks along one of the sidewalks, and even some bronze fish atristically placed within the cement. We saw many people, and dogs, headed down the bike path towards the Bourne Bridge. With loads of open grass, and a mystery project off to one side, maybe a soon-to-be playground, there was so much to explore.
Whimzee dog toys are two toys in one, well at least for Tris. She tends to not devour these edible toys right away, instead she carries these potato starch creations around and plays with them for weeks and weeks before deciding to chew them to pieces. She loves to toss them, and occasionally sneaks them outside to bury. For Tris a stocking full of the (medium) Hedgehog Whimzee is the best holiday gift she could ever imagine. And this Christmas Santa has her covered.
With the Holidays slowly approaching, I realized I wanted to make a little something for the people Tris visits every week. I decided to do a paw print, and after a few experiments, I thought it sort of looked most like a Christmas tree. So one very green left paw later, we had our cards “printed”. This works great for any size paw, just make sure to trim the hair beforehand, and have a bowl of soapy water ready for afterwards. Otherwise, you’ll have a fading trail of green paw prints leading through your house, or across your deck!
-I used a sharpies and washable acrylic paint for this project, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the end result-
Having errands to run isn’t such a hassle when your dog can tag along. I find she makes for great conversation and ends up cheering people up when she’s with me. Especially at the bank. We have visited both the Salem and Plymouth MA locations, and have always gotten a biscuit, or four, during our visit. Once she even got a leash light and a bandana! At the lovely Pine Hills TD Bank she felt right at home (see below).
Thanks for being so welcoming TD Bank!
We decided to Go Pro it with our new dog friendly camera harness ($39.99 at GoPro.com) during a hike in the Blue Hills. We loved the wide flat trails that seemed to go on forever. There were lots of friendly off leash dogs, and even though Tris stayed leashed (since she has a strong urge to track squirrels) she enjoyed the smells and sounds of the forest. Her buddy Sherlock also joined us and made his first ever GoPro film. A special treat was finding the raised boardwalk, and even better, was discovering the small restaurant and patio area where we could get a great lunch after a couple hours of hiking. It was a splendid afternoon, and this would be someplace to head back to especially as the fall months approach.
Located on Cape Cod, Sandy Neck is a super long beach (close to 6 miles) to walk along or go off roading. With an annual permit you can even take your vehicle or camper out for a fun day or two. Tris enjoyed the clear water and shallow flats at low tide, while Lacey the lab preferred the repetition of fetch in the ocean with her beloved tennis ball. But the most fun was had when Tris decided to channel her inner cheetah and try to catch a flock of flying seagulls. Especially fun for off leash adventures in the winter months, this beach is a go-to for dogs and beach hikers alike.
Off exit 5 in Plymouth is The Home Depot. This is a store full of employees who love dogs, and will even get down on the floor to pet your pooch. At check out, if you can go early in the morning, the cashiers usually have time for a conversation, and it’s great to chat with other dog owners/lovers. In the winter it is also a great place to avoid rock salt and ice, by taking a walking tour of the store. Tris loves visiting this store because of all the fun things to smell, and all of the friendly people to meet. Sometimes they even have biscuits at the paint counter!
39 Long Pond Rd, Plymouth MA.
A couple of days ago we hit up Hedges Pond again to test our new GoPro Session camera out on the water. It was so easy to apply the dock to the kayak, and to then secure the camera on the bow. I guessed on the angle and was pleasantly surprised by how nice the framing was. The picture itself was so crisp and colorful, I was very impressed that such a small camera could create such and immersive experience for the viewer.
The editing and transfer process was intense, however, now having done it once I feel future edits will go much more smoothly.
Also, as a side note, be prepared to purchase an HDSD card for your GoPro Session as it does not come with one included.
Many people ask me, when Tris is doing her visits, how we got certified to be a therapy dog team. Well, we did some research and chose the organization called Therapy Dogs International (TDI). They list the tests the dog will need to pass on their website, and you can choose to get trained at a center, or do it yourself. We tried the do it yourself training. Once you feel prepared you can go to a training center, on the scheduled day, and take the test.
The TDI Test is divided into two phases and has 13 individual tests and additional exercises within each test. Here are some of the phase 1 tests:
The dog must wear either a flat buckle or snap-in collar (non corrective) or a harness (non-corrective), all testing must be on a 6ft leash.*
TEST 1: TDI ENTRY TABLE (Simulated as a Hospital Reception Desk)
The dog/handler teams are lined up to be checked in (simu- lating a visit). The evaluator (“volunteer coordinator”) will go down the line of registrants and greet each new arrival including each dog. At the same time the collars will be checked, as well as nails, ears and grooming and lifting of all 4 paws and tail, which must be lifted if applicable. If the dog has a short cropped tail it should be touched.
TEST 2: CHECK-IN AND OUT OF SIGHT (time: One Minute)
The handler will be asked to check in. After the check-in has been completed the handler will be escorted by a helper to where the handler is supposed to sit. All dogs will be placed in a down position on the handler’s left side keeping teams at least 8 feet apart. Now the handler will start completing the paperwork. Once all teams have been placed, the helper(s) will ask the handler(s) if they can hold their dogs. Now the handler(s) will leave for “one minute”. The handler(s) can give the “stay” command verbally or by hand signal or both. The helper(s) can talk to and pet the dog(s). The dog(s) can sit, lie down, stand or walk around within the confines of the leash.
TEST 3: GETTING AROUND PEOPLE
As the dog/handler team walks toward the patients’ rooms, there will be various people standing around. Some of the people will try visiting with the dog. The dog/handler team must demonstrate that the dog can withstand the approach and touching by several people from all sides at the same time and is willing to visit and walk around a group of peo- ple.
TEST 4: GROUP SIT/STAY
The evaluator will ask all the participants to line up with their dogs in a heel position (w/dog on left or right), with 8 ft. between each team. Now the handlers will put their dogs in a sit/stay position. The handlers will give the sit command to the dogs. The evaluator will tell the handlers to leave their
*If the dog is on a longer leash, a knot must be made in the leash to mark 6 ft. The handler must drop the extra leash.
dogs. The handlers will step out to the end of their 6 ft. leash, turn around and face the dog(s) and wait for the evaluator’s command to return to their dog(s). (The evaluator will give the return command immediately).
TEST 5: GROUP DOWN/STAY
Same as test number 4, except dogs will now be in a down/ stay.
TEST 6: RECALL ON A 20 FT. LEASH
All handlers will be seated. Three dogs at a time will be fitted with a long line. The reason we fit more than one dog with a long line at the same time is to save time. The handler will continue to hold the 6 ft leash while the long line is fitted by a helper. To avoid any kind of incident, the evaluator will make sure that the handler is holding the 6 ft leash until the dog has been placed and is ready to be tested for the recall. One handler at a time will take the dog to a designated area which is out of reach of the other dogs even with a 20 ft. line. The evaluator will then give the command: Down your dog!. The handler can down the dog either by voice and or by hand signal. The evaluator will give the command: Leave your dog!. The handler will tell the dog to stay either by voice and or by hand signal. The handler now will turn away from the dog and walk in a straight line to the end of the 20 ft. lead. The handler will turn and face the dog. The evaluator imme- diately will tell the handler to call the dog. The handler will call the dog, either by voice, hand signal or both.
TEST 7: VISITING WITH A PATIENT
The dog should show willingness to visit a person and dem- onstrate that it can be made readily accessible for petting (i.e. small dogs will be placed on a person’s lap or held; medium dogs will sit on a chair or stand close to the patient to be eas- ily reached, and larger dogs will be standing).
Once you pass you receive a kit, a bandana, an ID, and some paperwork that you will need to take along to your visits. Then you can jump right in. We chose our sites, but you can also accept invitations to people’s homes or locations that are requesting a dog team. We have nearly 50 visits acrued so far and look forward to having many many more in the future.