Have you ever wondered what show dogs do in their down time? Well, they’re not lolling around on the sofa and eating doggie bonbons. They’re out there making therapy visits, helping kids learn to read, keeping an eye on their owners’ health, and doing brain research. For real. Take a look at how some of this year’s Westminster competitors spend their off days.
Trooper, whose registered name is Grand Champion Loral’s Trooper, is a therapy dog who lives in Bolivia, N.C., with owners Lorretta and Allen Pyeatt. He makes regular visits to area nursing homes, where he spreads his own special brand of rottweiler cheer. He’s also involved in the Bark for Reading program at a local elementary school. Reading to dogs such as Trooper helps children improve their vocabularies, comprehension and confidence.
When children are victims of or witnesses to crimes, having a dog to snuggle with can help them deal with the trauma. That’s where border terrier Ticket (Champion Otley’s No Parking) comes in. The victim/crime witness dog, owned by attorney D’Arcy Downs-Vollbracht of Golden Valley, Ariz., logs many hours at crime scenes and in court, serving as a steadying influence for children who have been caught up in crimes or must testify. Ticket’s work carries over to local junior high schools, where she participates in an annual domestic-violence education program. She also makes therapy visits to hospitals, hospice wards and schools.