This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend a training session for future “Troop Mates” with Centurion K9. Their website accurately states; “Centurion K9 is a not for profit, 100% volunteer run organization solely dedicated to protecting those that cannot protect themselves, and then training them to protect a new partner suffering from PTSD.” The work these volunteers do is incredible. They partner with a rescue that takes in dogs who would otherwise be destined for euthanasia in most cases, assess them for temperament, and train them to become service dogs for Ottawa area first responders who are experiencing PTSD. Volunteers included some Ottawa Police officers, their family members and friends.
The training session started out with all the dogs currently in the program arriving to the site. Some got walked, others were fitted with their vests. After some indoor drills and command practice, everyone moved outside.
Seeing the dogs interact with the volunteer handlers was truly inspiring. It was evident that the dogs wanted to learn, and the handlers wanted them to succeed.
After about half an hour of outdoor drills, it was time to go back in and do some stairs; the building be used on this particular day is outfitted with metal grill stairs; one of the trainers told me they practice going up and down these stairs to get the dogs accustomed to being in different situations. This way, if they ever encounter this type of stair once they are partnered, they will already be comfortable walking on something they can see through. I would have never thought of that!
Once at the top, trainers asses the dogs reaction to looking over the ledge; I’d bet money to say some of us people were less brave than the dogs!
Kudos to everyone at Centurion K9, thank you for doing what you do.