Locked in Basement for Years, Rescued Dog Becomes Honored Therapy Dog
Coconut THDD CGC spent his first three years of life in a basement until his owner turned him over to a shelter. Dr. Elizabeth Lynch of Greenwich, CT, saw something special in Coco and took him home. With a lot of love, training and trust building, Coco has become a wonderful therapy dog and recently received the AKC title of Therapy Dog Distinguished for making more than 400 visits to help others! Elizabeth tells their story:
I adopted Coconut from The Yonkers, NY, Animal Shelter, where he was owner relinquished after being locked in a basement for three years. I was looking for my next therapy dog, and I thought that I saw something good in his face. He was completely untrained, missing a lot a hair, bow legged, and wild. He came with the name Coco, but my kids promptly added the “nut” to the end because he was so crazy.
We trained in the Family Manners Obedience classes at Port Chester Obedience Training Club in White Plains, NY, an AKC affiliate club. We repeated many classes, but managed to advance slowly through the sequence. With exercise and care, his legs straightened out, and his hair grew back in, revealing a small golden heart on his chest. It was a sign!
One year after his adoption, Coconut passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test and went on to be registered as a therapy dog with the Good Dog Foundation and Pet Partners (previously the Delta Society). Today he visits in two hospitals, including intensive care, cardiology and a cancer center, as well as several schools as a reading therapy dog.
Once he caught on to clicker training, he was a joy to train and enjoys dancing to the beat in canine freestyle, participating in rally freestyle, and learning new tricks. He is a Nosework Level 3 Elite dog and on his way to getting his Barn Hunt Novice title.
I was so lucky to find Coco, and he is happy making other people happy. What a great job to have in life.
Coco is a member of the AKC Canine Partners program for all dogs, including mixed-breeds and rescues.