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Recently, Mike Penketh and his dog, Frodo, were visiting a park where a dog training class was being held. Mike asked if they could do CGC testing, and the instructor replied, “Yes, usually after an eight-week course.”

“Frodo can probably pass now,” said Mike. During this discussion, Frodo sat in a perfect heel position. The instructor shook Mike’s hand and explained the classes. He asked if he could pet Frodo, and when he reached down Frodo raised his paw to shake hands.

The instructor smiled, saying that Frodo had just passed two of the 10 test challenges. He then gathered his class around Mike and Frodo, to act as distractors. Frodo breezed through the remaining eight challenges and is now an AKC Canine Good Citizen.

Mike then explained that all his previous dogs – a mixture of therapy dogs, service dogs, a two-time agility champion – earned CGC certificates. He took them all to work with children in schools to promote disability awareness, and they spread good will and kindness everywhere they went. Mike also takes Frodo to do volunteer work with children.

Frodo also had an excellent background to pass the CGC test. He is a trained service dog from Canine Companions for Independence in California. All CCI dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, or a mix of the two (like Frodo). He is Mike’s second service dog from this organization. Getting a dog from CCI takes some time – the application process can take up to a year, then there is a waiting list of six months to two years.

“When your name comes up,” said Mike, “you go to school for two weeks at CCI’s campus in Santa Rosa, CA (the Charles Schulz campus). “You work with 12 or more different dogs, and the instructors observe you with the dogs. We do fill out a wish list but the instructors decide which dog is the best fit for each person.” Mike thought he wanted another Golden Retriever, but it turned out that Frodo was the dog for him. It was a perfect pairing.

Mike competed in agility with his previous service dog, Maggie, and plans to compete with Frodo as well. They live in Vacaville, CA.

“Dogs are great companions but a well-trained dog is fantastic,” said Mike. Frodo will be 4 years old on December 25.