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Bailey Doodle shows promise as therapy dog

Bailey Doodle shows promise as therapy dog
Donna Schweitzer of Adkins is training Bailey Doodle, a lab-poodle mix, as a therapy dog.

Bailey Doodle is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, obedient, brave, and clean ...many attributes of a good Boy Scout. But Bailey isn’t a boy or a Scout. She’s in training to be a therapy dog.

Donna Schweitzer of Adkins has trained K-9 unit dogs, particularly Rottweilers, for many years. After her chocolate lab passed away, the former investigator for the attorney general’s office promised herself that when she retired, she would get another dog. She found Bailey in a litter of puppies the offspring of a chocolate lab and a snow-white standard poodle. Donna took one look into those green eyes and fell in love.

Her ultimate goal is to train Bailey to be a therapy dog to help wounded warriors. To become certified as a therapy dog, Bailey must pass three separate six-week-long obedience courses. Donna must then apply to a certified therapy group to obtain certification, and more training may be required. She enrolled Bailey in canine obedience classes at a PetSmart in San Antonio. Trainer Jenny Ochoa is the certified state evaluator for the Good Canine Citizenship award.

Since Bailey still has six to nine months of puppy energy in her, Donna has enrolled her in agility classes. Bailey is great at agility. Her natural curiosity overcomes any shyness about the obstacles she encounters as she runs through tunnels and the tire swing on the course as though she’s done it all her life.

Donna said Bailey also has a calming influence on other dogs. Sometimes another dog is hyper and disobedient and Bailey will walk over and put her paw on the dog’s head, and the dog calms down. Other dogs finish their agility course and, instead of looking at their masters for affirmation, look at Bailey to see if she approves, Donna said.

This energetic pup recently celebrated her first birthday with a canine-safe carrot cake baked by Donna.

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