2007 FSSA’s Service Dog Winner

FSSA's 2007 Service Dog Award Winner
CH Maplesugar Calvin CDX VCD1 RE CGC TDIA TT

DOB 3/13/1996
Owner/Handler: Shannon Rodgers
Nominated by breeder: Cheryl Benedict

I would like to nominate Calvin (with his partner Shannon) for 2007 service dog of the year award. For 7 years they have been visiting facilities in Ames and Des Moines including nursing homes, youth shelters, assisted living communities, special needs children, libraries, schools, a hospice home and occasional approved hospital visits. One of the nursing homes is called Calvin Community, where Calvin is “their special dog”. They have documented more than 50 visits to be the first male Field Spaniel to complete the TDIA. Shannon told me recently about some of their work.

“Calvie thoroughly enjoys his friends and holds positions for all of the petting and attention. It is a social therapy that allows people to connect and communicate. A therapy dog must be mellow and accepting of various people and equipment, and handlers work to facilitate social interaction. We meet all types of people with varying abilities, and it is amazing to see how careful Calvin is according to their needs, whether it's an elderly person with limited mobility, an enthusiastic but troubled teen, or an awkward child unsure of animals. He has always known how to be for each individual, and pulled a few heartstrings among staff and caregivers along the way.

Calvin has made many friends along the way in our therapy work, and I will always remember beautiful moments with those who were also touched by this special dog... Looking forward to visiting our elderly French friend who discusses my "bon chien" while her trembling hands stroke his long silky ears...How Calvie laid stock still when placed on an elevated bed for the man in hospice who wanted this brown dog to lay next to him and keep his mind off the pain. We miss the dementia patient and how she'd dip her head to feel his nose with her sensitive face. Calvin displays infinite patience with young children, holding steady as they feel his soft liver coat.

Calvin is always polite in his meetings and specializes in one-on-one therapy for the people who can't get out of their rooms. He has very gentle snuffles and a soulful gaze, and his friends appreciate his ever wagging tail and obedient demeanor in all situations. Calvie not only tolerates but enjoys his costumes and performs the occasional trick for his fans. This is always in proper taste and humor - amazing how a Fieldie can balance the impishness with the dignity!”