92 Bowery St., NY 10013

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Sue Oakes of Oakes K9 Training and Kathy Gardosh are both evaluators who are certified to do the AKC Canine Good Citizen and the Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs tests.

Sue has over 30 years of experience training dogs and specializes in canine behavioral cases. She is a former certified animal control officer and a graduate of the School of Animal Sciences. Her other memberships and qualifications include:

  • Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)
  • International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP)
  • Certified Dog Trainer (CDT) per the IACP
  • Judge and senior representative for World Cyanosport Rally Obedience – All Levels
  • Judge and representative for Companion Dog Sports Program (CDSP) Obedience – Novice/Open

Kathy is currently owned and loved by two rescued Golden Retrievers, Sam and Patrick.

  • Sam came from a puppy mill and was very timid and shy. However, Kathy discovered he was an excellent therapy dog who is still working at 12 years of age. Sam is also a “test dog” for the Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs Registry.
  • Patrick had a tough time before finding his forever home as he was a stray walking the streets and beaches of Puerto Rico. Fortunately, he was brought to the states for adoption by a reputable rescue organization. Patrick loves obedience work and has earned multiple titles in both traditional obedience and rally obedience in three different venues. He is currently working as a therapy dog, earned his AKC Therapy Dog Novice Title this past year and was recently made a “test dog” for Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs.

Kathy serves as the Nor’wester Therapy Dogs liaison to Upper Dublin and facilitates the Nor’wester program in the schools where therapy teams are visiting.

Over the years of testing, Kathy and Sue have had some funny experiences. We asked them to share some of those experiences with us. 

A schutzhund lady was testing her dog in hopes of passing the therapy dog test. 

“Sitzen,” she commanded.  The dog did not obey and just looked at her.  A repeat of the command did not produce any results.  The tester proceeded with the next exercise. 

“Nieder!” the owner said.  The dog looked at her quizzically and did not respond. 

“Hacke,” and “kommen sie” were also ignored by the dog. 

At this point the owner was getting annoyed and frustrated. 

Kathy and Sue then suggested that she start over and try the commands in English.  The dog performed beautifully!

**Schutzhund refers to a dog sport that was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a breed suitability test for the German Shepherd breed. The test would determine if the dog displayed the appropriate traits and characteristics of a proper working German Shepherd. Today, it is used as a sport where many breeds other than German Shepherd dogs can compete, but it is such a demanding test that few dogs can pass.

Another woman had three Australian Shepherds she was bringing to test.  Two of them needed to share a crate on the ride to the testing facility. When she arrived, she was aghast to discover that one of the dogs had chewed the collar off his crate partner.  The owner had not brought a spare collar and was in a panic. How was she going to test?! Her home was too far to go back for a collar. Fortunately, Sue and Kathy, chuckling quietly, offered her a collar so she could test. The dog passed.

A woman was in the midst of testing with her 5-year-old Labrador Retriever she had recently acquired.  She was performing the distraction exercise, which requires the dog to walk past and “leave” a treat lying on the floor.  When the evaluator gives the command, the handler is required to stop, pick up the treat, and hand it to the evaluator.  The dog performed the “leave it” exercise beautifully, and the handler picked up the treat and promptly fed it to her dog!  The owner failed, but the dog passed. 

One day a man came with his wife’s dog to take the therapy test.  His wife wanted to do therapy work with the dog so she sent her husband to get the dog certified.  The husband was prepared to do the test until the evaluators explained that his WIFE had to take the test with the dog if SHE planned to be the handler on therapy visits. 

Then Sue and Kathy reminisced about the many dogs brought in for testing that are totally out of control. Lunging at the end of the leash, barking, jumping on people, or petrified in new surroundings.  The owners are often clueless about training and what is required of a therapy dog.  “But my dog LOVES people,” is the common refrain. 

Sue and Kathy patiently explain that a good therapy dog needs to be well socialized, confident, mannerly, and obedient. 

Those tales from a tester are ongoing and often provide the laughter to break the testing tension.  We look forward to more of these humorous stories as well as funny things that happen in the classrooms our therapy teams visit.