Chesabar's Dashin Sailor Boy, CD, CGC, TDI

(Ch. Chesabar's Star of Obadiahs, CD, WD x Ch. Chesabar's Courtney)

DASHER was my first chessie and I am so glad to have had him.  He is the main reason for my love of the breed.  Dasher excelled in anything I asked of him.  

He achieved a High in Trial placement when he was only 15months old, but his greatest gift to us was his unwaivering love, loyalty and devotion, and his kindness to strangers.   RIP my beloved Dasher (4/3/1993 - 11/7/2006).  Following is an article I wrote for our club bulletin back in 1998.



A DOG-FOR-ALL-AGES
by Marty Smith

Written for and published in the Jan/Feb 1998 edition of

The American Chesapeake Club Bulletin, Vol. 98, No. 1 

A gentle giant that will heel with a toddler; an able athlete that will play soccer with adolescents; a wonderful companion at home, and a loving Therapy Dog for the lonely-hearted -- that's Dasher, a 4 1/2 year old male Chessie!

I want to share with fellow Chessie owners some of the experiences Dasher and I had in 1997 with our Therapy Dog work. Dasher has been an active Therapy Dog and certified with Therapy Dogs International (TDI) since 1994, but 1997 was a year of which we are especially proud. Dasher has continued to amaze me with his keen ability to "read" people and act accordingly.

Most of our weekly visits are with the elderly at the Hamilton Continuing Care Center (NJ) and we occasionally visit the Eastern Mountain Youth Lodge (Adolescent Unit) at the Carrier Clinic (NJ). If you have any doubt what-so-ever about the ability of a dog to touch the lonely or unloved, here is only one example of the many stories I could tell.

Recently during a visit to the Hamilton Continuing Care Center, we were asked to make a special visit with a new resident. Verna had been at the Center for less than two weeks. She was by all means deaf, confined to a wheelchair and mourning the loss of not only her home and freedom, but her beloved cat and dog (they had been placed in a good home). She was so depressed, the aides and nurses could barely get her to eat, let alone venture out of ther room. When Dasher and I first walked in Verna's room, she was sitting in her wheelchair, slumped over with her head resting on the bed table. The aide and I walked up and tapped her on the shoulder, she shrugged and moaned something ineligble. We tapped her shoulder again. This time she looked first at me, expressionless, but then she eventually looked a bit over and slightly to my right at Dasher. All of a sudden, her eyes lit up and a smile came to her face as she cried "Oh doggie!" Upon hearing this (to Dasher an open invitation), Dasher immediately walked over to her, leaned against her legs and rested his head in her lap for what seemed like an eternity while she loved him up (or as the case would be, he loved her up).

After Verna had her fill of loving, she looked back to me and told me of her pets and how she missed them so. Now remember, part of our msision was to get Verna out of her room. After some rudimentary hand signals and gestures, we communicated to Verna that Dasher needed to go for a walk. We gave her the leash, Dasher walked out in front of her (he seemed to know what to do) and I pushed her wheelchair from behind. The aide and I held our breath waiting for an objection that was not to come. We walked around the facility visiting for nearly an hour. Verna beaming with pride to have such a grand dog and, oh, all that attention. Since that day, Verna is doing well and we visit with her often.

I hope this simple, short story will encourage other Chessie owners to share these exceptionally intuitive dogs with others.

Because of Dasher's outstanding volunteer efforts, we were nominated for and won an Employee Volunteer Award sponsored by the company I work for, Bristol-Myers Squibb. The really special thing about this award was that it included a $1,000 donation to Therapy Dogs International (and a very nice certificate to Dasher from the CEO). In addition, this award led to a little blurb in our Company newsletter and a part for Dasher in an Inter-Company video about the difference one person (or dog in this case) can make in their community. They highlighted Therapy Dog visits and I spoke briefly about TDI. Since then, I have received several inquiries from within the Company from people who want to become involved with Therapy Dog work. I, of course, give all the credit to Dasher, where it belongs. He has proved to be a wonderful ambassador for the Breed, TDI, and all "Good" dogs in general. It's funny, but my admiration for Dasher grows every year - as he continually demonstrates, over and over again, his capacity to bring joy to the lives of all he meets.

Dasher has also excelled in the Obedience ring, earning his CD at just 18 months old with 3 scores in the 190's!

In the process, he accumulated a High in Trial (198 1/2) at the 1994 Burlington County Kennel Club match, 4th Place and High Chessie in Novice B (194 1/2) at the 1994 ACC supported South Jersey Kennel Club Show, High Chessie in Trial (193 1/2) at the 1994 ACC supported Kennel Club of Philadelphia Show, and several other class placements.

  

As for 1998, Dasher and I plan to continue our Therapy Dog visits and have also started training with a Flyball team.



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