Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cooper goes to College

Cooper went to College yesterday.  I was asked to speak to a class at UW-Oshkosh where the students are to find topics that interest them about dogs, and write about them.  Because there was reportedly a wide range of interests I said I would answer whatever questions they had and let them steer the conversation.  So, I introduced myself and my experience and opened it up for questions.  Nothing.  Zip, nada, zero.  I spent the remainder of the time doing free association, asking the students what their topics were and addressing those.  In the meantime, I was pondering the wisdom of having Cooper as a side-kick because the kids just wanted to pet him!  He is an entertaining fellow, and highly social.  Several times he leaped from a stand still onto the table, and they enjoyed watching his tug play.  I was able to point out that I could command him from a whisper and that dogs actually can hear without being yelled at!  We never did address what he does (Urban Search and Rescue) at any length, despite the fact that the professor had advised several students were interested in 9-11 and the search dogs there.  I was prepared to talk about some of the associated scams, as well.  In the end, they may only remember that there was a cool, friendly dog in the class room but I hope they left with a wee bit more knowledge about dogs and training, or a spark of interest in learning more.   Someone commented, "so it was a waste of time?"  No, it was not.  I never consider it a waste of time if I have the opportunity to leave one person with a desire to learn more, or put to rest some myths about dogs and training.  If I can influence one person, they can share and the circle widens. I might never know that I reached someone with my presentation, so it cannot even be weighed by immediate feedback (though I do love that!). Mr Cooper was happy to travel with me and meet new people, and he was a wonderful ambassador.  It's all good, but P.S.- could you please give Cooper an honorary degree?