One of the things I've learned over the years in my job is that you have to be flexible when doing presentations. Sometimes training demonstrations with dogs don't go as planned, sometimes kids ask questions that take you off track, and sometimes things happen that end up being a really great education opportunity.
Yesterday I participated in a High Interest Day at St. John Vianney School in Brookfield. Whether they're called High Interest Day, Try-It Day, or Kid's Choice Day (depending on the school) -- they are very popular this time of year. The school brings a variety of presenters in on topics as varied as karate, rock climbing, baking, criminal forensics, and pets. The idea is to give kids a way to try new things and perhaps find where their interests may take them.
This year St. John Vianney asked me to talk about pet care to three different groups of kids. As we were playing a pet care game some of the kids were petting Mystic, and interrupted me to ask about a bump they'd found near his ear. Thinking it was an irritation left over from the tick I had removed the day before I told them not to worry about it. But they were insistant that it was huge and I should look at it.
It turned out to be a dog tick -- already dead because I treat Mystic with Frontline. As I removed the tick I talked about how pet ownership sometimes involves doing something unpleasant - such as pulling out a tick. Then I talked about the fact that Mystic is treated with Frontline -- which is a tick and flea preventative and the fact that dogs can get Lyme disease from ticks.
Of course pulling a tick from Mystic wasn't part of my presentation, but what a great opportunity to show them one of the more unpleasant sides of pet ownership!
That same day I had another opporunity. Three years ago at a different school's High Interest Day I trained Mystic to "play the piano". I haven't had him around a piano since -- so when I saw that there was a piano in the room where I was working with the kids I decided to see if he still remembered how to do it. You can see the results in the video below.