If everyone loves a dog story, then what happened on June 11 at the Jennie Clarkson Campus in West Harrison of St. Christopher’s Inc., should bring smiles to a multitude of faces. The Dobbs Ferry-based nonprofit, which helps special-needs children and their families, joined with United States Canine Scent Sports (USCSS) and the Bandilane Canine Center in Stamford to stage a “mock scent trial.” This is where canines of various sizes and abilities participate in exercises that test and help develop their natural instincts to hunt, search and find objects by scent. About 20 pooches took part.
The atmosphere at St. Christopher’s for the mock trial was relaxed and included games for novice and experienced dogs and their handlers. As in the intense competitions, the participants were encouraged to discriminate among various scents and find where things were hidden strictly by following one’s nose.
Staging the canine event on its Clarkson Campus was a reflection of the seriousness with which St. Christopher’s has welcomed animal-assisted therapy into the emotional, behavioral and educational support programs it offers its clients.