Thursday, July 7, 2011

Train-the-Trainer: Roll Call

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce the 2011 ECAD Train-the-Trainer class (drum roll, please):

Within about one hour of meeting Adam, he described his younger self to us as a self-defecating Jew.  Rest assured, though, folks, because there's really so much more to him than his self-defecation (no, those are not typos).  All of Adam's stories start with an unexpected and enticing premise like "when I was living on a Kibbutz in Israel..." or "when I was teaching art in Nantucket..." or "when I was working in an IT department in Norway...".  Seriously, he never ceases to pull out some new tidbit of expertise, wisdom, or insight based on his world travels and diverse 5-year career stints.  Of late, Adam is very interested in therapeutic horseback riding and would like to incorporate therapy dogs into this endeavor.

Hana is a very philosophical, insightful, gentle, kind, humble woman.  She is seriously, so, so kind.  She is the mother of identical twins who fall on the autism spectrum (interesting, though, for all you genetic nerds out there, on very different levels on the spectrum).  Hana is here at train-the-trainer without much dog experience and is really putting herself out there and trying to soak up as much information as she can.  She describes this opportunity has truly "right" for her and she feels like something is calling her to this.  Hana is quick to laugh and to compliment and she has an almost unnatural way of making me feel at ease.  She is very motherly towards me and it's remarkably comforting.  I think that her honest attitude will really help her when it comes to the dogs, and the dogs will definitely help build her confidence.  I can't wait to watch!

Ben is a marathon-runner, family-man, published author, dog lover (and yes, I hyperlinked his name, check it out).  He may or may not be working on a book about ECAD and about the human-dog relationship.  This may or may not mean that we are all on our best behavior for fear of our future published depiction (and because the tape-recording pen is turned on).  Ben is not staying in the house with the rest of us, which means that we haven't had as much of an opportunity to get to know him.  His presence in class is noted by his ability to ask the question that I want to ask before I even know I want to ask it. 

JP is one of the young veterans who has been volunteering at ECAD for a few months.  He sort of stumbled into the train-the-trainer course and is a great addition to our "litter".  He is a smart student and brings some of that "boot camp" mentality to dog training, which the dogs respond really well to.  JP also helps us understand what our clients, at least the veterans, may be dealing with and what these dogs can give to them.

And then there is me, the smart-ass, who got a 3-week head start learning this ECAD stuff and that's really just totally unfair.

All in all, it's a darn good group with a solid sense of humor, humility, and intelligence.  Thus far, I think we're really enjoying each others' company and learning a lot not only from our amazing instructors but from each other.

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