SIDNEY — A few years ago, avid animal lovers, Frank Fahrer and Dave Abbott were talking about their dogs and came up with the idea for Paws for Jesus.
Members of Sidney First United Methodist Church, they hold the dog obedience classes about four times a year with two in the spring and two in the fall in the Tabernacle at the church. The current one-hour class started on Nov. 3 and is held on Thursday nights for six weeks with 16 enthusiastic dogs and their owners.
Bonnie Deck opens each session with a prayer and, with help from Maxine Allen, is instructing the class. Deck says she puts up flyers at veterinary offices and a few other places around town, but word of mouth fills up the class. Shawn Hensley and his dog Zeva have attended several classes. He said the people are just so nice, that it was fun to keep coming back.
The scene is a mash of black, white, blond, grey, and brown with breeds and sizes from a little Yorky Poo to a waist-high Golden Doodle. The owners/trainers range from children to grandparents.
At each class, Deck gives tips on training, using leashes, barking dogs, food, and more. A new command is learned each week. Key words help dogs to understand better. Handlers use treats to reward the dogs and learn to calm them by rubbing between their eyes and on their chest. She also noted that beds and crates should not be used for punishment.
Current class members walked in the Winter Wonderland parade. Patience is key to training a dog. Add praise, love, and a prayer and your pet becomes family.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.