Blitz is a goldendoodle, a dog crossbred from a golden retriever and a standard poodle. Tami Lemley said her original goal was to teach Blitz obedience, but when she decided to start training him to be a therapy dog, he was a natural.
The 7-year-old has earned numerous titles through the American Kennel Club, including his Rally Excellent Title. AKC Rally is a companion sport that requires teamwork between dog and handler, along with performance skills similar to obedience. He also has his Canine Good Citizen certificate.
Earlier this month, he was recognized by the American Kennel Club as an Achiever Dog and also received his Therapy Dog Excellent title, medal and patch.
Lemley, a dispatcher with the Cloverdale Police Department, and Blitz, have been a volunteer dog team in the Animal Assisted Activity Program of the Humane Society of Sonoma County since 2012. They visit a Healdsburg senior center every other week and are on call to visit hospice patients throughout the county. Each July, they participate in Boost Camp, a conductive education program through United Cerebral Palsy of the North Bay.
Blitz is a Reading Dog in the Read to a Dog program, and he and Lemley regularly visit a first-grade class in Healdsburg where students take turns reading to him. He also fills in at libraries, when needed.
The team participates in a seasonal humane education camp program for elementary age youth at the Humane Society where campers can work with well-trained dogs and learn how to take care of them.
After the fires, they twice visited Schaefer Elementary School in the Coffey Park neighborhood to help welcome students back and offer emotional support.
It is not all work and no play, though.
Blitz and his companion dog, Lah Dee, were “Mr. and Miss January” in the 2018 Doodle calendar. In 2013, he was “Mr. April” and his image can be found on greeting cards and magnets.