Congratulations are very much in order for the subject of this week’s Pup, Close and Purrsonal. David McAndrews, Development Analyst at Corporate, is a new husband and new dad of Sparky, a 3-year-old, boxer-beagle mix who is as smart as canines come.
David’s wife, Anna, adopted Sparky from Young-Williams Animal Center, Knox County’s animal shelter, when he was a puppy and started his training with basic obedience. Sit, stay and heal was a breeze for the bright pupil so Anna, a firefighter, taught Sparky to stop, drop and roll so he could assist with her fire prevention outreach duties.
Dressed as a firefighter, Sparky accompanies Anna to area schools and demonstrates how to stop, drop and roll. The kids love him, of course, and Sparky enjoys all the attention and the hugs and pets, David says.
Sparky is so well-behaved he can sit with his human friends at a tea party and won’t touch his food until he is told he can. He also has learned to press a buzzer when he needs something. Usually, it is to retrieve his ball when it rolls under the sofa out of his reach. Sparky loves to play hide and seek, using his keen sense of smell to find the ball or dad.
When they were training Sparky to track scents, Anna dropped David off at a large public park and drove away with Sparky in the car. David walked for about three to four minutes across a large field and hid. Anna then returned to the spot where she let David out and gave Sparky the command to track him. It didn’t take Sparky long.
“He was so happy and proud of himself to find me,” says David, adding that Anna didn’t give Sparky any clues. Sparky’s list of dog training certifications is impressive and includes the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen, Community Canine, Rally Dog, Trick Dog and Therapy Dog. While proud of Sparky’s accomplishments, David says seeing people enjoy his tricks and the joy he brings everyone is by far the family’s greatest reward.
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