Kaiser's Pavilion

by Bensiamin

Chapter 11

JC drove down from Seattle on Sunday, arriving in the afternoon, and everyone was as excited to see him as he was to be in Portland with them. It was a cool and moist day but not raining, and David and Jackson had organized a barbecue. They were going to eat on the back porch with the dogs, but it was cool enough that they moved inside. The dinner conversation got them all caught up on the past few months. JC was full of questions about the fundraising event, how they'd planned it and got it organized, and acted impressed. His plan was to spend time with a realtor during the week looking at houses, and Jackson had taken a week's vacation so he could spend time with his dad and be available to help with the details for the fundraiser.

The team met at the Y in the middle of the afternoon on Monday. It was pretty deserted since it was spring break and all the daily events had been suspended for the week. Andrea, the therapy dog program manager pulled up shortly after Matt and Jerrod eased their cars into the parking lot, and after unloading Kaiser and Chloe, Jerrod introduced everyone. When they walked inside Jerrod said, "Well, we know what we want to do, but how are we going to do it?"

Following a little chatter, Jerrod turned to Andrea and said, "You should probably take over and describe how the dog rodeo is going to work. Jessica is a coach and she's kind of organized the basketball part, so it looks to me that you guys are kind of in charge."

He looked at Matt for confirmation, and received a subtle smile and a nod. Andrea explained how they'd set up a Beginner event and then the Advanced dog course. She asked for the Chloe's leash and walked back and forth cross court first and said the Beginners competition would go back and forth. Then she walked around the half court with Kaiser, covering the approximate layout of the Advanced course. Then she smiled at them all and said, "Having these two here was a real help. You can see we have enough space, and we should be able to set up a nice course for both levels." She then turned to Jessica's and added, "Over to you, Jessica, for the coach's outline on the basketball."

Jessica explained the rationale for the half-court game, how it would be limited to fifteen minutes, and how she'd recruited another student at PSU to coach. "I'm going to coach one team, and Walt will coach the other. We decided it was important to have a coach for each team to stay on top of everything, make sure everyone gets to play and that no one gets hurt."

Matt was beaming with pride and Roger said, "Good for you Jessica. I'm impressed. Very well thought out."

Jessica blushed and then added, "We've talked to all the kids who are playing, and we've arranged for two practices this week, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Each team will have a half court and that'll get them used to each of us coaches and how the half-court game works. Some may not be familiar with the different rules. They'll also get used to playing with the other kids on their team. Anyway, the plan for the event is that we'll have the 15-minute game, there'll be a winning team, and we'll acknowledge that, but mainly the goal is to acknowledge all the kids that played because they are or were recently patients and now, they're playing ball again. Then we'll have the free throw competition."

"How will that work? Does everyone get two shots?"

"No, Kim. Foul shots that generate free throws are either one or two possible points, right? For this competition each person that wants to compete gets ten shots. Walt and I will be below the net and feeding the ball back to them. Highest score wins. It's pretty simple."

Andrea looked at Jessica and said, "If I can ask a question, why are you having a free throw competition since you've just had an exhibition game."

Jessica smiled and said, "Because these are former patients and some current outpatients, like Sean. Some still have limited function. Some like Nate or Michael are only a year or two from major orthopedic surgery or cancer therapy but are pretty well back to normal. So, we can't assume they'll all be able to play on the same level in the exhibition game. We figured this might give those kids with some functional limitation a different way to shine."

Andrea grinned back at her. "I like that idea. Very thoughtful. It'd be like us having Beginner and Advanced categories." She looked at Nate and Michael, who were standing together holding hands and asked, "What do you think about that idea?"

Nate said, "I'm the one that had the hip surgery, so I get it. It was a year and a half ago now for me, but I knew I had to be real careful coming back and I'm still cautious. I never really played basketball, but I'm pretty functional, so I'll kind of have an unfair advantage."

Michael grinned and then added, "It took me four to six months to fully recover from the chemo. Meaning it took that long to get all my strength and endurance back. So, this approach makes sense. It's a short game, the players can be rotated, and hopefully no one gets overworked. I grew up on a ranch and never had much time for sports, so I've never played basketball either. I'm pretty fit but I'm sure I'll be a total spaz!"

Andrea smiled at both boys and said, "I'm sure both of you will do just fine." Then she looked over at Jerrod and Roger. "How's Kaiser doing? Will he be able to compete?"

They both shook their heads and Roger said, "No, he's still in the shoulder brace and the vet says he's got to go another month on limited activity. He keeps telling us we can't rush it and risk screwing it up."

Andrea and Jessica looked at each other and both smiled and nodded as if they agreed they both had their parts under control. Andrea then turned to Jerrod and Roger and said, "I understand you have an auctioneer for the actual auction part. Who is going to be your master of ceremonies? The one who welcomes everyone and introduces each event?"

Roger and Jerrod blankly looked at each other and then the rest of the team before saying, "I don't know. We haven't thought of that. Do you think we need one?"

"Absolutely! You must have an MC, so the audience knows what's happening and what's coming up."

Jerrod glanced at Matt who said, "Why not Jackson? He's been involved in the petitions and getting the auction items and meeting with the hospital, so he sure knows what's going on." Jerrod looked around for agreement and everyone was smiling or nodding their head in agreement.

As the week unfolded it was a mix of event planning and enjoying the vacation from school. David, Roger and Jerrod were getting updates from JC and Jackson each evening about the kinds of houses they were seeing, what other neighborhoods and communities looked like, and how far away they were. The group heard from Jessica and from Nate and Michael that the Tuesday and then the Thursday practice sessions had gone off well, and that most importantly all the parents got all the players to the Y for practice. They also learned that Michael and Nate would be on opposing teams, which made sense, and Sean was on the same team as Nate.

On Wednesday afternoon Jackson received a call from the Director of Administration. After saying hello, he went on, "I'm calling to let you know that I met with our Public Relations department, as I told you I would, and I also had a meeting with a couple of our senior administrators to apprise them your undertaking. The general agreement is that we don't want to appear to sponsor or endorse an outside event of this nature, but given that it is for patients and the therapy dog program, it would be best for all of us if the hospital was represented."

"That sounds positive," Jackson replied. "So, what happens on Friday?"

"Our public relations director will be there for the event along with at least one of his staff people. That means we'll have a presence and be able to take photos."

"Good, and when either of them are approached by the press, what's the planned messaging strategy?"

"That this is an independent undertaking, a highly commendable one, and that we are present to show our support."

"Does that mean we're on the same team?"

"Well, let me say, as you and Warren did to me last week, that what we're all looking for here is a win/win outcome."

"Good enough. I look forward to meeting your PR people on Friday. I'm sure they'll have a good time. Tell them to bring money since the third part of the event is an auction!"

The team had a brief status check meeting on Thursday evening, and after reviewing the event schedule, felt they were pretty well organized. Jessica looked at Jerrod and said, "Mom wants to make sure we have poop bags and clean up gear in case of accidents." He grinned back and said, "Under control. Trust me, I didn't forget your mom's comments about cleaning up accidents promptly!"

They all walked out to the front yard together after the meeting and Matt was dropping Nate and Michael at home before he and Jessica went out. "Michael and I are going to hang out with Stewart and Logan tonight. I want them to meet my boyfriend."

Jerrod grinned at him and then at Michael. "Go, cowboy! Have a good time and say hi to them for us."

The fundraising event was scheduled to being at 5:00 PM, and got started just about on time since there reduced Friday night traffic with spring break going on. A minute later, Jackson stepped to the microphone and welcomed everyone to the event, and then gave a brief rundown. "You are all here because you either were a patient at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, or you are family of patients there, or because you are part of the therapy dog or a related program there. Our goal here tonight is to have a good time, show how capable the therapy dogs are, let you see how committed and able the basketball players are, and to raise funds to advance the therapy dog program at the hospital. As most of you know, as part of the current construction project at the hospital the pavilion that the dogs and their handlers use to rest the dogs was kind of left out."

He paused and a huge kind of moan rose from the audience. "I hear you," he said, "but never fear! More importantly, it wasn't just me that heard you, but a group of high school and college students. Some of them are former patients, some current patients, some dog handlers, some just friends who care, and these young people organized this event."

He paused again and a wave of clapping and approval went through the audience.

"So, let me ask you a question. Should the dog pavilion be replaced?"

A huge roar of hooting shaped around the word 'Yes' rose up.

"And you're here to be part of that effort?"

Another roar of hooting around the word 'Yes' filled the auditorium.

"And you're going to make this event a financial success?"

A third roar rose up, and Jackson was beaming. As the auditorium quieted again, he went on. "Thank you for that commitment and for the concern and emotion behind it. For the record I need to tell you that this little undertaking is not a hospital project. It's an independent undertaking to raise the necessary funds to make sure the old pavilion is replaced. But you should also know that we've met with hospital administration and that some hospital staff are here because they support this effort." He paused again and looked across the audience on both sides of the basketball court. It suddenly dawned on him that he was looking at well over two hundred people. He swallowed and continued, "So, somewhere in the audience are representatives from the hospital. Will you stand, please, and let us all know where you are?"

Two people, one with two cameras around his neck, stood up and waved. "There they are folks. Your representatives from the hospital. Give them a big hand." A wave of applause filled the auditorium and the two hospital people waved and sat down.

Jerrod leaned over to Roger and said softly, "That's the best example of co-opting I've ever seen! How can they do anything but support this now?"

"Looks pretty damn hard to me," Roger replied.

Jackson went on to outline the program and then introduced Andrea who explained how the therapy dog rodeo would work. "These aren't show dogs, or working dogs trained for agility courses," she began," but they all have very high aptitudes, or they wouldn't be such great therapy dogs for all of you." She waved her arms across the audience, encompassing all the current and former patients sitting on the bleachers. "So, we thought we'd create a little program for the younger dogs and another more complicated one for the more experienced dogs that show you they can do other things." She grinned conspiratorially and then went on, "At least we think they can. Their handlers signed up to be part of this program, but none of them and their dogs know the individual elements. The point is to have fun and show you how great these dogs are."

She then explained the Beginner versus the Advanced categories and explained that the Beginner category would have two parts and begin with a test of one of the most fundamental skills all therapy dogs need, the ability to follow a Sit/Stay command. With that she walked to the out of bounds line on one side of the court, turned to the nine handlers with their younger dogs and said, "Please bring your dogs up to the line." The dogs and handlers moved to form a line on either side of her.

Jerrod gave Roger a quick hug and said, "Go, selle and Chloe." They joined the other dogs and handlers standing in place.

After making sure all were in place, Andrea turned to the audience and said, "This basketball court is just about fifty feet wide, and these may be young dogs, but they are all actively involved in therapy and should have mastered basic commands." She turned back to the handlers and said, "Please have your dog sit and stay."

A hum of sound rose up from the handlers as they said "Sit/Stay" and gently tugged on their dog's leash. All the dogs sat quite quickly, and then Andrea said, "Unleash your dogs." There was a rustle of noise as all handlers did so and were standing next to their dogs that no longer had their leashes connected. Then Andrea said, "Leave your dogs and walk to the opposite side of the court. You may give one more command if you need to."

There was a murmur as some handlers softly said "Stay," and then they all quietly started to walk away, heading across the court. All the dogs were intently watching their handlers as they departed. By the time the handlers were halfway across it was clear a couple of the dogs were getting nervous. They were looking around, and one stood up but stayed in place.

The handlers all reached the other side of the court and turned to look back at their dogs. The auditorium was quiet, and all eyes were on the dogs. Then second nervous dog stood up, looking from side to side, not sure what was going on.

No one knew how long Andrea planned on having the Sit/Stay test last, but it was only five seconds after the handlers turned to face back towards their dogs that the first nervous dog whined and then started walking across the court toward its handler. The crowd groaned and the dog's handler softly said, "Rocky, stay!" The dog slowed and stopped.

Five seconds later the second nervous dog tried to join the first, but was brought up short by the handler saying, "Sugar, stay!" The audience groan this time was even louder, and the displeasure was evident on the handler's face. However, both dogs stayed in place after being told to stay, seemingly content that they'd reconnected with their handlers. Andrea waited five more seconds as an air of expectancy grew, and then Andrea said to the handlers, "Call your dogs."

Each handler did, almost simultaneously in what sounded like a lot of conflicting noise, and the dogs started trotting towards their handlers. Suddenly, though, it became apparent that it wasn't going to go quite as expected. Four of the dogs had decided that a straight line to their handler wasn't as interesting as crossing over to check out another dog on the way, and maybe playing around a little. How often did they get to run around with other therapy dogs like this any way?

Jerrod watched the chaos start and groaned inwardly. He knew they'd worked hard on Sit/Stays with Chloe as part of retrieving the ball with Sean, and she always came straight back. But that was always alone… not with other dogs in the mix. He was thrilled, though, when Chloe was one of the five dogs that didn't get disrupted and went straight to Roger, who immediately knelt and pulled her into a warm and affirming hug.

The audience cheered, then groaned as they watched, and then much of it turned into laughter as the handlers of the four dogs in the mix up called to their dogs and to get them back on track. The mini chaos was quickly resolved, and the audience gave a huge sigh of relief when all the dogs reached their handlers.

Andrea looked at the handlers and their dogs and said, 'Thank you for your fine effort." Then she turned to the audience and said, "What you've just seen illustrates how important training is. Even the most highly trained dog can become distracted. When dogs are working with patients, that is something we try to keep to a minimum. And remember, these are inexperienced dogs working in a brand new environment."

She looked back over at the handlers and asked, "Are you ready for the retrieve test?" She got a mix of nods and verbal responses and then said to the audience, "The second element is a retrieve test, which isn't a usual part of therapy work, but it is a fun exercise and still a very good skill for dogs to have."

Jerrod, who was immensely pleased with Chloe's performance said under his breath, "It is a standard play-training exercise we use with Chloe," and wondered how it would work.

Andrea went on, "Each handler and dog will come out to the free throw line where I will give them one of these." She held up a sand-filled square bag. "The handler will have their dog sit, then toss the bag below the basket and give the retrieve command."

The first few dogs retrieving their bags did fine. Some were faster, some slower, but they all did as expected, retrieving the bag and bringing it back to their handler. Each time they received a huge round of applause from the audience. When it was Chloe's turn, she was sitting alert and primed right next to Roger, the way she would at the park. Roger showed her the bag, then tossed it right below the basket. He waited a second and then said loudly, "Chloe, go get it."

Chloe took off, and was right on the bag. As she turned with it in her mouth to return, though, the unexpected happened. One of the dogs on the sideline barked and she turned her head to look. The dog stood up with its tail wagging.

On the sideline, Jerrod silently said to himself, "Oh, no! Chloe, no!" He heard the audience groan.

But it was too late. The two dogs had established eye contact and Chloe stopped. Roger was mortified and sharply said, "Chloe, come!"Chloe looked back and him, then over to the dog, and finally back to Roger and refocused. Then she quickly trotted over to him. When Roger looked at Andrea, she said into the microphone, "Life is full of surprise, even with basic skills. That was a perfect example of the importance of regular training, because distractions can and do happen." She turned to Roger and said, "Let Chloe know she didn't do a bad job."

Roger knelt down and then stroked her head her head and said softly, "We'll do better next time," he softly said, and then clipped on her leash and led her across the court to a round of applause from the audience.

As it turned out, one other dog had the same kind of experience as Chloe, and after all the dogs and their handlers had assembled on the sideline where they'd started, Andrea said to the audience, "How great was that?"

The roar of applause and approval was massive, and then she went on, "I would remind you that this is the Beginner competition, and these are all young dogs, but I bet some of you are wondering 'who won?' Well, the answer to that is simple. They all won. They're all wonderful young therapy dogs and they all do superbly at their core task which is to provide dog therapy to patients." She paused again as she looked around the audience. "Do you agree?"

Another roar of applause and approval filled the auditorium, and she thanked the dogs, the handlers and the audience.

When the Beginner dogs had left, she turned back to the audience and said, "Now we have a group of

Advanced therapy dogs. Meaning that they're older and have much more experience in the hospital environment that can be filled with surprises. Surprises like patients in the hall in wheelchairs, hospital beds and equipment, new staff, new floors. All of that kind of stuff."

As she was speaking Jerrod, Eric, Kim, Matt, Nate, and Michael were pulling various elements out onto the court and setting up a course. Andrea was a natural with a crowd and asked, "Are we having fun? Is everyone enjoying this so far?"

As expected, she was met with a huge response of applause, hoots and hollers and foot stomping.

She grinned widely, then continued. "Apart from disposition one of the most important traits for therapy dogs is the ability to handle surprises. They don't do agility course work, but we've got a little course here to test two things. First, how do they handle these new elements? You can see it's set up like a U with three sides. On the first there's a row of poles they have to thread. That's kind of like walking between staff or equipment on a busy floor. On the second side is a large tube they have to walk through. That's kind of like going into a new area of the hospital and having to trust their handler. Then, finally, there's a ramp they have to go up and over that get's them back to the start. That's kind of like getting on or off the elevator or negotiating an obstacle in a hallway. Do you see what we're trying to test?"

She got another round of agreement and then added, "But here's the fun part. Not only haven't the dogs seen this course before, neither have their handlers, but they have to do it without a leash. In other words, they have to follow their handler's commands as they face these challenges that will be completely new to them."

She turned to look, and all the Advanced dogs and handlers were lined up ready to go "Are you ready?"

She got a round of nods and agreements, and then turned back to the audience and said, "Are you ready?" That got a huge round of applause, and Andrea then beckoned the first handler and dog to the starting line.

Jerrod had walked up to Suzanne and Rufus, the handler and dog that he and Roger had met when they brought Kaiser to see if he'd qualify for therapy dog work. She smiled at him as he approached, and he knelt to scratch behind Rufus' ears. "I'm so glad you're here with Rufus."

"Are you kidding? We wouldn't miss this for the world. What you young people are doing is amazing. Not just the fundraising part, but showing off the dogs and the patients tonight." Jerrod smiled back at her and gave the dog a little hug and said, "Now, you do what you're told to on the course, Rufus!"

They heard Andrea announce the first handler and dog as ready to go, and he stood next to Suzanne to watch.

"Normally, in an agility event," Andrea said, "in addition to completing the course with no errors, the run would be timed. We're not doing that tonight because this event is supposed to show how well handler and dog work together, and we already know that they're all winners!" She turned to the first competitors. "Are you ready?"

The handler nodded, and Andrea said, "Unleash your dog," and when done she blew her whistle, and off they went, first approaching a row of poles spaced four feet apart. Suzanne said softly to Jerrod, "In an agility competition those poles would be a lot closer together, but the dog would be trained to weave them." Jerrod just nodded and then watched the handler trying to get the dog to negotiate the poles. He was smart enough to have told the dog to heel, and they were approaching the poles side by side with the handler using his arm and hand to point a serpentine pathway through the poles. The dog missed the first two, but then got the idea and wove through the next four. Then it was down to the tube.

"That straight tube looks easy to us, because it's not that long, but to a dog it's like us looking into a long dark railroad tunnel. On top of that, it's only two feet high," Suzanne said, "and a few of these taller dogs aren't just going to be dealing with a new obstacle where they wonder what's at the end, but be rubbing their backs on the top as they go through. That'll be fun to watch."

It suddenly dawned on Jerrod what she meant. The first dog was a smaller Labrador Retriever, and while being the right height, there was still a large round opening that the dog could see into as it approached. As they approached it was clear the handler was trying to determine the best way to handle it, and the dog was staring with some concern. "The tube element is going to be harder than I thought, that's for sure," he said to Suzanne.

"I'm betting a few dogs will freeze or bolt, especially if they've never seen something like this in a playground or something".

That's what happened with the first dog. The handler had him stop and stay at the entrance and then began to walk to the far end. The dog watched his handler and when he was called, he simply trotted around the outside of the tunnel to huge groans from the crowd. The handler was a little exasperated and walked the Lab back to the entrance, dropped on her hands and knees and crawled into the tunnel calling the dog. The dog hesitated, clearly concerned, but this time did follow his handler through. When they came out the other end, the dog was bouncing around the handler, clearly proud he'd completed the task. She, in turn, complimented the dog with a few pats and they headed for the ramp. The handler pointed and said, "Up," and the dog went up and over with no issues. When they reached the starting point, a huge round of applause went up from the audience.

"That was good thinking," Jerrod said to Suzanne, "don't you think?"

"Very creative thinking, but there's probably a better way. Hopefully Rufus doesn't have a problem and freeze at the entrance."

Jerrod felt Roger slide up next to him as he said, "You and Rufus will do fine." Roger smiled hello to Suzanne, and they turned to watch the competition. The next dog completed all the elements, but literally had to be coaxed through the poles and over the ramp and again the handler had to crawl through the tunnel to get the dog to follow. Still, the dog completed the course, showing that he could handle a series of unknown challenges. The next two dogs had problems, the first with the pole weaving which she kept trying to run out of, and the second with the tunnel which he would not enter, even when the handler tried crawling through ahead of him. The audience was very supportive but enjoyed the humor of the moment and laughed uproariously when both struggled with their elements.

Suzanne and Rufus were next up, and she did something different after Andrea blew her whistle. She knelt down next to Rufus, stroking his back with one hand while soothingly speaking to him and pointing to each of the three obstacles. Jerrod could imagine her explaining each one to him, how to handle it, and that he should just pace himself and he'd do fine. There was a chant of "Go Rufus" from one side of the auditorium , and then it grew silent and expectant. Suzanne then stood up and took a step forward and said, "Rufus, heel." He followed closely and as she approached the first pole in the line, she had him halt next to her leg and pointed her hand on the outside of the pole and said "walk on" as she walked off. He followed her cue. She then pointed her hand on the inside of the next pole, and he likewise followed her hand signals. She continued and they were through the poles with no misses.

As they approached the tunnel, she slowed and again said "Heel," and he moved close to her side. At the entrance to the tunnel she said, "Rufus, Sit." He immediately sat down and then Suzanne said "Down," and he went into a down stay and watched attentively as she walked to the end of the tunnel.

Then she turned and knelt in front of the exit and Jerrod could see her establish eye contact with Rufus through the length of the tunnel. His tail was wagging slowly. She excitedly called him to come, and he went forward into the entrance, paused for just a second as if wondering about this unusual, enclosed space, but then trotted happily on. There was a gasp from the crowd when he paused and then as he disappeared from sight, and then a round of applause and cheers as he appeared out of the end and stepped up to lick Suzanne's face.

Suzanne gave him a quick pat, then turned to the final obstacle and told him to heel. They approached the ramp, and she did the same Sit/Stay routine again and then pointed up the ramp and said, "Rufus, up and over." He proudly trotted up and then down the other side. The audience had been holding their breath, and then broke out in wild acclaim and applause.

Suzanne proudly called Rufus to her side and praised him, and then walked back to stand next to Jerrod and Roger. Jerrod said, "What a dog," and Roger added, "What a handler!"

Now that their performance was over, Suzanne said, "Where are Chloe and Kaiser?"

"They're with David. We didn't want them to be a distraction." Suzanne nodded and smiled knowingly.

The next dog gave the audience the laugh of the night because her handler had her do a down/stay at the entrance like Rufus had. She then walked to the exit where she called her dog. The dog entered the tunnel when called by her handler, but then the audience heard the handler say, "Brandy, no. Stop." Brandy then reappeared, coming out of the same entrance and merrily trotted around the tube and over to her handler.

And so it went. Most dogs managed to complete the course, more or less. None as well as Rufus, though. When all the competitors were done, Andrea thanked each of the handlers and their dogs for such a superlative effort, and as she turned to the audience, she heard a noise coming from down the sideline. She stopped and looked to try and understand what it was, only to realize it was a chant coming from a number of patients and former patients. Her forehead wrinkled as she processed what they were saying, and when she realized they were chanting, "Kaiser… Kaiser."

Jerrod and Roger had heard it, too, and looked at each other in disbelief. Suzanne was watching and as the chant quieted, she said, "Why are you surprised? Kaiser has his fans, just like Rufus does!"

"Yeah, but they're not supposed to make a scene and…" His sentence was cut short by Andrea on the microphone. "For all you kids chanting for Kaiser, thanks a lot. He loves you too. He can't compete tonight because he had an injury a while ago, but he's here with you in spirit."

There was applause, followed by more chanting of Kaiser's name. It was clear that the chanting group wasn't going to stop. That's when Jerrod spotted Sean in the middle of the group! He looked at Roger with a questioning expression. Roger's response was, "I don't know what to do. They love Kaiser. We can't just shut them down."

The problem was solved when David appeared at their side and held Kaiser's leash out for them. "Do a quick walk for them and that'll take care of it." They did, walking Kaiser out to mid-court on his leash, showing off his shoulder brace, while Andrea said, "Okay, for those of you who are Kaiser fans, you can see he's wearing a shoulder brace and that's why he can't compete. But he's here, and he appreciates your affection and support for him and all the other competitors."

She paused for the expected applause, and then continued with what she'd planned to say before the disruption. "First, thanks to all the dogs and handlers that participated in our therapy dog rodeo. They were all good sports about it, not having trained for these tests or knowing how the dogs would react to them, but they did it for you! Second, for those of you still wondering who won each competition. The answer is easy: they all won, and you all won, because you saw them happily take on new challenges that illustrate why they're so good at what they do as therapy dogs with patients at the hospital. Thanks for your support. How about one more round of applause for these wonderful dogs and their handlers!"

Andrea then handed the microphone back to Jackson who let everyone know that it would take a few minutes to remove the dog competition elements, and then the exhibition basketball game would begin!

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