Chase Becomes a Therapy Dog

Back in March, we told you about a Portuguese Water Dog name Chase. He was diagnosed and treated for heartworm. It hasn’t been very long, but Chase’s incredible story continues!

Chase’s owners were not new to his breed. They lost their last Portuguese Water Dog Quinn in 2016. Like many people after losing a beloved pet, they said “No more dogs!” A year later they adopted Chase. This is a typical tail, but the rest of Chase’s story is far from typical!

I’ll let his mom Mari tell you more:

“We picked 4 year old Chase up at the kennel in June of 2017. The breeder said she had been too busy to get his records from the vet, and she would send them to us. After we had paid $1500 for him she said, ‘Oh, by the way, he had heartworm disease, but he’s fine now.’ Nope!”

Chase came in to see Dr. Scott, and she found that his heartworm disease was not gone at all. Part of the difficult and expensive treatment for heartworm is restricted activity, so as his mom says, “Instead of enjoying his new home, running and playing, he had to spend most of his waking hours in his crate…No walk longer than ‘to poop’! After months of treatment, I took him back to Oakview for a check-up and surprise, he had apparently been re-infected before he came to us and we started the process all over again!”

Chase had more issues than these! He was not housebroken, was underweight, and was very fearful of men. Poor Chase! Luckily, he was adopted by a very special family. Spoiling him quickly fixed his weight issue. The men in Mari’s neighborhood stepped up to help his fears. Armed with treats, they greeted him on every walk. After some time and patience, Chase grew to love all people! Now, several neighbors leave water dishes on their porches in case Chase stops by for a visit.

Chase’s confidence had improved, and his mom started to see his personality. Their last dog, Quinn, had been a certified therapy dog, so he could visit hospitals and nursing homes. Mari says, “I saw the potential in Chase as he began to heal. We began training and he passed the test the first time (Did I mention he is very smart?). He is now a member of Love on a Leash and we are visiting patients and residents twice a week.”

Therapy Dog - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI
Mari and Chase

Getting a dog certified to become a therapy dog is not an easy process. The dog and handler as a team have to pass a test. The test includes things like putting your dog in a sit stay and walking away for one minute. They have to demonstrate the “leave it” command by walking their dog past a bowl full of food that the dog is not allowed to taste. Also, the dog has to stay while his owner walks 20 feet away and not come until called. These are only a few examples! As you can imagine, this is a hard test for any dog! It is pretty amazing that they passed the first time!

Chase’s mom says, “Lessons learned: patience was a huge factor, along with total trust in all the staff at Oakview. We are forever grateful to the entire team. And understanding Chase’s history after cleaning the carpets three times.



Chase is worth it all!”


Written by Karen Russell and Emily Karpinski

Oakview Veterinary Medical Center is a progressive clinic located in Plover, WI. Our veterinarians and staff have lots of wisdom and personal stories to share. We are friendly, compassionate, and engaged with all species!

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