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Tag: calendar

Mister September and Henry Higgins


That’s my dad, featured for the month of September, in the 2014 Caring Canines Calendar.

Produced by the AMDA Foundation, the calendar features 12 outstanding therapy pets from across the country, pictured with those with whom they work and for whom they provide companionship.

The therapy pictured dog with my 89-year-old dad is Henry Higgins, who works where my father now resides, at Mission Palms Health and Rehabilitation in Mesa, Arizona.

I wrote last year about the bond they’ve developed there.

The 2014 Caring Canines Calendar  (you can click the link to order) is the fifth one put out by the foundation, a nonprofit arm of the American Medical Directors Association. Proceeds from the calendar support foundation programs.

Each month features a pet (mostly dogs, but one bird makes an appearance) who is providing therapy or companionship at a long-term care facility.

As the calendar notes, “The presence of animals is becoming increasingly popular in long term care residential facilities, and for good reason — studies have documented that pets help reduce depression, loneliness, and anxiety; improve mental function; and lower blood pressure and heart rate.”

The calendar contains photographs and stories selected from the submissions contributed by residents and staff members of long term care facilities.

Henry belongs to Christina Higgins, a physical therapist at Mission Palms.

I first wrote a piece for ohmidog! after meeting them during a visit last year.

That old post is one of many that got gobbled up or lost in space when we recently changed servers for this website. (Data migration is as dangerous as it sounds, and can lead to broken links, also painful.)

But here’s a piece of it I found:

As my soon-to-be 89-year-old father continues on a long uphill road to recovery, there’s a dog helping him get there.

Somehow, that makes me – being, until last week, on the other side of the country – feel more comfortable. More important, I’m guessing it makes him — being a hard core dog lover — feel more that way, too, as well as more motivated, and more at home in a strange place.

My dad became ill last year, entering a hospital with stomach problems and suffering a heart attack while there that would lead to an induced coma of several weeks. Once he came out of it, he had to relearn things like eating and walking, and — having a lot more fight in him than most people — he made great progress during his stay in a skilled nursing facility in Mesa called Mission Palms.

He was fortunate enough to be assigned to a therapist named Christina, and her dog, Henry Higgins. Henry, now about a year and half, has been working at Mission Palms since he was three months old, and the first thing I noticed about him was how he made everyone’s face light up upon seeing him, both patients and staff, and definitely my father’s.

For starters, they played some fetch, which required my father hoisting himself out of his wheelchair and throwing a tennis ball. My father did the work, but I think the anticipation on Henry’s face — as he sat there looking at him, patiently waiting — provided the encouragement. After that, a putting green was hauled out and my father tried to sink some putts, as Henry looked on.

Henry is a pointer-setter mix, with long brown hair from his tail to the top of his head, but short hair on his muzzle. Christina, who chose him from a friend’s litter, said “he was the biggest, ugliest one, just a big huge fur ball.”

Out of all the pups, she said, he seemed the most sociable and interested in humans.

I know surgeons and doctors probably deserve most of the thanks, and are the main reason my father is still around. But as for right now, amid all other uncertainties … I’m probably most grateful that he’s in the capable hands of a caring therapist and an encouraging dog. Thanks, Henry.

My adventures as a pinup photographer


Darned if it isn’t February already — time for procrastinators like myself to get a 2010 calendar.

Allow me to suggest one that doesn’t feature my work — Pinups for Pitbulls.uptopar

When Pinups for Pitbulls issued a call for submissions for its annual calendar last year, I answered — vaguely entertaining the notion that I, too, could have a career in photographing beautiful women, or at least have my photo make the calendar.

First, I recruited friend Carey Hughes and her pit bull Bimini to serve as my models. The challenge: to loosely recreate, with a pit bull, the vintage pin-up poster to the left, called “Up to Par.”

Carey enlisted her sister Kelly to serve as fashion advisor and hair and make-up person. Kelly was also to be the skirt-blower-upper, using a battery operated leaf blower I bought from Home Depot for the occassion to poof up her sister’s skirt and ensure our photos showed the requisite amount of leg.

On the day of the shoot, Kelly had another commitment, and Carey’s mom, Jeanne, ended up replacing her as the skirt-blower-upper — and doing a fine job, I might add.

We all met at Carroll Park Golf Course in Baltimore, where officials let us take over an unused hole. Not surprisingly, we drew a few a gawkers.

pinup4Both Carey and Bimini proved remarkably patient — though he wasn’t too thrilled with the golf cap he was initially sporting.

I sent the best of my shots into Pinups for Pitbulls, where we’d end up in the pile of those that didn’t make the cut. You can look at some of the other contenders not chosen here.

To see the winners, you can buy the calendar.

The calendar, in its fourth year, highlights stories and images of 12 pit bull-owning women and their dogs.  Sales from the 2009 calendar raised almost $20,000 for pit bull rescues across the nation, double the amount raised in 2008.

Pinups for Pitbulls, a non-profit organization, works to educate the public about pit bulls, remove the stigma associated with the breed and save the lives of abused and abandoned pit bulls throughout the United States.

The video below highlights the organization in more detail.

Meanwhile, if you need a slightly used battery-powered leaf blower, contact me.

Orioles calendar dog Cuji found safe

The Maryland SPCA confirms that Cuji, a pit bull mix featured in the organization’s 2010 Oriole’s calendar, has turned up, unharmed, at BARCS.

Cuji, featured in the Orioles Calendar with Koji Euhara, went missing last week. Her owner, Brian Willis feared the dog had been stolen from his yard.

Willis, who adopted the dog in June, was notified that Cuji had been recovered, and identifed through his microchip.

The dog was to be picked up by its owners from Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter tonight.

Where’s Cuji? Orioles calendar dog is missing


One of the dogs featured in the Maryland SPCA’s 2010 Orioles Calendar has gone missing, apparently taken from her owner’s yard.

Cuji, a two and a half year-old pit bull mix, was taken from her yard in Belair-Edison, her owners told “Unleashed,” the Baltimore Sun’s pets blog.

Cuji (for a better picture, turn to October in your calendar) posed with the Orioles’ Koji Uehara.

Brian Willis, an engineer who adopted the dog in June, said the dog disappeared from his home on the 3300 block of Brendan Avenue in the Belair-Edison neighborhood. His collar was left behind.

Dogs Finding Dogs, a nonprofit organization that uses retired police dogs to search for missing pets, had joined in the search. Willis has also called a number of area shelters and placed missing dog notices online. Cuji, about 70 pounds, is microchipped.

Maryland SPCA unveils 2010 calendar


The Maryland SPCA  held its final “Wine & Wag” event of the season last night, a monthly happy hour for people and their pets that includes Ace’s (that’s not him) favorite new activity — bobbing for hot dogs.

paintpawThe event featured Jen Carle, signing her book “Finally Winsome,” the unveiling of the 2010 Maryland SPCA calendar and wine, beer and hors d’ouvres h’ors d’oeuvres appetizers for humans, who were not required to bob for them.

Ace also tried his paw at paw painting, romped in the “fun run,” and got to  meet a lot of new friends. It’s a great opportunity to socialize your dog, yourself and help the cause.

The Maryland SPCA’s 2010 calendar is a colorful wall calendar, featuring pictures of dogs, cats and other animals submitted by area animal lovers.

cal2010covThey cost $15.90 each, including tax, and will be sold online, at the SPCA and at local retailers. They will be available for purchase online and at the Maryland SPCA, 3300 Falls Road, starting today

Is your pet calendar material?


If you think your dog (or cat, or other pet) has what it takes to be calendar material, you’ve got one week left to enter a photo in the Maryland SPCA’s 2010 Pet Calendar Contest.

The SPCA has extended the deadline for pet calendar submissions to Tuesday, June 9th.

The fee for entering is $50 for the first photo and $25 for each additional photo. All types of pets can be entered.

The entry fee includes a free copy of the 2010 calendar and two complimentary tickets to the SPCA’s September Wine & Wag happy hour (where the new calendars will be available).

Additional calendars will be available for 15.90 each. All proceeds benefit the homeless and needy animals at the Maryland SPCA.

All photos entered will be featured in the calendar, with the best chosen for pet of the month, or the calendar’s cover. The SPCA recommends sending you highest quality photos.

Visit the Maryland SPCA’s website for more information, and to enter the contest online.