Tag: therapy dog
For as long as it keeps ticking, and however strong the attachments it already has are, it’s capable of finding new things to adore.
Which brings us to this sordid tale — one that is also partly uplifting, and, if you want to be all technical about it, also partly shoplifting.
My dog Ace has always been No. 1 in the eyes of my father, a lifelong dog-lover.
My dad was able to quickly detect what a special beast Ace truly is. Watching them snuggle on his couch when we visited always made my insides glow.
For years now, the first thing my father asks when he calls has always been, “How’s Ace?” The first thing he asked me when he came out of a coma, that followed a heart attack, that followed some stomach surgery, was “How’s Ace?” When I visited him in Arizona a few months ago, without Ace, the first thing he asked was, “Where’s Ace?”
Since his lengthy hospitalization, my dad has mostly resided in a skilled nursing facility in Mesa, where, at one point, he was having physical therapy sessions with a dog named Henry, who belongs to one of the therapists. While those sessions are no longer part of his daily regimen, he still sees Henry — full name Henry Higgins — regularly, and apparently they’ve grown quite attached.
According to my sources, after dinner one night last week, my father rolled into the therapy gym unnoticed and snuck off with a photo of Henry that hangs there, planning on taking it back to his sparsely furnished room. It was reportedly his second attempt to steal the framed photo. After getting caught the first time, rolling along the hallway with the picture in his lap, he stuffed it under his shirt the second time.
I found this news upsetting — not because my father was engaging in larcenous behavior, but because I’ve done my best to keep Ace first and foremost in his mind. I’ve made sure his room had a “Travels with Ace” calendar. For his birthday, I sent him a sweatshirt with a giant photo of Ace emblazoned on the front. I’ve supplied him — even though my father’s not doing any traveling — with an Ace travel mug.
For some reason, whatever else he forgets, even temporarily, I want him to remember Ace eternally.
I realize it is petty jealousy, and that it’s likely limited to me. Ace, in all probability, wouldn’t mind a bit that my father has another dog to entertain, comfort, calm, console and warm him.
And in truth, I am far more grateful than I am jealous when it comes to Henry, who I got to meet when I visited, and who is pretty special and wonderful himself.
On my dad’s 89th birthday, Henry was there; Ace and I weren’t.
I can understand my dad being smitten with Henry, and I’m glad he is. Dogs and love, if you ask me, are among the top five reasons to go on living. (The other three are books, music and pizza.)
It makes me want to get Ace — not to mention myself — out there for another visit.
Once he was confronted — when he was noticed, after the second attempted theft, with a bulge under his Maui t-shirt — my father confessed and revealed his ill-gotten bootie.
No charges were filed.
And the framed photo of Henry, according to Henry’s owner, will be placed in a new location:
My father’s room.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, aging, animals, bill woestendiek, dog, dogs, elderly, henry, henry higgins, jealousy, love triangle, mesa, nursing, pets, photo, physical therapy, stolen, therapy, therapy dog, william woestendiek
Vivian Peyton, a pit bull mix and former bait dog, was honored as a Purina Therapy Dog Ambassador.
Vivian was in the second graduating class of Philadelphia’s New Leash on Life USA, a program that, unlike some similar ones, actually sees dogs and inmates become cellmates.
It’s aimed at helping both dogs in need of homes and inmates in need of job skills. Poorly socialized or misbehaving dogs, through the training, get a better chance to be adopted; the inmates, in addition to getting a break from their otherwise mostly lonely and idle existence, learn to be dog trainers.
New Leash on Life USA is currently training their fifth class of dogs, with 28 dogs scheduled to graduate, according to a press release.
Vivian, was rescued by New Leash on Life USA and spent three months completing the prison training program.
When she arrived, she was wounded, severely underweight and apprehensive around people, but it only took a few days for her to come out of her shell. She went on to pass her canine good citizen test in prison.
Then she was adopted by Michele Pich, a Veterinary Grief Counselor at PennVet. Vivian, now a certified therapy dog, comforts grieving pet lovers and visits children at the Ronald McDonald House.
“We are incredibly proud of Vivian Peyton for showing the resiliency of animals and what can be accomplished with love and care,” said Marian V. Marchese, the founder of New Leash on Life USA. “She will always be New Leash on Life USA’s ambassador dog.”
(Top photo courtesy of New Leash on Life USA; bottom photo, of Vivian and Pich, by Connie Kang / Daily Pennsylvanian)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, ambassador, animals, bait dog, counselor, dogs, grief, michelle pich, mix, national dog show, new leash on life, new leash on life usa, pets, philadelphia, pit bull, prison, prison dogs, prisons, program, purina therapy dog, rescues, shelters, socialization, therapy dog, therapy dogs, training, veterinary, vivian peyton
No one is sure how she got there, but a legally blind 5-year-old girl’s therapy dog showed up on her family’s front porch in Kansas, two weeks after she was stolen.
According to KSN, Andrea Taylor, who has cerebral palsy, couldn’t stop smiling.
Millie, a pit bull trained to serve Andrea as a therapy dog, was found outside the family’s home in Hutchinson by Andrea’s father around 3:30 a.m.
Andrea’s mother said her daughter woke up, came out to the living room and upon seeing her dog said, ’”There her is. It’s my Millie.”
Millie had been missing for two weeks. She was seen jumping into a white car in front of the family’s Hutchinson home. A reward of $450 was being offered for her return.
Andrea’s mother, Lana Taylor, believes pressure from the media and the Reno County Sheriff’s Department led whoever stole the dog to have a change of heart.
Millie had scrapes and scabs around her face, neck, and belly, leading Taylor to believe she might have been taken by dogfighters.
Hutchinson police say they are continuing to investigate the case.
Taylor said the first thing Millie did upon her return was to go to Andrea’s room: “She went right to Andrea’s bed, put her paw up on the bed, and sat there …”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: andrea taylor, animals, back, blind, cerebral palsy, dogs, found, home, hutchinson, kansas, legally blind, millie, news, pets, pit bull, pitbull, returned, returns, stolen, therapy, therapy dog, video
A blind, five-year-old girl’s therapy dog was apparently stolen from her front yard in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Millie, a pit bull trained as a therapy dog, was given to Andrea Taylor, who also has cerebral palsy, in March.
Less than a month later, someone in a white car stopped in front of the home, called the dog, and drove away with Millie, KSN reports.
The sheriff’s department is investigating.
“She absolutely loves Millie,” said Lana Taylor, Andrea’s mother. “She has always been a good night’s sleeper. She’s not sleeping at night, she’s crying all night long.”
The dog enabled Andrea to have more independence, her mother said, but since she was taken, Andrea spends a lot of time staring out the front window.
Anyone with any information with any information about Millie’s whereabouts is asked to call the Reno County Sheriff’s Department at 620-694-2735.
The family is offering a cash reward for Millie’s return
Posted by jwoestendiek April 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: andrea taylor, animals, blind, cerebral palsy, dog, dogs, girl, hutchinson, kansas, lana taylor, millie, pets, pit bull, pitbull, reward, stolen, therapy dog
A 2.5-pound dog in New Jersey has been named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the ”world’s smallest working dog,” wresting the honor from the former title-holder, a 6.6-pound search and rescue dog in Japan.
Lucy, a 3-year-old mini Yorkshire terrier who works as a therapy dog, received the certificate — which is considerably larger than her – on Saturday.
Just 6 inches long, and 5.7 inches high, Lucy belongs to Sally Leone Montufar, of Absecon. “She gets a lot of attention already,” Montufar told the Camden Courier Post. “She stops traffic.”
Lucy, who was homeless two years ago, now works as a therapy dog through the Cherry Hill program Leashes of Love, visiting hospitals, nursing homes and schools.
“She had to be trained to sit for long periods, lay for long periods, not be flustered when there’s wheelchairs and walkers all around, and she has to be able to walk for me and be nonaggressive,” Montufar said.
Montufar used to run a pet boutique called Paw Dazzle, and one day a woman came in with several dogs — all headed for an animal shelter.
“She was so pitiful and lethargic, I couldn’t leave her,” Montufar said of Lucy. “I didn’t know if I could save her or not.”
Montufar, a former teacher, hopes Lucy will serve as an advocate for rescuing dogs.
“There’s a lot of people out there who are desperate for companionship,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: absecon, animals, book, certificate, cherry hill, dogs, guinness, homeless, leashes of love, lucy, mini yorkshire terrier, new jersey, pets, rescue, sally leone montufar, smallest, therapy dog, therapy dogs, title, working dogs, world records, world's smallest, yorkie, yorkshire, yorkshire terrier
The U.S. Postal Service is issuing four new stamps that honor working dogs.
The “Dogs at Work” series celebrates the enduring partnership between working dogs and the people who count on them.
The four dogs depicted in the 65-cent stamps are a guide dog assisting a woman who is blind, a tracking dog on the trail of a scent, a therapy dog visiting an elderly woman in her home, and a search and rescue dog standing in a field.
Artist John M. Thompson created original paintings for the stamps, which were designed by art director Howard E. Paine.
The “Dogs At Work” stamps will come out in January, 2012, and are being issued at the two-ounce rate.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 65-cent, animals, artist, celebrate, detecting, dog, dogs, dogs at work, guide dog, honor, issuance, issue, john m. thompson, office, pets, post, postal, rate, rescue, search, series, sniffing, stamps, therapy dog, tracking, two ounce, working, working dogs
Leo, the former Michael Vick dog who became a therapy dog and an ambassador for his breed, died last week from a severe seizure disorder.
Marthina McClay, president of Our Pack, an advocacy group for pit bulls, announced his death Sunday in a Facebook post:
“It is with great sadness I must announce the loss of a wonderful soul. This week Leo passed away from a severe seizure disorder. Leo was my working partner, friend and family loved one and I will never forget how wonderful he was. He was so many things to many people and to many dogs.
“Leo came to Our Pack from the Vick case and I was lucky enough to later adopt him. Even though he didn’t have a good start in life he made life for others around him better. Just after arriving to us, Leo quickly turned inhumanity into humanity. He gave love that wasn’t even given to him.
“He worked with cancer patients as a therapy dog. He showed kids that no matter what you can still show love and compassion toward others regardless of how life has treated you. He showed the world that one should not be judged based on what property he lives on but on who you are and what you do as an individual. Many dogs are alive today and many people have smiled because of Leo and his work. He gave a second chance to other dogs that may never have gotten one because of who he was and what he did.
“Please join me in remembering the good that Leo has done and pass it on. We’ve suffered a great loss but we’ve also received a wonderful gift in the time we were lucky enough to share with him. Leo accomplished so much in so little time. Thank you Leo, I love you so much and you will never be forgotten….Ever.”
Leo was one of about 50 dogs seized in the raid of Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels in Smithfield, Va.
Our Pack was one of several animal welfare groups that worked to rehabilitate the dogs. Leo was officially adopted by McClay and became a certified therapy dog, working with cancer patients and others.
(Photo: Leo and McClay, courtesy of Our Pack)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bad newz, death, died, disorder, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, kennels, leo, marthina mcclay, michael vick, our pack, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, redemption, rehabilitation, seizure, therapy dog, vick dog
Betty Peltier of Antioch, Ill., pleaded guilty to just that this week in exchange for a sentence of 100 hours of community service.
She could have been sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail and fined $2,500, according to the Lake County News-Sun.
Peltier was accused of stealing Peanut, a 3-pound Chihuahua who ran out of his family’s house while they were unloading groceries. Peanut served as a therapy dog for the son of Monica Hidalgo. Hidalgo offered a $1,000 reward for the dog’s return.
After Peliter called Hidalgo several times inquiring about the reward, Round Lake Beach police arrested her when she attempted to return the dog.
In addition to 100 hours of community service, Peltier received one year of supervision, after the successful completion of which the theft charge will not go on her record as a conviction.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, antioch, autism, autistic, chihuahua, dog, dogs, guilty, illinois, lake county, peanut, pets, plea, reward, sentence, stealing, stolen, theft, therapy dog
An eight-year-old beagle named Ginger now lives part-time at Renaissance Gardens, the assisted living/skilled nursing facility located at Riderwood, where she visits residents, serves as an icebreaker and, just maybe, is lowering some blood pressures as well.
Ginger’s new mission came out of a pet-sitting arrangement between friends. Karen Spicer, a Community Resources Coordinator at Riderwood who lives in Ellicott City, started taking care of Ginger four years ago, whenever Ginger’s family went on vacation.
It was Ginger’s mom who came up with the idea of sharing the beagle, who now spends part of the time as a pet with her family in Catonsville, part of it with Spicer in Ellicott City, and part of it at Riderwood.
Spicer picks up Ginger, who recently completed her orientation to be a Pets on Wheels dog, on the first Sunday of the month and drops her back home on the third Sunday of the month.
Ginger, according to Spicer, is sweet, compliant and unusually obedient and quiet for a beagle. “She loves to tell people that they are great,” said Spicer. “She is great company for me. I am a better person for having her.”
(Photo: Courtesy of Erickson Living)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assisted living, beagle, catonsville, dog, dogs, ellicott city, erickson living, ginger, karen spicer, maryland, nursing, pets, pets on wheels, renaissance gardens, retirement, riderwood, senior, shared, shared dog, silver spring, therapy dog
Ace made a big impression on pre-k and kindergarten students at Baltimore’s Lakewood Elementary School yesterday, dazzling them with tricks, soaking up their pats and hugs and swearing in two classrooms whose students took the “Oath of Kindness,” a pledge to be kind to animals.
How this latest stop in our continuing travels came to pass was actually pretty simple, and amazingly bureaucracy-free.
A teacher friend asked if we’d visit. We said yes. She got the necessary clearances and, before you know it, a 130-pound Rottweiler-Akita-chow-pit bull mix was being snuggled, stroked and hugged by a bunch of children half his size.
Karma Dogs, the therapy dog organization of which Ace is a member, came up with two more volunteers who visited the school along with Ace and me – Janet Shepherd and her dog Tami, and Kathryn Corrigan and her dog Puddy.
Together, we covered six classrooms in just over an hour, administering the oath, passing along some basic dog safety tips and stressing the importance of treating animals kindly.
Karma Dogs developed the ”Oath of Kindness” after the death of Phoenix, a pit bull puppy who was set on fire by Baltimore teenagers in the summer of 2009 — not the first, or last, case of its type in the city.
The oath reads: “I … pledge always to be kind to animals. I promise never to hurt an animal, be it dog or cat, furry or fat. I promise to tell my friends to be kind to animals and if I see an animal that is being hurt I will tell an adult right away. Scaly or slimy, feathered or blue, to this promise I will be true.”
After reciting the pledge, the children receive a certificate,which is “pawtographed” by the dog, in this case, Ace. The hope is that children who have openly declared they will not be violent towards animals will remember that, tell their friends and inform adults when they see an animal being taunted or abused.
Of the students Ace and I appeared before, about a dozen raised their hands when I asked who was afraid of dogs. But only one declined a chance to pet Ace. Several more had some trepidations, but those seemed to melt away as they watched the other children interact with him.
They were eager to ask questions, and talk about their own pets. One girl spent three minutes talking about her Chihuahua, which she said had the same name she did. Not until the end of her dissertation did she reveal that her dog was a stuffed toy.
I cautioned them against approaching stray dogs, told them to always to ask the owner before approaching a dog, showed them how to let dogs sniff their hands as an introduction and encouraged them to treat dogs as they’d like to be treated — calmly, kindly and lovingly.
Ace made an impression on the children in several ways, I think –through his size alone, his gentleness and his back story: a stray adopted from the shelter, like most of the other Karma Dogs, who went on to try and help humans.
The teacher behind the event (who also took these photos) was Marite Edwards, a longtime friend of Ace’s. When she took the idea to her principal, she learned that the school and district were looking at ways to add dog safety and kindness to animals to the curriculum.
That another case of animal abuse surfaced in Baltimore over the weekend — that of a cat set on fire by two teenagers — confirmed just how much those lessons are needed.
You can find more information about Karma Dogs at its website.
(Photos by Marite Edwards)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, approach, baltimore, certificate, children, city, compassion, curriculum, dog, dogs, hand, karma dogs, kids, kind to animals, kindergarten, lakewood elementary, marite edwards, mittens, oath of kindness, pets, phoenix, pre-k, safety, schools, sniff, teacher, therapy dog, violence, volunteers