Next Free Orientation

Would you like to attend the next Free Orientation and learn more about our program?

The next one will be on Sunday, July 23 at 11:00 am in Summerlin.

You can come wit your dog or alone and find out everything you need to know before signing up for the next class in September.

Contact and she will provide the location and other details. Space is limited.

A special meeting

Benny and his new friend

I brought Benny to a favorite rehab today to say goodbye to one of the staff who is leaving. We didn’t plan on really spending much time there or visiting with many people. And we did not have a client to work with in the gym. But as soon as we arrived, we saw someone we knew. She knew Petey from elsewhere and was thrilled to now meet Benny. Then we walked a few steps and met another person we knew! We walked with this person into the gym and Benny was immediately drawn to a young man sitting on the side waiting for someone to complete their session. Well Benny totally knew this young man needed him so they sat together for an hour! We had a wonderful discussion about therapy dogs and our program and now I know why we went there today – perhaps he will become a Love Dog volunteer himself one day!

The best event ever

Today several Love Dogs visited with very special children indeed. They shared one of the deformities that little Petey has, but more importantly they all share his spirit and determination. We had four dogs for them to meet and learn about and cuddle and kiss: Rosie, Dash, Daisy and Petey.


Thank you everyone for a heartwarming day.



Not Ready is not the end of the world

Coco at the MAC AIDS Walk in New York

Scoring a Not Ready on your Pet Partners evaluation isn’t the end of the world. Or the end of your therapy team career. I was reminded the other day that one of our absolute strongest teams got a Not Ready the first time they tested! One of our best teams tested three times before passing. The Pet Partners evaluation is taken seriously and there are several scores a team can receive: Complex, meaning they were the best score in every element and can volunteer at Complex-identified facilities; Predictable, which is exactly what it sounds like and the score most teams receive; Not Ready – well, let’s work on some elements and try again. And the fourth score is Not Appropriate for Visiting and it can be because of the handler or the animal and that team cannot test again.

It is always rewarding when a renewing team moves up from Predictable to Complex, but the most satisfying is when a Not Ready continues to learn and tests again and passes.

Here’s to the original Love Dog and all those she inspired to follow in her paw prints!

Time to test!

Pet Partners evaluations are different from other therapy programs. You don’t test in a group, outdoors or on a last day of training. You must test in a location the animal has never been before, indoors, one team at a time and with volunteers and a neutral dog the animal being tested has never met.

Each test can take up to an hour to get through the 23 elements.

Role playing is an essential part of the test to simulate how the team would do on actual assignments. Handler and animal are being scored separately and the handler score supersedes the animal!

We have two evaluations tomorrow so let’s wish handlers and dogs the best of luck!

Petey is practicing for his renewal evaluation


When to change your assignment

Petey has changed his job a bit and he was not in with all the other dogs … he was outside our area greeting everyone. He was held and cuddled and even took a nap now and then! As your therapy dog ages it is so important to look at what is best for the dog and change up what they do and how they are handled. Petey just loves being cradled in his blanket and being loved on.

This is why retesting every two years is so important for the comfort and safety of our animals and those they interact with.

As your animal and yourself ages and changes, always be aware of what is best for both ends of leash when volunteering.

Another big day for the Love Dogs

Big day today for several Love Dogs. We really enjoy these large events and everyone is always impressed how calm and quiet the dogs are – especially when they learn some may not have met before! We have several shifts working as each team can only work two hours with their several breaks – all in the interest of the welfare of our animals.



TIP Gala was a Hit

The “Heroes with a Heart” Gala with Tip (Trauma Intervention Program) was such a special experience for us all. The guests were thrilled to be greeted by the Love Dogs and the dogs never had so much love and attention. We look forward to many such shared times with this group.

Dash couldn’t get enough hugs, Rosie and Roxy competed for belly rubs and Petey learned to tweet!


A salute to Kirby

Today we want to recognize Kirby, one of the very best AAT dogs. He was very small, only eight pounds, but he was the star “back up” dog. He could encourage someone to walk farther than they ever thought possible by simply backing up inch by inch! Step by step the client approached the little dog barely realizing how far they had walked and how much they had accomplished.

The key to this is the very steadiest of dogs, staying on his mark until given the signal to “back up” with a little hop. Kirby was the best at this and gently sat up when asked to provide a little eye contact and naturally laid down when it was taking a bit longer than expected!

Benny now does this kind of work in the rehab but Mr. Kirby is still recognized as the all time star. And the reward for both human and dog was the biggest hug!


Pet Partners Workshop

The July 9 Pet Partners Handler Workshop is now full … the next one will be September 24. If you are interested in learning more about our animal assisted therapy program and want to prepare for September’s Workshop … the next Free Orientations will be on: Sunday July 23, August 6 and August 20. To sign up for the Orientation contact

 I told Benny we had another poodle in training now and he thinks that is a super idea!!