Our next Free Pet Partners Orientation will be on Tuesday, December 19 at 5:00 pm in Summerlin. Space is limited so please sign up as soon as possible if you wish to attend. You will learn all about our program and the path to becoming a therapy team with the Love Dogs, the Pet Partners of Las Vegas affiliate. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up or get more information.
This is Aiza. She attended an Orientation, took the course, passed with flying colors and actually moved out of state shortly thereafter. But the beauty of Pet Partners is that they are in all 50 states, Canada and six countries, so Aiza is still a Pet Partners therapy dog working with her wonderful handler in her new town. We are so proud but miss her dearly.
Today’s visit with students at UNLV was amazing. Lied Library has been our host for many years now and we are so grateful for their partnership. The students so enjoy meeting the dogs, but even more, they enjoy meeting our handlers. We sit and talk and calm down and share experiences.
Thank you Eddie for taking the most wonderful photos today – they really show the love in the room!
Today’s Pet Partners Handler Workshop was wonderdul. So much good energy in the room and the day went so quickly. We spend a lot of time discussing body language and signals and stressors … but none of us were stressed! And we had Phoenix, Dash and Petey as our demonstration animals showing how we work with the dogs. And Petey demonstrated how we work with cats! Thank you everyone for participating so fully and we can’t wait for you to test and become part of our team!
We so often talk about the relationship between both ends of the leash … but this afternoon I learned again how important the relationship between therapy team and facility is. Where I bring Benny on Thursday afternoons is one of our favorite hours. He spends time with very special teens and we see breakthrough after breakthrough each week. Sometimes it is something very subtle such as a person looking at Benny or someone expressing their thoughts. He always knows who needs him the most and today he totally honed in on one person. I didn’t ask him to go to that person or lead him there – he just knows. I never know why the clients are there or what their issues are so I just harness the power of Benny and watch what happens. I knew something special was occurring when he went over to this client and did something he never does when working – he rose up his front paws and hugged her on his own. He just did not want to let go until she was brave enough to circle her arms around him and hug back. My contact there is an amazing young woman and she and I spent half an hour debriefing after the session and I told her I always learn something from HER and that is what makes our relationship between therapy dog, handler, client, facility and liaison so powerful.
And never forget that the most important way you can give on Giving Tuesday is to give the gift of your time. I know we will have many of our Love Dog teams out in the field today as they do every day. So find someone or something you wish to contribute to and give, give, give that most incredible gift.
Tuesday November 28 is Giving Tuesday – please remember all those who can benefit from your generosity …you can make a tax deductible donation to www.lovedogadventures.org. Just go to www.lovedogadventures.org and click on Support Us and Make a Donation … especially since October 1 we have been depleting our resources of trading cards and other special gifts we give those we meet with … so help us replenish our supplies and keep the love flowing
What are you thankful for? I’m thankful that what started almost twenty years ago with one fluffy white poodle has grown to include all of our wonderful therapy teams. I’m thankful that when Coco left us, she encouraged me to keep going and seek out all the “Coco’s” to keep her legacy alive. I’m thankful that it is no longer one person and one dog, but many making a diffference every day. I’m thankful that every day I learn something from others and never stop wanting to learn. I’m thankful that you are all interested in who we are, what we do and how we do it.
People often have said to me they don’t understand how I can adopt a new pet so very quickly after losing a beloved one … and I say I am most thankfu that when one loving soul leaves this earth, they always send the next to me right away. Imagine if I had stopped after Coco – we never would have met Kirby, and Benny and Petey and all the other amazing animals she sent our way as Love Dogs (and Cats!)
So be thankful that you have enough love in your heart to not only give to others, but to receive and share it.
Benny just loves working in the gym. We begin working with the occupational therapist. Today’s activity was the grasping and pinching motion. We had the client begin by just holding Benny’s toe with his challenged hand. The slight pressure of holding on to the little dog’s foot was what was needed. At one point Benny felt tickled and moved his little paw the slightest, but the client was able to hold on to him – yeh! Then we worked on the pinching motion and the client unclipped Benny’s vest. This was more difficult but the task was achieved. All the while Benny was calm and still and oh so happy. At one point while the client was trying so hard to work the vest buckle, Benny gently licked his elbow as if to say, You got this!
We worked with several brush styles and other tools we bring with us. But the most important “tool” Benny brings is his spirit and motivation.
Then we work with the physical therapist. Benny is in front of the client as he walks a few steps and we keep backing the dog up so he walks further and further. In this case the reward for both human and dog is the ride on his lap back to the gym!
They say it takes a village and for one volunteer team, it certainly did. For all the time Jill and Cedar volunteered at Opportunity Village, it meant Jill left work to go there, one of her three villagers went to her home and brought Cedar there, then they would bring Cedar home and Jill would return to work!
We want to recognize these three remarkable people who served as Honorary Love Dog Volunteers to transport Cedar to and from her assignment. Thank you Barbara Karasm, Brendon Herzig and Cindy Braun.
We have sad news to share today. Cedar was adopted by Jill as a senior Dachshund and perhaps five years was far more than anyone expected her to be with us. But five years is not nearly enough to have this special little dog in our lives. She passed away yesterday.
Jill and Cedar became a Love Dog team in their first year together and have volunteered for four years. They were such an important part of the lives of the youth they worked with and will be deeply missed. They changed the life of one young man in particular and we know he will miss his little friend greatly.
Cedar worked with many populations and attended colleges and events, but it was her work with multiply challenged youth that set her apart. Thank you Jill for all your years of dedication and we look forward to having you mentor new teams so they can carry on Cedar’s legacy.
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