The Love Dogs in the Review Journal

Local Love Dogs hope to fetch hero awards

By JAN HOGAN VIEW STAFF WRITER

Look for this photo of Atlas to vote for him

Look for this photo of Atlas to vote for him

When it comes to therapy dogs, everyone knows they do good work. Now two local dogs have a chance to shine for Las Vegas, but they need your votes.

The two dogs are Benny, a poodle mix, and Atlas, a Newfoundland, both members of the Love Dog Adventures animal therapy program. They are competing in the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards.

Look for this photo of Atlas to vote for him

Look for this photo of Atlas to vote for him

Readers can vote once a day by visiting tinyurl.com/npfdtfu and selecting “Vote Now” and then the “Therapy Dogs” category. Voting is open until May 15 and will determine the top three dogs in each category that will go on to the next round of public voting.

ESKIMO KISSES BENNY.JPGThe Hero Dog Awards are an annual national competition that recognizes ordinary dogs that do extraordinary things — saving lives on the battlefield or lending sight or hearing to a human companion. The ultimate winners in each category will be flown to Hollywood with their human friends to attend the AHA Hero Dog Gala, where they’ll walk the red carpet.

“These are their Oscars,” said Summerlin-area resident Sue Grundfest, who founded Love Dog Adventures about six years ago.

If either Benny or Atlas wins, Love Dog’s national program, Pet Partners, will receive a $5,000 prize.

Look for this photo of Benny to vote for him

Look for this photo of Benny to vote for him

Grundfest grew Love Dog from one canine to its current 30 animals, including a cat. At one time, it even included a therapy horse. The animals are not typical sit-on-your-lap types: They are classified for animal-assisted therapy. They have special training to work in two hospitals, long-term care facilities, residential treatment centers and a group home for severely disabled youths, as well as with stroke patients and children who have endured a life-defining trauma.

“A lot of the places we go are confidential,” Grundfest said. “They’re the only animals brought in to work with that population.”

The Love Dog animals also are part of an anti-bullying program, Be Cool Not Cruel, that travels from school to school.

Benny is Grundfest’s poodle mix, saved by Heaven Can Wait Animal Society. The group had tried to place Benny several times, but the owners kept bringing him back, saying he was a demon dog and an uncontrollable escape artist.

“He was in the back of the cage in the fetal position,” Grundfest recalled. “I said, ‘This dog is not mean, he’s scared.’ “

She sat with her back to him for two hours until he finally approached her. She said he proved himself to be a perfect therapy dog, and they’ve been a pair ever since.

Lindsay Pearlman owns Atlas, age 2½.

Although Atlas came from a breeder and had excellent lineage, he has a heart condition and elbow and hip dysplasia. At 5 months old, he had his first elbow surgery and has had more since.

“He never lets it bother him, though he walks a little funny,” Pearlman said.

Pearlman decided he would make a great therapy dog.

“The biggest thing for me was his eye contact,” Pearlman said. “He’ll just gaze at you, and gaze, and gaze and gaze. He loves people, and he has that personality where he just wants to be near you. He doesn’t need to be petted. He doesn’t need to be doing something; he’s just content to be with somebody.”

She learned about Love Dog Adventures and got him certified roughly six months ago. Both Benny and Atlas worked with an autistic boy, Julian, who was “deathly afraid of dogs,” Pearlman said. “Sue started working with him with her dog … but Atlas was the biggest dog he’d ever met.”

Atlas and Julian have different interactions. For fine motor skills, Julian will brush him. For communication, they’ll read a book together. Atlas had a learning curve, too, when the rehab center wanted him to bark.

“He was trained not to,” Pearlman said. “But they wanted him to act like a dog … to show Julian that he shouldn’t be scared.”

Before Atlas came to the center, he was a “virtual therapy dog,” Pearlman said. Grundfest had printed a book showing pictures of him in various stages of recovery after surgeries so children could better understand what he’d been through. When he made his first appearance, the children were already familiar with him.

“I don’t expect we’ll win, but anything is possible,” Pearlman said. “It’s good publicity; the two Las Vegas dogs are Love Dogs, essentially.”

To celebrate National Therapy Animal Day, Love Dog Adventures plans to host a Meet The Love Dogs event from 4 to 7 p.m. May 18 at Mingo Kitchen & Lounge, 1017 S. First St., Suite 180. To attend, RSVP by May 11 by emailing sue@lovedogadventures.org or calling 702-202-2641.

Love Dog Adventures

Love Dog Adventures is a not-for-profit, all-volunteer animal-assisted therapy program. It is about to get its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and will be accepting donations online shortly. Until then, it depends on donations to keep its programming going. Check can be sent to Love Dog Adventures, 10222 Cantiamo Court, Las Vegas, NV 89135.

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The full article can be viewed at:

http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/pets/local-love-dogs-hope-fetch-hero-awards

 

 

 

Fox 5 News and CSN Goes to the Dogs

Waiting in the Green Room to go on

Waiting in the Green Room to go on

Thank you Beth and Stephanie for welcoming us to CSN

Thank you Beth and Stephanie for welcoming us to CSN

Arriving at the television station

Arriving at the television station

The Love Dogs were invited to Fox 5 KVVU-TV this morning to promote our appearance at the College of Southern Nevada’s three campuses this month.

 

Beth Schuck, Director of Libraries for CSN, and I were interviewed by Jason Feinberg. We were thrilled to have Susan and Ginger with us as well as my tiny Petey. The dogs did not have much to say!

On set with Jason Feinberg

On set with Jason Feinberg

 

The discussion highlighted how bringing in the Love Dogs was beneficial to the students as they approach finals and year-end stresses. The College provides many activities and gatherings to help students handle the stressors of finals and school but everyone agreed that the dogs were the greatest stress reducer.

Beth with Petey

Beth with Petey

 

It was great fun to do a live segment on the morning news and everyone said the dogs were rock stars!

 

See news video clip below.

 

Next Act for Women Features the Love Dogs

Helene Tragos Stelian

Helene Tragos Stelian

crop 800 LOGO.JPGThere are many bloggers out there but every now and then one really resonates and you want to keep checking in to see who or what they are writing about. One such blog is Next Act for Women (www.nextactforwomen.com). Helene Tragos Stelian writes about women, women of a certain age, women in transition, women who will inspire you.

Helene is 51 years old and lives in Chicago with her husband, twin daughters and a dog named Rocky. Her blog centers around women who have reinvented themselves, in small and perhaps major ways, to celebrate that it is never too late to take on new challenges and experiences.

It is never too late to start over.

As many of you know, I left the corporate world to work with animals and start Love Dog Adventures, a nonprofit animal therapy program in Las Vegas.

Helene approached me to write my story and it was a wonderful experience to be interviewed by her. Her questions were thoughtful and the chance to really reflect on the Next Act for this Woman!

This is her blog and I am honored to be the story of the day (www.nextactforwomen.com).

LAS VEGAS ZIP CODE MAGAZINE REFERS THE LOVE DOGS

The article  ran in numerous zip codes

The article ran in numerous zip codes

The many Zip Code magazines in Las Vegas ran an article about animal therapy and the one therapy group they refer readers to is LOVE DOG ADVENTURES – we are proud they chose us as the organization people can turn to for more information about how to get involved:

We have had a great response to this referral

We have had a great response to this referral

 

Complete issue can be found at:

http://www.joomag.com/magazine/summerlin-89117-89128-89135-89134-89138-and-89144-january-2015-summerlin-89135-magazine/0078667001419987244?short

 

Article page 60

http://www.joomag.com/magazine/summerlin-89117-89128-89135-89134-89138-and-89144-january-2015-summerlin-89135-magazine/0078667001419987244?short

 

 

 

The Love Dogs have a Goal – Help us Achieve it

The audience is getting larger and larger

The Love Dog Adventures animal assisted therapy program in Las Vegas is a Pet Partner affiliate team. Our amazingly successful anti-bully program is called Be Cool, Not Cruel and we are in need of materials as we have grown so fast!

Thus we have created a page on Go Fund Me and if you would like To MAKE A DONATION GO TO http://www.gofundme.com/eabiuo.

This program reaches out to young children to teach them kindness and acceptance and tolerance all through the eyes of the dogs. We like to give each child a trading card with the dogs’ photos and stories and silicone bracelets and other materials so they always remember to Be Cool Not Cruel.

Ginger and George became friends

Ginger and George became friends

We are entirely a volunteer program and providing all we wish to give the children is challenging. They thrive on the trading cards and bracelets and remember each and every dogs’ story, most of whom are rescues and have special needs. “If Petey can do it, so can I”.

Our program is inclusive and brings together children from all walks of life and they leave the room saying things like “I didn’t know dogs have feelings” and “I want to Be Cool Not Cruel to every living being.”

Benny is always ready to give a hug

Benny is always ready to give a hug

And of course our therapy team also provides services to hospitals, nursing facilities, rehab centers, schools, and we work weekly with children on the autism spectrum and anywhere and everywhere we are needed.

 

VOTE – Las Vegas Animal Therapy Team, Finalists in Contest

Benny at Edith Garehime School

Benny at Edith Garehime School

I’ve had a couple of questions about public voting. The contest is promoted and run through Facebook only. However, you can also vote from www.petsbest.com/vote

 

You may vote once per IP address per day through Sep. 25th.

 

We are proud to announce that the Las Vegas animal assisted therapy program, Love Dog Adventures, is a finalist in the first national Books & Barks contest sponsored by Pets Best insurance.

The contest is to raise awareness of the benefits of using therapy animals for educational purposes.

The Love Dog team submitted their work with the Edith Garehime Elementary School in Las Vegas. This program brings “everything dog” to first and second graders every other week. It introduces subjects such as how to care for your dog, how to choose the right dog for your family, what therapy dogs do, the importance of rescue and how to be kind to all living beings. Park of the year-long curriculum is the anti-bully initiative Be Cool, Not Cruel and at this young age, the children truly understand how to make friends and how to appreciate differences and the beauty of each individual. Each class has at least five Love Dogs in the room participating and we conclude each session with Reading Circles so the children can read to “their” dogs.

Hundreds of submissions have been narrowed down to eight finalists and voting is open to the public September 8 to September 25please vote for the Love Dogs so we can present this amazing award to our beloved adopted school, Edith Garehime Elementary.

To Vote go to Pets Best Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/petsBestInsurance/app_451684954848385

Click on the photo of Benny as shown in this column.

Or click on this link:

http://www.petsbest.com/customer-center/my-vets-the-best-voting

 

 

Please help us celebrate Edith Garehime students and their Love Dogs in this special way.

 

Love Comes on a Leash is published

Love Comes on a Leash is a wonderful book

Love Comes on a Leash is a wonderful book

Several months ago the call came out for Pet Partner therapy dogs to “audition” to be included in a wonderful children’s book written by a Pet Partner team.  They were seeking specific breeds and we have three dogs in the book: George, Spike, and Petey (and Benny gets a small mention!) ! The “real” dogs have been drawn as characters in the book and many teams across the country are represented.

Read their stories at:

Spike:

http://www.lovecomesonaleash.com/spike.html

George:

http://www.lovecomesonaleash.com/george.html

Petey:

http://www.lovecomesonaleash.com/petey.html

 

George

George

We are hoping the author, Jody Otwell, will come to Las Vegas for a book signing event so we can have the “real” dogs from town there to pawtograph the books!

 

Spike

Spike

I will be ordering books for the students we work with etc. but thought you would all love to check it out and see this very special Labor of Love … Pet Partners has approved the book and will be promoting it as well. Portions of all sales go to PP and other animal-related charities.

 

Petey

Petey

To Order Go to www.lovecomesonaleash.com

 

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Huffington Post Recognizes The Love Dogs

 

Sue Petey and Benny

Sue Petey and Benny

I wanted to share this amazing recognition with all of our Love Dog supporters — I was absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as one of The Huffington Post’s “50 Over 50: Giving Back” this year:

www.huffingtonpost.com

Each and every day it is our joy to serve the community and I couldn’t be more proud of what we do.

Here is the text from the Huffington Post web site:

Sue Grundfest, 60, Las Vegas, NV
It all started with a white fluffy poodle named Coco the Love Dog. Nineteen years ago, when Sue Grundfest was recovering from a life-threatening illness, Coco entered her life and everything changed. The fact that she had to care for this special puppy while she herself was healing gave her the motivation and determination to get well, Grundfest said. And in the process, an animal-assisted therapy team was born. Grundfest, who for decades was an Estée Lauder Companies’ vice president, retired when she was in her 50s. She and Coco — by then a senior dog that was blind, deaf and insulin-dependent — launched Love Dog Adventures, a Pet Partner Affiliate therapy program, the first in Nevada. Grundfest became a licensed instructor and evaluator for Pet Partners and developed her own team of therapy animals. She and her animals work with children on the autism spectrum, children living with emotional trauma, stroke patients, children and adults experiencing great struggles in their lives. She created an anti-bully program Be Cool, Not Cruel that teaches tolerance and kindness, all through the eyes of the dogs (and cats!). “I’ve gone from being a corporate executive to a professional dog trainer and volunteer program founder. I can’t imagine more of a shift in one’s life than that but it is what shaped me and is why I survived all those years ago. From adversity I found peace and my true calling,” she said. “I have devoted this part of my life to improving lives at both ends of the leash.”