Everybody benefits from spending time with dogs! This new Georgia program allows service dogs in training to get socialized by kids with autism, while giving these youngsters a chance to be positively influenced by a dog.
“It’s just amazing,” said Elizabeth Dulin, co-founder and head of the Lionheart School, which serves students with autism in Alpharetta, Georgia. “When our kids interact with the dogs, we see reduced anxiety levels. ... They become calm and focused.”
One 11-year-old student named Max can quickly identify all seven of the puppies romping around the school. How can he name them so effortlessly when they look so similar? That’s easy.
“Because I love them,” Max told WXIA-TV in Atlanta.
And the impact of the dogs on the children doesn't end there.
How do people come up with creative street art that includes dogs? This one here was found while out walking in San Francisco. It wasn't hidden. It is simple in design and large enough to notice without feeling it was over-the-top for a city sidewalk.
This holiday season has been rough because the loss of my sweet old dog is still fresh. We have delayed putting up any decorations that remind us of her, and we skipped putting up stockings all together because I can't bear to see hers.
Given that my dog didn't need me now, I decided to fly to Arizona to visit my mother. She's up there in age and with our shared background loving dogs, I knew she'd know what to say to help me manage my grief.
Have you ever had one of those times when you are just so surprised by your reaction to something? Where you are caught off guard by the passionate response you have to a random commercial, or highway billboard or maybe a magazine ad.
I had one of those experiences as I paged through the SkyMall catalog while on the plane south. SkyMall was filled with every gadget no one really needs. As I flipped the pages, my eyes landed first on a $24 "Pet Tiding Stone" that memorializes your pet using a rock and not your pet's ID tag or collar. Then scanning to the right, I see this...
My dog never gave me the "head tilt" like Lassie, Benji or even Rin Tin Tin might have on television, but she sure gave me an expression that said she was hip to my words. By the time we'd been together for a few years, her vocabulary was on its way to making our life together an adventure. While she still had her vision, I would use visual prompts to play games with her. Later when she couldn't see with her eyes, I watched as she used her ears to understand what we were saying.
"Although we cannot say how much or in what way dogs understand information in speech from our study," Ratcliffe said, "we can say that dogs react to both verbal and speaker-related information and that these components appear to be processed in different areas of the dog's brain.”
We are a pack of dog lovers influenced by the dogs we love to be better people.
This week our Grouchy Puppy morning question on Facebook asked, "#ThankfulThursday We appreciate all the new dog loving friends we've made in 2014 because of our Cleo. Because of your dog(s), what's one new reason you're thankful this year?"
The following is how readers responded. In the comments below, I'd love to see what you're thankful for this year[...]
When you experience the love, devotion and joy having an older dog in your life, it's as if you've glimpsed heaven on earth. I will always remember my dog Cleo and how she made me feel as she became a senior dog.
As a way to honoring her positive influence over us, we're sharing on Grouchy Puppy beautiful images and stories involving the relationship between people and their older dogs, from Project Unconditional.
Read the following story about an amazing woman, who I admire greatly, dedicated to making a difference in the lives of senior dogs.
Patty Stanton’s first experience with the joy of senior dogs was watching her childhood dog, Happy, age along with her. Decades later when it came time to adopt a dog for her own family, she luckily found Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco.
When it comes to adopting a senior dog, the decision is easy for Patty. “They come with manners,” she says, “and what you see is what you get.” The gratefulness of adult dogs is apparent from the beginning too, and Patty relishes the unique opportunity to shepherd senior dogs through their golden years. Patty now serves on the board of directors at Muttville where she can continue her passionate commitment to creating better lives for senior dogs through rescue, foster, adoption, hospice, and education.
Project Unconditional by Jane Sobel Klonsky is a collection of photos and stories focusing on the powerful relationships between people and their older dogs.