The Grouchy Puppy motto is, “Give Fearlessly Influence Positively” inspired by people like Sandy and dogs like Shiloh. Together they spent six years as a therapy dog team in Tennessee visiting nursing homes and a children’s grief camp. They positively influenced hundreds of lives over the years by fearlessly giving their time and presence. The following is a first person essay about their experiences [...]
There is something about a grey or white muzzle that grabs my heart. I see an older dog who has lived a full life and they have an aura of calm, because they know they are surrounded by love and loyalty for their companionship and service.
This is a portrait of Bretagne, living the quiet life of a retired search dog. It's been over ten years since he was one of almost a hundred search and rescue teams on the ground trying to find those missing at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon after the attacks on September 11, 2001.
Only fifteen canine members are still with us, living with their handlers at home. See their incredibly moving portraits in a book by photographer Charlotte Dumas. Get a tissue if you fall for noble and gentle furry features like I do [...]
If you have ever whispered a secret to your dog raise your hand. Who was having a bad day when their pet out-of-the-blue came over to cuddle? The bond between humans and our pets is special. This real connection can have a positive influence on both human and animal.
To witness the human-animal bond demonstrated between a therapy dog and a distressed child is amazing. Dogs have a way of getting to the heart of the matter real quick. Feeling out of sorts? In my house it doesn't surprise me anymore when my dog senses my down mood, then gets so close to me I'm compelled to turn my attention to her, and away from my discomfort.
Trained to encourage kids, a dog gives fearlessly
After sitting in a shelter a long time, imagine a sickly discarded dog finding not only his forever family but his perfect job -- in the process earning a 2014 Hero Dog Award nomination. Read Charles and Bentley's inspiring adoption story, and how this therapy dog team has found its calling helping our youth.
Charles Parkins lived in Florida when he and his daughter met RX. Charles was interested in adopting a dog who he could train as a therapy dog to work with him in the West Palm Beach, Florida Juvenile Detention Center.
Charles writes, "My daughter and I went to Big Dog Ranch Rescue and while looking at the 400+ dogs available for adoption we entered the “big dog barn” and were greeted by row after row of excited barking dogs. As we looked at all the dogs we found “RX” sitting in his kennel looking at us, not barking. We learned that RX had been there for awhile. He was found in the parking lot of a national pharmacy chain in a dumpster. He was heartworm positive."
They adopted RX and renamed him Bentley in honor of his new life. As Bentley went through months of heartworm treatment, Charles recovered from a hip replacement. While they both slowly recuperated together they grew very close. Charles also began working on Bentley's training.
"Life has a funny way of changing direction..."
Dogs have a gift when it comes to making a connection with people. I know a few shy and introverted folks who blossom when I walk up with my big dog Cleo. Their faces light up as we approach, and we spend a few minutes sharing anecdotes about dogs while they pet Cleo. This is one of the few times when she is willing to stop in the middle of her walk to "hang out" with someone who needs a little furry love.
I've also seen the impact on hospice patients and their families when a therapy dog arrives. The warm body, the happy face and gentle demeanor can work wonders on the emotions.
Read this wonderful example in Oregon of how therapy dogs are helping patients and grieving family members alike [...]
11-year-old golden retriever Champ is a natural at nesting. A box of baby chicks were left on their doorstep and while her mom searches for homes for the brood, Champ is showing everyone why senior dogs rule.
One of the reasons I love dogs is their capacity to give, especially to us humans. My adopted rescue dog still shows me how happy she is that we found each other at the SPCA. From the start we worked to build up Cleo's confidence in us, that we were a permanent family.
It took lots of practice of leaving Cleo in the living room with the words "wait here, I'll be right back" and closing the front door, for a few minutes at a time, before we could open that door and see a happy face. At first Cleo barked, howled, and cried on the other side of the door, or tried to block us from leaving in the first place. It was heartbreaking.
After many practice sessions we eventually got her to wait for us with only a mild case of stress panting. I learned that my dog is not interested in hanging out by herself. I also learned that though she was already three years old when we adopted her, rather than being wary and standoffish, she was eager to trust and bond with us immediately. Eight years together, she is still quick to forgive whenever I make her wait on her own.
Watching my old dog now curled up contentedly nearby, this story of Gideon the pit bull affected me deeply. How people can neglect and abandon a dog is beyond me. The fact that Gideon was microchipped and his people's contact information was current, yet when contacted they still chose to discard him like an unwanted toy is nauseating. Fortunately for you, I only share stories that inspire, educate or entertain - and this Huffington Post story touches the part of me that remains optimistic about the future of mankind. You'll be glad you read it.
Having been significantly involved with Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) in San Francisco for three years, I have seen first hand the power of the human-animal bond at work between low income seniors, the disabled, and their companion animals. It breaks my heart to imagine anyone having to choose to feed themselves or their beloved furry (and often only) family member.
Today, thanks to an anonymous donor, a new partnership begins between the Helen Woodward Animal Center's AniMeals Program and The Angel's Depot, a San Diego county nonprofit serving the nutritional needs of seniors.
Pets Are Wonderful Support PAWS does more good for low income seniors and the disabled than many nonprofits, in part from community support and the hundreds of amazing volunteers. People who believe in the power of the human-animal bond are the reason this privately funded nonprofit has been around for 25 years.
PAWS volunteers believe in the value of keeping people and their pets together. That an animal companion can alleviate depression. That the unconditional love an animal gives is deserved to be experienced by everyone.
For me, the holidays are a time of giving, shared moments with friends and family, and taking time to reflect on the year. In addition to buying from local companies, I care about buying from companies that give back to their community. I'm also drawn to organizations that offer a special gift in exchange for a donation this time of year. Why not wear what matters to you for all to see? Caring about elderly dogs never goes out of style, which is why Muttville shirts made our list this year. Smelling nice is something every dog battles with. Having your home smell like the beach or at least a light soap scent is possible with candles we found by a Southern California company that supports organizations dedicated to ending the homeless pet population, and raising awareness about spay and neuter.
Closer to home, when you give to San Francisco's own PAWS, Pets Are Wonderful Support they offer a limited supply of beautiful note cards for a modest donation. Across the border, a Canadian company that sources and makes all of their pet products also supports Search and Rescue Dogs of Ontario. Finally, one of the most beautiful gift ideas that tops our list is a photo book.
Here are five beautiful gift ideas ...
When you love animals, but you're retired, how do you give back? This 70 years young retired couple is inspirational. The Kleemans found a way to combine their love of travel with volunteering at their local humane society. One of the benefits of fostering a dog is the flexibility. The amount of time you spend caring for a dog before they are adopted can vary.
When you need it, you can take a break before taking on another animal. Pet fostering could be the perfect opportunity for many older adults and retired folks to help their local animal shelter or humane society.[...]