New England pet therapy nonprofit brings pooches to nursing homes

via www.tauntongazette.com

TIVERTON —

“Thank you for letting us see him,” Marcy Lima said after enthusiastically petting Chip, a 3-year-old, cocoa brown Yorkshire terrier.

Chip, along with Feathers, a 2-year-old Maltese papillon mix, are two of the therapy dogs who volunteer with their owners for New England Pet Assist Therapy. They travel to nursing homes and assisted-living sites in Fall River, Tiverton, Taunton, Lakeville, Dartmouth and elsewhere.

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Give Fearlessly Story: Meet Service Dog Jacob

via www.baltimoresun.com

When Debbie Catena wakes up at 6:25 a.m., it’s not the beep of an alarm clock that gets her attention, but a nudge and a sniff from her golden retriever, Jacob.

A childhood illness left Catena with 60 percent hearing loss in her right ear and completely deaf in her left ear. Jacob is a hearing dog that was paired with Catena, a 55-year-old Ellicott City resident, through Fidos for Freedom, a nonprofit organization based in Laurel that provides service dogs, hearing dogs and therapy dogs to residents of the Baltimore-Washington area. Catena is unable to hear her alarm most mornings, but Jacob makes sure she is up in time to catch the MARC train to Washington for work.

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Marine now raising his 13th Puppy for Leader Dogs for the Blind

via www.jdnews.com

At home, 5-month-old Hero is a typical playful and curious black lab, one that loves belly rubs and games of fetch. At work, he is an attentive and protective companion that will one day become a future guide dog for the blind and visually impaired.

Hero is the 13th puppy that has come into Brad Vande Hei’s life for a great cause. Since age 11, Vande Hei has seen the impact that raising a leader dog has in the lives of host families and future leader dog owners. Growing up in Wisconsin, his parents served as volunteer puppy raisers through a Michigan based organization called Leader Dogs for the Blind.

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Dog adoption tales: You can't hit undo but you can make it better

Looking back at the first few months with our adopted dog, I can see so many mistakes we made. Mistakes that I would love to do over, or hit the undo button on. Sadly, my time machine is broken so instead it is better that I forgive myself, and be grateful that my dog loves and trusts me today.

I've mentioned here before that I grew up with a mother who was a dog trainer in the 1970s and 80s. She trained our dogs, winning lots of ribbons, plates and crystal bowls at dog shows. She also trained a lot of other people's dogs privately and in groups. When we adopted our dog, I knew from my childhood experiences the importance of crate training. I knew how much our dogs loved theirs. I used to play hide and seek in them, or take my afternoon nap in one with Tasha or Shadow. Our dogs used them as sanctuaries from us kids, and as safe havens when we traveled to dog shows.

Why didn't I do a better job at crate training my dog Cleo?

cleo-goodbye-dog-crate
The day we sold the dog crate

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Game Time or Old Dog Seeks Tricks

My dog is gradually losing her eyesight. She's an older dog so it isn't a shock, but it is an adjustment to both of us. Cleo is constantly relearning her routes, and relearning distances between objects and her nose. During her navigation, she is learning to listen to our guiding words. Probably due to her arthritis, and I'd like to think her canine wisdom, she takes a slower pace now. No more racing wildly down the hall towards the front door.

With her senior years here, we are finding new ways to play. She was never one to play much fetch, so getting a ball with a bell inside isn't necessary. Her squeaky toys are still fun, but not as often. We searched around for ways to play, and keep her brain stimulated, that were fun for her personality but also safe. We created our own version of a favorite childhood game, but modified for old, slow, half-blind dogs, who are loved like crazy.

 

image from www.grouchypuppy.com
Cleo captures "the flag" during Hide and Seek

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Influence Positively Stories: Emotional support & psychiatric service dogs

via www.cnn.com

(CNN) -- His name is Valor. He's half Labrador retriever, half Great Dane, and goes everywhere with Sgt. Charles Hernandez. But Valor is more than a pet -- Hernandez considers the dog a personal physician.

When Hernandez was having seizures, Valor would nibble on the side of Hernandez's leg before the veteran realized anything was wrong. And the dog pulls him away from conflicts and jumps on him during anxiety attacks to calm him down. In combination with medications, Hernandez says the dog has helped his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I'm alive again," says Hernandez, 49, of the Bronx, New York, now retired from the U.S. National Guard. "What keeps me going is my dog."

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New donations keep Florida hospital pet therapy program going

"Murray came to the hospital 3 years ago through a grant from the family of a sick child worth thousands of dollars. The family wanted to create a "pet therapy" program, and it continues today through new and ongoing donations from other families."

image from www.wogx.com

ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

It's not the sound of a doctor's shoes down the hallway at Florida Hospital for Children, but Murray still makes his daily rounds as an "MD" -- medical dog.

"As you see, he's got badges and is an employee here at the hospital who doesn't get paid," explains Murray's handler, Traci Woods with Florida Hospital.

While Murray doesn't get a paycheck, this Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mix knows it's about what he pays out -- healing and happiness.

Sometimes though, it's the unexpected visit that means the most.

"When I see a service dog, I get overly excited, and I just love 'em to pieces! I really do. I don't think there are enough of them!" says one woman passing Murray in the hallway. "I was so gloomy because my great-grandson is in here having surgery, but when I see [Murray], it just brightens your day!"

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Eli Lilly partnership training diabetic alert dogs

image from www.wishtv.com
INDIANPOLIS (WISH) - Dogs are known as a man's best friend, but for diabetics they are proven life savers. 

A joint partnership between the Indianapolis Canine Assistant Network and Eli Lilly is training dogs to detect low blood sugar attacks in diabetics.

One of those dogs, a 2-year-old black lab named Pete, can smell out a when a diabetic's blood sugar gets really low.  

 “A dog is 10,000 times more sensitive to smell than we are. They have (an) entire chamber of receptors in their nose just for smell," said Dr. Dana Hardin with Eli Lilly.

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Big Success with Nursing Home Residents: Pet Assisted Therapy

 

image from fairport-eastrochester-perinton.whec.com
Pet Assisted Therapy at The Baird Nursing Home

Dogs and cats and bunnies...oh my!  The Baird Nursing Home played host to a variety of different four-legged guests July 26 as part of a visit from the Pet Assisted Therapy division of Lollypop Farm.
 
"Our residents always react so positively to seeing the animals.  They smile, ask questions, and engage socially with those around them," said Activities Director of The Baird Nursing Home, Pat Moore.  "I think it's the idea of bringing in new energy and new excitement that motivates our residents to perk up and simply enjoy themselves."
 
The recent visit was not the first meeting between Pet Assisted Therapy and The Baird Nursing Home.  According to Moore, the relationshp is years strong and has always been a big success with residents. 

 "It reminds me of being a kid on our family farm!" said resident Peggy Miller of Rochester as she welcomed Woody, a guinea pig, with a pat on the head.  "The animals are such a welcomed surprise each and every time they come!"

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Flying Colors: From California Stray to Search Dog Trainee

Cleo's First Few MonthsYou may not know this but my dog Cleo was surrendered to a shelter in Northern California. We never would have met if the shelter hadn't contacted the San Francisco SPCA, and told them how great she was.

We never could have had these past seven years together, showing off her talent and cuteness on this website, her if she hadn't passed with flying colors all of the tests the SF-SPCA gave her.

They were her advocate, and gave her a chance at performing the role she was made for -- that of Grouchy Puppy muse.

Meet Lilah, another former shelter dog

In January 2011, the National Search Dog Foundation (SDF) received a call from volunteer Andrea Bergquist (whose husband Chris is a handler with Sacramento Task Force 7), letting them know that she had discovered an excellent Search Dog candidate at the Sacramento SPCA.

SDF - image from api.ning.com
Lilah and Marshia Hall

Lilah, a one year-old Black Lab, had been picked up as a stray by the shelter. Suffering from kennel cough and described as “friendly but skinny,” She was evaluated by Andrea for search and rescue work. Lilah passed with flying colors and was transported down south to begin her training.

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New Program Gives Dogs and Veterans Second Chance at Life

via ct.counseling.org

The Louisiana Counseling Association (LCA) has teamed up with the Louisiana National Guard and a local animal rescue program to aid the mental health of the state’s veteran population and save dogs’ lives in the process.

The collaboration, called the Patriot Dog Program, will pair returning service members living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with rescue dogs that have been trained to become therapy dogs. In a sense, both parties will get a second chance at life.

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Meet Brave Florence the three-legged Chihuahua and new therapy dog

via www.timesrecordnews.com

One little Chihuahua has a special way of teaching Wichita Falls children about being brave.

Her name is Florence, and she is a rescue dog who recently passed her therapy dog registration tests — despite having just three legs.

Florence will join Michelle Nester in her PuppyLove Reading program in the schools this fall, where she will snuggle into children's laps while they read to her.

She is practicing her listening skills this summer by visiting children in a Wichita Falls Public Library reading program.

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Rare Lobster-sniffing Shepherd tracks illegally caught female lobsters

via www.thestar.com

When Department of Fisheries and Oceans officials suspect there is illegal lobster fishing going on they just whistle.

Quicker than you can say surf and turf, Sonic, a lobster-sniffing German shepherd — one of only two such dogs in the world — is on the case, tracking down illegally caught pregnant females.

“Sonic … is trained to find female lobsters with eggs on them, What he is smelling is the (natural) glue holds the eggs to the lobster’s belly,” said John Stuart, a federal fisheries officer and dog handler.

Stuart and his three-year-old canine partner put in a lot of miles from early April through autumn as they travel the Maritimes making sure that lobster fisherman aren’t keeping pregnant females that they’ve pulled out of traps. Sonic took over from Buddy, who is semi-retired now.

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Diabetic Alert Dog Saves 3-Year-Old Girl’s Life Countless Times

via abcnews.go.com

A 3-year-old girl in Texas who suffers from a rare form of infant diabetes wouldn’t be alive today if she didn’t have a diabetic alert dog, her mother says.

The little girl, Faith Wilson, has a severe condition that must be constantly monitored.

“It’s a very difficult disease to manage and basically it’s organ failure and you have to live your life on life support,” said Sarah Wilson, Faith’s mother, according to ABC News affiliate KLTV. “Night times were the worst. I used to have panic attacks every night and wake up and run to her bed, holding my breath, just hoping she was alive.”

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Prevention: What people can do to prevent dog bites

Dog Bite Prevention Week is May 20-26, 2012. Understanding the basics about dog behavior is important for preventing dog bites. Read this informative piece from Kelly Gorman Dunbar about hugging a dog, or rather why you respect your dog's doggie-ness. Before having a dog, consider one who is the right mix for your lifestyle. A dog's age, breed(s), coat, health, and energy level will all impact your life together.

GrouchyPuppy-Cleo-FBCover

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