Remembering a loved one...

At one time or another, we have all experienced the grief of losing a loved one, whether human or fur-baby. We often are at a loss and desire a way to do something to honor their memory. Flowers are nice, but they only last a few days. A plant or tree is nice as well, but are you sure the recipient wants the responsibility of its care? Next time you find yourself in this situation, consider making a tax-deductible donation to "Pet Love, Inc." in memory of your loved one and know that your support allows us to continue sharing our pets love with others in need.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How Liv & I got involved in pet therapy

Several years ago, long before Olivia was born, I had our first Great Dane, Smokey, at a fire department function. He was very well behaved and was a gentle soul, especially with children and other dogs. A woman had approached us and was petting him finally asked if I had ever considered doing therapy work with him. I hadn't considered it because I'd never heard of it, and had absolutely no idea how to go about getting involved in such a thing.

I'm sorry to say that I never looked into getting Smokey into such a program, but the idea was always there in the back of my mind that perhaps one day...

Fast forward about 5 or 6 years, Smokey was no longer with us and we had two other danes. A friend of ours had recently had a litter of puppies and had one she felt was either deaf &/or blind and would have no quality of life. While we had no interest in getting a third dog, I was so moved by the bleak future that little white pup had,

that I begged for an opportunity to give her a chance at a "normal" life, even tossing out the long buried idea that I could perhaps use her as a therapy pet.

I still had no idea how to go about getting involved with pet therapy, but knew that much obedience school was first on our list.

After a years worth of obedience school she passed her Canine Good Citizens test on the first attempt. Days later, a severe back injury left me unable to work with her very much and her training fell to the way-side. Once I was back on my feet, Olivia and I started walking in 5k events and charity walks, where she would quickly become the center of attention. The scores of people that would approach and pet her, walk, run or roll by on bikes or wheel chairs went a long way towards getting her ready to become a therapy pet.

Then, in the summer of 2009 I was working a booth at the MS health fair and had a chance meeting with a lady working another booth. She was involved with therapy pets and referred me to Emma who is the president of Pet Love, Inc.

A few lessons with Emma and Olivia passed her test in the spring of 2010 and became an official therapy dog. It only took about 10 years (on my part) to get to this point, but it's been worth the wait.

Olivia and I very much enjoy going to visit nursing homes and getting involved with other events in our community.