Tag Archives: therapy dog

It’s my Birthday, Gonna party like it’s my Birthday!!!

Hi Friends –

As I often do, I wanted to share my weekend with all of you. This time our weekend started early mostly because Dad put off taking vacation time for a few reasons.  1. Mom doesn’t have as much time off as he does so he just goes to work. 2. He likes his job most days and forgets to take it. 3. He likes to save some days in case he gets sick. All of this makes me wonder what his problem is; humans are a strange breed. Take some advice from a working Dane: You should take more naps and play more! I’m only staying awake long enough to dictate this post. I’m tired! Why was I here? Ah yes, the weekend.

I have to say it started good. Dad rested in the morning before getting restless. If you know him this is an improvement because we don’t rest much. After we did get moving I helped him at the hardware store to pick up things he needed to fix a handrail that the human puppies helped to pull out from the wall. It took a couple trips because we didn’t check to see what was behind the drywall before we left so we bought anchors we didn’t need. (I know, I know an amazing amount about DIY work. That’s what happens when you are raised at SDP.) All is well though because we did get it right on the second trip and the rail is now safe again.  He says we need to make the handrail pretty now. I talked him down for the day and we just ran a few more errands and took it easy. The temporary rail and refinishing can wait. Dad seriously needs to learn to relax. We all spent a quiet evening at home

Saturday came and it was my birthday! (Mom made me wear the hat for the pupparazzi) I got a new toy and a new bag of food from my favorite store, Kibble-N-Stuff (It’s wonderful! We hit the door and the man inside smiles, puts a bag on his shoulder and gives me my food! He usually even carries it to the car, but this time mom didn’t let him because he had another customer.) after getting our morning fix of coffee (I only get sniffs, but I love me some coffee shop sniffs), of course (my family runs on Dunkin!). We just had to get out with such a clear beautiful fall day none of us felt chores were the priority. We talked it over in the truck with Mom and she was on board, so we decided to go for a short drive north and look at a piece of property that Mom & Dad fell in love with. To be clear, this is not something that we could decide is ours to move into tomorrow, but it is something that makes us feel good when we place ourselves there and imaging how it feels to live there. I feel good knowing that Dad can do this now. There was a time when he couldn’t allow himself to. It’s really good that he can be in the flow of the moment. This is something all your pets can teach you, by the way. If you don’t believe me, ask them two questions. 1. How much money do you have? 2. What time is it? If you tried it I bet they had no idea what money was or why people feel the need to accumulate it. (Dogs don’t worry our basic need can always be met) and as for time, their answer was simple: It’s now, the only time that matters. As you can see, I had to spend time training my person, it’s exhausting.

Looking back at it the next part of the day was just payback, a sort of train the trainer scenario. I didn’t see this coming. Mom said lets go for a walk. My tail wagged and Dad smiled so we did. Of all places we went to a cemetery. It was a beautiful 270 acre piece of land in the center of Hartford, called Cedar Hill Cemetery. I recommend it. If you’re not in the area you can see it online and from my Instagram feed.  As it turns out I was a little over anxious and pulled too much. This started Dad thinking, which is dangerous for sure. He thought: wait, no interruptions from admirers, plenty of space, this is a perfect place to work! I thought silly boy, there’s no wifi here…then we quickly started with the one step crawl. We one-stepped for the next half hour. Mom seemed to be so far away, and the only time we got close was when I walked with my ribs at his hip. I caught on quick and was happy when we loaded up in the truck. Oh great, Dad found a new place to train together. We were all tired after that but it was a satisfied tired.

Sunday came and I was convinced it was still my birthday, so I woke Dad for the morning walk and breakfast. I was so happy that he didn’t bother to correct me. We did get some of those chores done early that we put off but the fun was not over. The best part of the weekend was still to come. I love birthday surprises. What was to come was pretty amazing. We loaded up for another short ride, but this time it had nothing to with training and everything to do with FUN. You all remember my story that was on the news and blogs surrounding it? Well, as it turns out because of that Mom connected with Kristina, who read the blog. She has a Dane named Hiccup, from a breeder in Maine who donates some of her dogs to WALK and who is training with them to be a therapy dog. Dad drove us down to meet him. We could hardly contain ourselves from our cars. We were driving slowly on back roads so I convinced Dad to put the window down so we could track each other.  When we got to the park we exchanged barks to let each other know we’d protect our cars and people. As soon as we got out though the greeting was smooth and simple. We figured WALK and SDP are like family so maybe we are too. I can tell you this much,  when we were let off lead to play and run it surely was a happy time. We ran, jumped and played until we were exhausted. Hiccup is a little younger than me so I shared some service secrets, but we decided quickly it was time to play some more. We shared three or four long rounds of play.  Of course we kept checking back to ensure our people were getting along as well as we were.  I was so happy to find them bonding as well. There really should be no doubt, Dane people are Dane people, and we know how to pick good ones.  It’s still good to make sure. After we loaded up and napped (with doors & windows open) our people kept talking and promise to keep in touch. I’m really excited to have a new friend and can’t wait to play again soon. I slept all the way home. Another day of satisfied tired. I’m sure my humans are catching on to how abundant we all are. Let’s just call it another service this Dane provides for the small price of love and kibble.

written by DFS

Even Animal can have Disabilities

You know that we want to use this blog to raise disability awareness and I think part of that is to amuse and educate our loyal followers. I hope that Dan and Casper are doing a great job with the amuse part. I know I love their posts. And I hope I am doing a good job with the latter. I think this post might do a little of both. And I know it will pull at your heart-strings. You, my dear readers, have some of the biggest, kindest hearts of any people I have known.

I have come across a lot of articles over the years about animals with disabilities. They are heartwarming and adorable. I would love to share them all and one day maybe they will all make it to this blog. Right now there are two stories in particular that really got my attention. Most of you have probably heard of these stories, especially if you follow us on Facebook, but I can’t help writing about them because I LOVE THESE TWO STORIES.

First, I am going to preface this with a little bit of sad information. I wish I didn’t have to do this, but it is really important to be aware of how little is really being done for disabled animals. There are amazing people and groups out there (like the ones I am going to share) but they can’t begin to help all the animals out there that need it. I hope that sharing this here and asking you to share it with others can raise some awareness about this issue.

Just like humans, animals are born with disabilities every day. Sadly, 90% of these animals are euthanized at birth. Then there are animals who develop a disability, either through genetics or accident. Animals with hip dysplasia, traumatic brain injuries, or loss of a leg can cost an owner a lot of money to heal or treat and these animals are often either put down as well or surrendered to a shelter. Many animals just develop issues with age, such as hearing or vision loss. These animals usually suffer the same fate.

I go on Petfinder all the time. I don’t know why I do this. I have 3 cats as well as Casper, but I still look ALL THE TIME. (I do the same thing with Realtor.com.) Just last night we found a golden retriever mix on there. She was shot in the leg (according to the shelter no one knows who actually shot her) resulting in her losing that leg. It was a front leg which actually causes very few issues with a dog (the back leg can cause much more difficulty with mobility because they bear more weight). She was surrendered to a shelter, however, because her owner said she was “no use to [him] now.” And this was a dog who would have no further medical issues and was perfectly healthy and happy. Imagine what happens to a dog with more severe issues. It is a little heartbreaking to me.

And then there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the stories I find online. I get these stories from some Facebook posts, some blogs I read, and mostly from Huffington Post. They have a section called Good News. I go there every day to feel lifted up. Their Impact section is also full of really amazing stories about people helping each other and also worth looking at every day. Even as I write this another great story about two disabled dogs has been shared on Good News, but I will save that one for another post.

On with the cute stories!!!!

Lentil Bean is the most adorable French Bulldog I have ever seen. (And I LOVE French Bulldogs!) And it just so happens that today he is 6 months old!

HAPPY HALF-BIRTHDAY, LENTIL!!!

See? I told you he is cute!

See? I told you he is cute!

Lentil was born with a cleft palate and lip. In the wild this is a death sentence to any animal. And sadly, it is often the same story when a breeder/owner can’t afford surgery or is just unwilling to help the poor animal. His owners relinquished him to the French Bulldog Rescue Network  who found him a foster home and then a forever home.

After being fed with a tube as a baby he was given surgery to correct his cleft palate, but not his cleft lip. The lip does not have any effect on his health so there is really no need other than cosmetic. Now Lentil is an ambassador to children who have similar defects. He visits the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and even made an appearance at the Children’s Craniofacial Association‘s retreat for children.

I think this is such a wonderful way to boost the morale of children who might have insecurities because they don’t look like anyone else. Well, neither does Lentil and look how everyone loves him. Dogs are such an amazing link between human beings. I know we have made many friends we might have never met since we were given Casper. And he also helps open people up to a discussion about Dan’s disability that people would have been uncomfortable with before.

Thank you, Lentil Bean, for showing us that it is what we are that matters, not what we look like. You can learn more on Lentil’s Blog or his Facebook Page.

And then we come to Mick, the Boston Terrier. Look at this little man!

I just want to kiss that smooshy face!

Mick was born to a breeder in Oklahoma. She immediately spotted symptoms of “Swimmers Puppy Syndrome.” This is a condition where his chest and abdomen were flat, causing his legs to stick out to the sides rather than down. It is also difficult for these dogs to hold their heads upright. Most puppies with this condition are euthanized or contract pneumonia and die. This breeder, unlike so many, sought help.

She brought Mick to The Mia Foundation, a group dedicated to giving animals with birth defect a chance at life.  Their founder, Sue Rogers, initially didn’t think there was anything they could do, but this woman doesn’t give up. After hours, days and weeks of therapy this doggy is now not only walking, but running!! You have to see this to believe it.

This little man-made me cry happy tears. He was so determined once he figured out what to do.  I have to offer up my utmost gratitude to his breeder and the people at The Mia Foundation for being as determined as him. Too many people would have given up. Just look what can be accomplished if you have your heart in the right place.

Please check out their website and see the other amazing animals they have helped. Be warned: You will want one of them. I am DYING to adopt Mick, but I imagine he has a ton of adoption applications in already. (But, Sue, if not I am just one state away and totally ready to take him home and train him as a therapy dog to visit disabled children!!!)

So there you go, guys. So much love out there. In the darkness of the world when you are feeling low, just watch these little guys. Go online and find more inspiring stories. Go find your own inspiring story. There is so much love in this world. Go forth and be the love yourselves. Do it in honor of these brave little pups. Do it in honor of Casper, our own brave boy. He will be so proud of you.

written and edited by LJS