I absolutely LOVE this story: Homeless Pets Find Help Behind Bars. Oprah covered a similar program recently as well. It’s such a heartwarming circle: puppies get a home and all the training and attention they deserve, while helping rehabilitate inmates. It’s absolutely awe-inspiring!
Hello! Welcome back! I hope you had a really nice Memorial Day weekend. A three-day weekend always flies by as we try to cram way too much into three days, and this weekend was definitely no different.
Emmett and Lucas attended a cookout on Saturday with a whole pack of dogs: Tank and Buster (my sister’s), Elvis (my aunt’s), and Otto (my mom’s). Otto and Lucas are absolutely the best buds. Lucas, at 81 pounds, dwarfs little 12-pound Otto, but he’s so careful and gentle with him. In fact, Otto always wins when the two of them play tug of war. When the whole group of dogs gets together, Lucas assumes the big brother role, rough-housing with each in turn and breaking up the others if they get too rough. He leads them in a giant game of “chase” around my parents’ backyard, and whenever he pauses to get a sip of water, all the little ones follow suit. But Lucas isn’t as young as any of those pups are, and he spent Sunday recuperating – sprawled across the middle of the living room floor, only stirring to eat or roll over.
Emmett usually spends his time where the people are, going from person to person, allowing each to scratch his ears or rub his belly. He enjoyed the cookout because there were so many people, so much scratching to go around! But then very late Sunday night/Monday morning, Emmett woke me up… I took him outside, and the poor little guy was pretty sick. He still hasn’t fully recovered, and we have him on the rice/boiled chicken diet.
One little trick I discovered this weekend: With an upset stomach, it’s super important to keep your dog hydrated. Emmett hasn’t been drinking any water at all, which worried me. So I froze a tray of ice cubes (one of his favorite snacks), but I upped the ante to ensure he’d eat them. After I put a little bit of water in the trays, I sprinkled Parmesan cheese over top, creating a cheesy ice cube, which he couldn’t resist! I’ve made a couple more trays over the past 24 hours, just to make sure the little guy is getting hydrated.
Via Unclutterer (one of my most favorite blogs!!), I discovered the site How to Clean Stuff, which has quite an array of cleaning tips. Best of all, they have a whole section about pets, with a whole list of stuff that’s pretty useful for dog lovers. For example, I never knew you were supposed to put cotton balls in your dog’s ears before a bath! I wonder how many cotton balls it would take to fill Lucas’ ears…
This past Saturday, Emmett tested to become a registered therapy dog through the Delta Society, an organization dedicated to “Improving human health through service and therapy animals.”
We began training together to be a therapy team in September. The work included medically-specific distractions (wheelchairs, walkers, loud noises, etc.) added to basic commands like heel, sit, and stay. While Emmett is Mr. Personality, he does get rather excited to meet new people and try new things – an asset in therapy situations, but not if his excitement couldn’t be managed by me. So that’s what we’ve been working on since September: keeping him on a loose leash with his attention on me, even if there’s something so exciting on the floor or new people come into the room!
Saturday’s test consisted of two portions, skills and aptitude. And while he didn’t do perfectly… he passed!! I’m so excited and proud of him!
Now I just have to fill out and submit all the paperwork for us to be officially registered, then it’s off to volunteer! I’m so excited, and I know Emmett is going to enjoy working with kiddos as much as I am.
For more information about the benefits of therapy animals, or to find out how to get your dog tested, visit the Delta Society online at www.deltasociety.org. It’s a fantastic organization!