Many of you ask about my furry family. I would like to introduce you to them, past and present.
Current Furry Family
Henri ~ Titles AAA/AAT (Animal Assisted Activities/Animal Assisted Therapy)
The new kid on the block. Henri Matisse. He was adopted from DFW Dachshund Rescue in May 2019 and he is 6 years old. We have already started training to test to become a therapy dog and we are trying out other activities to see what he likes. Update ~ 2/1/2020 Henri passes his Pet Partners Therapy Evaluation and will start working asap.
Remi ~ Titles AAA/AAT (Animal Assisted Activities/Animal Assisted Therapy), DSA (Dog Scout of America), RATN (Novice Barn Hunt)
This member of my furry family was adopted from Australian Shepherds Forever on March 17, 2017. He was approximately 7 years old. We have already started training to test to become a therapy dog and we are trying out other activities to see what he likes. Update ~ 11/5/17 Remi passed his Pet Partners evaluation and is now a registered therapy dog. I can not wait to start working with this sweet boy. Update ~ 11/12/17 Remi has passed his Dog Scout test and is now officially a Dog Scout and can start earning badges. He has earned his hiking badge, obstacle 1 & 2 badge, and his Puppy Paddlers badge. Update ~ 8/30/19 He has also started the sport of Barn Hunt. He is an enthusiastic rat hunter and we are having a grand time. He earned his Novice title in August. Way to go big guy!
Mackie~ Titles AAA/AAT retired (Animal Assisted Activities/Animal Assisted Therapy), THDN (AKC Therapy Dog Novice), THD (AKC Therapy dog), PTN (Noseworks Pre-Trial Novice), NI (Noseworks Novice Interiors)
Mackie is a miniature, long-hair, black and tan Dachshund that I adopted from DFW Dachshund Rescue. My first ever small dog. He is a Pet Partners Registered Therapy dog and we visit children’s hospitals, abuse centers, psych wards, libraries, senior living centers and any other place that requests us. We have just started playing in a nose works class and Mackie LOVES this activity. He works really hard and is so excited when he hits on the required scent. I can not wait to see what we can do with this fun game. Update ~ 6/1/16 I entered Mackie in our very first Noseworks trial. What an experience. I was very proud of Mackie. We passed our Pre-Trial, finding the Birch scent in a closed box. It only took him 2:38 minutes out of the 3:00 minutes to indicate he found the scent. HAHA. That was a lllooonnngg time. We had fun and will try it again! Update ~ 1/2/2020 Mackie earned his first title in noseworks, UKC Noseworks Interiors. We are so excited. He is an enthusiastic sniffer and really loves this game.
Miranda ~ Titles AAA/AAT retired (Animal Assisted Activities/Animal Assisted Therapy) THDN (AKC Therapy Dog Novice)
Miranda is a miniature, long-hair, black and tan Dachshund that I adopted from DFW Dachshund Rescue. My second ever small dog. She is a registered Pet Partner Therapy dog and we visit children’s hospitals, abuse centers, psych wards, libraries, senior living centers and any other place that requests us. She is a funny little girl and makes me laugh a lot. She came to me with her favorite trick, sitting up like a prairie dog. I have put her talent to good use and she has learned how to play patty cake and wave.
Zoe ~ Title AAA/AAT (Registered Therapy dog)
Charlie ~ Titles CGC (Canine Good Citizen), AAA/AAT (Registered Therapy dog)
The loves of my life, Charlie and Zoe. Australian Shepherds. They came to me as fosters for the SPCA of Texas. They were part of a litter that was dumped at less than 3 weeks of age. I fostered 4 of the litter. Charlie and I did everything together. He was a great foster “dad” to so many animals that came thru my home. He and I had a blast doing agility. We entered a few competitions, but we really did it just for the fun of being together. Zoe had been adopted by friends and came back to me when she was about 3. She and Charlie were just like the bobbsey twins. They were so in-sync, it was crazy. Zoe started therapy work when she came back to live with me. We visited so many places, it would take to long to list them. But she absolutely LOVED her job. She worked up until the week before she passed away. I miss these kids everyday.
Reilly ~ Titles CGC (Canine Good Citizen), DSA (Dog Scout of America)
I adopted Reilly, a Catahoula mix, from the SPCA when his owner released him to them. He was suppose to have been a foster for a woman that was homeless, but she ended up in the hospital and never wanted him back. Reilly was funny guy and one of the reasons I learned so much about dogs that had fear issues and were reactive. Reilly and I tried a lot of activities. The one he enjoyed the most was tracking. He was good at it, I stunk. I have never had a harder time reading a dog and he would get frustrated and shut down. After I dislocated my ankle during tracking, I was scared to get us back out again so we went to a calmer sport. Dog Scouts. Reilly loved Dog Scouts because he got to spend special time with me. We earned several badges before he passed on.
Vincent ~ Title CGC (Canine Good Citizen)
Vincent is a border collie mix that has been with me since he was about 6-8 months old. He was one of my fosters and when the rescue group he was with disappeared, I vowed to take care of him until the end of his life. Vincent has earned his Canine Good Citizen title and has had fun running agility with me. Vincent is retired from agility as he is now a senior and it hurts to jump too much. But we do go out and have fun with the obstacles every once in a while. Update 2/4/16. I had to say goodbye to sweet Vincent on 2/2/16. He had come down with a horrible bout of pancreatitis and he told me he was ready for me to let him go. He had a very peaceful journey to the rainbow bridge and will be remembered with fondness and joy. Sweet dreams little one.
Marlo, sweet Australian Shepherd, who was so fearful, even looking at a person could make her shut down. She came to me via the same disappearing rescue group. Marlo was afraid of everything. It took me several long months just to get her to feel comfortable sitting or standing in the middle of a room. There was no way she would ever get adopted. She didn’t show well, and someone would have to work with her long and hard to get her to just be ok in her own skin. So with me she stayed. Marlo was happy in my home and in our yard. But if there was any strange noise, under the bed she would go. She lived to be 12 years old and just recently (6/13/15) went to the rainbow bridge. She was a great life teacher to me. And I am so thankful she no longer has anything to fear.
Meg just celebrated her 13th birthday in February 2017. She is a Lab mix that came to me when she was about 12 months old. She had never had any human contact until she was 6 months old and dumped at a shelter. She came to me as a foster and she was in the same rescue group as Vincent and Marlo. Meg was also abandoned by the rescue group (yes, that makes 3 they left me with) so she has a home with me until she passes over the rainbow bridge. Meg has not had any interest in doing activities as she is a fearful little girl. She is happiest at home or taking a walk with Vincent and I. I respect her wishes and do not push her to do anything she is not comfortable with. Update 8/3/18 Meg said it was time to say good-bye. This lovely little lady crossed the rainbow bridge today at 14.5 years old. Rest in peace sweet Meggy.
Elliott ~ Title AAA/AAT (Registered Therapy dog)
Louie ~ Title AAA/AAT (Registered Therapy cat)
Two extraordinary animals, Elliott, Springer Spaniel mix, started as my foster for East Lake Pet Orphanage. His owners dropped him off for boarding and never came back to pick him up. During his stay at ELPO, he blew out a knee. ELPO raised the funds not only for the surgery to his knee, but to send a doctor to Houston to learn how to install the bionic devise. Once Elliott became mine, we tested to be a registered therapy team. Elliott loved his job. We worked with kids that had special needs. Our favorite trick to get the kids to do with him was to say, “Eli, show me your belly” and he would plop over on his back for belly rubs.
One of Elliott’s favorite friends was Louie the cat. One of my friends heard about Louie from a shelter in far northwest Texas. I had been looking for about a year for a cat that could step into my previous cats role as a therapy cat. When my friend told me about Louie, I said that’s him, he’s mine. I will drive out to get him tomorrow. Sight unseen. I named him Louie “the Great”. And great he was. He loved people, dogs and all other animals. He liked visiting with the senior citizens and they loved him. At 13lbs, he was the size of a small dog. He walked on a leash and knew several cues. He rode into our visits in his stroller and even went out to eat at restaurants with me. Due to certain circumstances, he went to live at my vet clinic. Oh my, Louie made so many friends there. Not only was he great at the therapy work I took him too, he practiced his therapy work everyday at the vet clinic. He consoled so many folks, and made friends with many animals. He has been gone since September 2014 and I still miss him like crazy. To this day, I still get requests for people to see the big therapy cat.
Also gone but not forgotten:
Midnight, my first Registered Therapy Cat, at 16 lbs and completely black, he was a love. Cats: Daddy Cat, Casper, Shadow, Teakwood and Ginger. All from the streets of Dallas and with their own special stories of how they ended up with me.
And my first two dogs as an adult: Samantha the Sheltie and Aspen the Siberian husky.
All of these animals have helped me become who I am today and for that I am forever grateful. I miss them dearly and remember them fondly.