Do you have a dog that is even-tempered, calm, and likes hanging out with people? If so, maybe you want to consider training him/her to become a visiting dog. This is not for every dog, since some can be skittish around wheelchairs and canes, but those dogs who are sweet and cuddly could sure bring some smiles to people in need of some canine therapy. There are quite a few of these organizations around and each one has their own criteria, but I have seen these working dogs in action and they really help the people that they visit.
Gabriel's Angels- An organization in Arizona that provides pet therapy to "at-risk children, nurturing their emotional development and enhancing the quality of their lives forever." They currently have over 150 volunteers and deliver therapy to over 100 agencies. If you want to know if your pet is a good fit for their program, you can take a short survey on their website. The dogs must be predictable and able to handle hugs and have an affection for children.
http://www.gabrielsangels.org/index.php you can also check out their YouTube video @http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpCyEUdJQmI
Pet Partner Therapy Team is an organization that helps to bridge Therapy Dogs with the right volunteer location and support. You can check them out at http://www.petpartners.org/page.aspx?pid=183
You can also view http://www.therapydogs.com/ for an overview of Therapy Dogs.
Have you ever wondered if your dog would enjoy one of the pup puzzles that they sell both online and at your local pet stores? The type of puzzles where you hide treats in them and your pup is supposed to figure out how to open the doors and other contraptions to "solve the puzzle" and get the treat. Well, my humans got me one. Oh sure, at first I was pretty excited about the smell of the treats in it, I'm a pretty food driven dog, but when they put it on the ground, I was pretty darn confused. I could smell the treats, but couldn't figure out how to get the tasty treats out of it. I'm a terrier, so I personally think I'm a naturally smart dude, but this contraption had me stumped. I tried everything to get the treats, sniffing at it, barking at it, begging my humans to get it out for me, and even walking away and letting it think I didn't care about it. Nothing made it give up its treats. Ridiculous. My humans tried and tried to encourage me. Finally, I figured out the quick flip one. Wha laaa, a treat! So, now I was a lot more driven...to bark at my humans.
I think I am going to get this thing down. I just need a bit more time than they are giving me to write this. I will update it when I have all the doors and gadgets solved. In fairness to me and my intelligence, my cousin G just patted at it and walked away. I'm a more curious guy.
I am so excited! I found this awesome book about a tween who may be just as cool as I am. O.K maybe I am pushing it, but he might be the cool human version of me. In this book, Frenchie's Blog, Ethan, who is a 13-year-old boy, by the way, starts a blog to coerce his overworked mom into allowing him to get a French Bulldog.
That word "Coercing" might just be familiar to you if you have kids at home. I know that is how my human sibling got me. Begged, pleaded, and even wrote a paper on why she should have a dog. Lucky me.
What I like the most about this book is that it would be a great influence on tweens and their caring for their pet. So, I contacted the author, the lovely Mrs. Mary L. Laudien, (who was a principle so she probably knows a thing or two about tweens) to ask her all about it. Guess what? She not only writes super cool books, but she also visits schools to inspire kids about writing.
This book can actually be a three-for-one activity.
1). Your tween reads a funny story about a boy who wants a dog so badly he is willing to do what ever it takes to get one, which can be a great message on being willing to work for something. Plus, your tween keeps up on their reading skills.
2). Kids are encouraged to take good care of their favorite best friend.
3) Then, they can try to write their own blog or maybe be inspired to write a comment on Frenchie's blog site. On the author's website, kids can review the novel, share their own humorous pet stories, or write about a personal connection they made with the novel.
This is a triple score. Two paws up!
Mrs. Mary also gave me some ideas for tween readers to do once they read the book. Lets call them inspiration and maybe a fun summer family activity.
"Think of a time when you wanted something so intensely, that you would do
absolutely anything to make it happen. What was it? (e.g., a pet , a ticket to an NHL game, a ticket to a Justin Bieber concert, a special video game) What did you do to make it happen? (e.g.., hounding, whining, acting out, helping out, persuasiveness, etc.) Were you successful? What worked for you? Write about it."
About the Author: Mary Laudien lives in Nanoose Bay with the deer and occasionally, her DEAR (husband Ryan). Her days are spent scooping up Bambi pellets and replanting shrubs the deer have feasted on as nightly appetizers. But most significantly, as a dog-sitting grandma expert, she has a blast writing novels of puppy chaos and love.
You can follow the author on her blog @ http://twocandobooks.wordpress.com
Have you ever heard of the Boy Scouts? Well, of course you have! But did you know that there is a non-profit organization called the Dog Scouts of America? Yep, it's true. Developed by founder Lonnie Olsen to encourage others to play with their dogs as well as experience as many dog sports and skills as possible with her own dogs, this organization is dedicated to enriching a dog's life. According to the information on the Dogscout website, "DSA stands for responsibility--to the dogs in our care, to our community, and to each other."
You need to check out their website! It is filled with fun activities to encourage us to play. I found choreographed dance, agility training, campfires, get-togethers, and even a few parties on there. I think I would make an awesome Dog Scout!
The Superbowl is coming and we love to be part of the action. Whether it is donning our human's favorite football team's jersey or following the fun energy in the room when said team makes a goal, we love to be in the mix of things. So, how about making us part of the fun. I am certainly willing to play catch with you every time our favorite team makes a goal. We can even set up my own goal post.
Most of the time, I am a good sport when a lot of people are over but occasionally the loud cheering and startling jump-ups while screaming at that unknown box on the wall, can make me antsy. Just make sure I have a nice quiet place to go if it gets to be too much.
So, if you want us to join you, maybe your can make us a treat too so we can enjoy the whole food, fun, and cheering thing. I dug up a recipe for a snack you can make for me.
Football trail mix for Dogs
You can use your left overs, of course, but make sure there is nothing spicy on them, my tummy can be fragile.
Choose any of the following ingredients and then cut them into small bite size pieces and dehydrate them. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can always spray them with a little cooking spray and then put them in the oven at 180* to dry.
Small diced pieces of meat- No raw fish
Vegetables-(Stay with organic so we get no preservatives) red, yellow and green vegetables are the best for us. No onions, garlic, mushrooms or chives please.
Fruits - make sure no grapes, raisins, persimmons, peaches, or
Please check the Canine Journal for a list of foods your dog CANNOT EAT
There is this new and very cool activity that you can play with us. We can
certainly play for fun but this can also be a competitive sport which is right
up my alley!
Dogs of all ages and big or small we can all participate. The purpose is to teach us teamwork and also helps us to communicate better with each other. With the use of herding cues we "play a game" with these awesome giant (or small) colorful balls that includes off-the-leash obedience. I am not exactly sure what "obedience" is but my human was pretty excited when she heard that word. Should I be worried?
If you want to see a video of how the game is played, check out this video!
Attending a charity event with your favorite pal is a great way to spend a weekend! First, since the events I am talking about include bringing us as well, make sure it is dog-friendly. Second, the monies raised from the event often goes to pet charities which are my very favorite charities of all.
I have been to quite a few with my humans and one time my "human-Dad" and I won the look-a-like contest. I think it was because we both are bald, but it sure was fun and we won a prize.... for me!
If you check around your local area, you can often find some charity events that include nice walks where we can hang out with our friends while you hang out with yours. I have also been to a pet adoption silent auction and, while I had no plans on being silent at all, they made some great money and we found a lot of stuff to bid on. Here are a few fun events around the US to try out. Usually you can find a list of upcoming events in your area through the shelters and the humane society or you may just browse online. We found one online called the Holiday Pup Crawl that sounded like a lot of fun. Let us know about any upcoming events so we can check them out as well!
Well, this is kind of interesting! A Bar Behavior Class. Now I know you are probably thinking "Hey, dogs should never drink alcohol!" and you would be very correct, but this class teaches us how to act when we go out with you to those dog-friendly restaurants and bars, not how to drink. This particular class is in New Mexico, but maybe if I look around enough, I can find some more. According to their website Animal human nm, the class is held on the last Saturday of every month and the cost is only $15. It looks like it would be a good social hour for the humans as well.
They have professional trainers on hand that can help curb those "begging and misbehaving" issues so we can go out with you more often. Well if that is the case, I am going to try and sign up now!
We see you getting on your cycling gear and pulling your bike out of the garage. Don't think for a minute we miss that you are leaving without us. Have you heard about these fun little contraptions they call a Doggyride? Well, for all you cyclers, you can actually bring us along! Imagine a leisurely day for us canine spent cruising along all on our human's energy.
I figured my human might need a bit more information on this, so I went on a few websites and found that there are many different types of trailers and carriers available so you can find one just our size. Some would be good for a simple ride round the neighborhood and others for a full on cross country adventure. I, personally, do not see myself spending a whole lot of time in one because I get anxious, but I am all in for a fun leisure ride. I hear us dogs are also great for helping on your workout regime. We add a little weight, so you get a little better work out. You're welcome!
Tank has been posting about his adventures and recommendations for a few years now. As a senior dog his explorations are now limited.
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