Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Never Say Never

I should know better than to deal in absolutes. I frequently comment on how much I despise the words "always" and "never." Yet, in the past I had found myself saying I could never have 4 dogs. Well, guess what? I have had 4 dogs for about 2.5 years. Then my new mantra was I could never have 5 dogs. All my animals have to fit with me in my crew cab pick up truck since I just bought the travel trailer last year. But, guess what? Yes, I have added a 5th dog my my pack and my life. And she's small enough to fit in the truck with everyone.

Many people already suspected that I was going to keep Bella the beagle mix puppy from Floyd County Animal Control that I was fostering for Road Trip Home. She's the 6 month old puppy that I was sent her photo about a day before she was due to be put to sleep.

I just couldn't let that happen. I contacted a rescue I foster for, Road Trip Home. They agreed to take her but their intake isolation/quarantine was full. So my vet quarantined her for me for 2 weeks. Then the plan was for me to foster her until March 22 when she would head up to Maine to be adopted out from Animal Welfare Society (AWS). AWS is the wonderful shelter where my other fosters have been adopted out from.

I visited her about every other during her two week quarantine. I kept a change of clothes in my garage that I would wear to the vet's office for our visits. I didn't want to defeat the purpose of the quarantine. She came home with me February 26. I changed her name to Daisy. My dogs and even my cat took her quickly. In fact, she and Blaze became great friends pretty quickly and Cori followed shortly after. Chloe (my 9 year Greyhound) even played a little with her. Rio was my hold out. She tolerated Daisy but wasn't interested in pursuing a friendship. Daisy persevered. Rio will now play with her some and even let Daisy sit or lay with her.

I knew I was in trouble when in taking her out to places like Rio's agility trials to socialize her and everyone fell in love with her and kept telling me I should keep her. And then I could not imagine my house and pack without her. 
I contacted the RTH folks and surprised the heck out of them when I said I wanted to adopt her. They were happy, but concerned that I would foster any longer for them. I told RTH that I understand greatly the need for fosters prior to transport so yes, I would definitely keep fostering for them once Daisy really settles in.

Daisy was just recently spayed as part of her adoption and is now recovering. The rest of her siblings have been being sweet and gentle with her while
So Daisy has officially joined Team Zero Gravity. Hopefully as she grows and develops she'll be interested in agility, nose works, musical freestyle and maybe even pet therapy. Time will tell. She is shy but friendly and definitely reminds me of a younger Rio. She really likes other dogs. She likes some people right off the bat. Others she has to warm up to more. New places are a little overwhelming to her, but she loves to travel and GO TO places. I also know that just like Rio, time and patience will pay off. And just like Rio, Daisy will be worth it.

The only negative is that this new development also means I need a new group photo taken in the near future...Seems like the only constant in life is change :)

She has already been added to the Team Zero Gravity blog banner and her photo is listed on right side of the blog.

There's never a dull moment with Team Zero Gravity!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cori's Day to Shine

I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from the folks at the local library where Cori and I do pet therapy at. Cori is a Reading Education Assistance Dog.

She and I visit our local library twice a month. Children sign up to come in and read to her. It's a great program and has been proven to help improve literacy rates in children: Research and Results of Reading Education Assistance Dog Programs

Cori loves it. It's funny too because Cori is a somewhat shy dog. She's not a fan of new places (especially new buildings). She's also not a fan of crowds or the hustle and bustle of being out in public. Yet at our local library, in our reading room, with the children, she shines and is in her element. Cori would NOT enjoy visiting a hospital or assisted living facility. Yet, at the library with the children, she's clearly happy and comfortable.

She greets each child as they come in to read to her. She then lays down by them while they read to her. She looks at any pictures in the book when the children show them to her. When the child's session is done, she gets up and walks them to the door. She amazes me with her warm, comfort and enjoyment of these sessions.

In fact, a photo of her with one of her favorite readers was just in our local paper this week: http://www.ledgernews.com/news/top_stories/lending-a-supportive-ear/image_d2c226de-8b1e-11e2-a78a-0019bb30f31a.html

Here's the photo from the little blurb

Once a child has read with Cori 10 times, she gives them a free book to keep and even "pawtographs" it for them. So far, she has had 3 children read 10 times with her and get their "pawtographed" book.
It's a very rewarding experience of working as a team with one of my dogs while helping to ignite the passion to read and to learn in children.
To me, it just goes to show you that there are all kinds of different pet therapy opportunities out there and that different dogs with different personalities can be therapy dogs. You just have to know your dog and know what they like and don't like; where they are comfortable and where they are not. And of course, they have to be naturally friendly and like people.
I want to take a moment to thank Lisa Poole from my greyhound group (Southeastern Greyhound Adoptions) and now CAREing Paws. She is the person who ignited my desire to do pet therapy. I also have to thank Melissa Saul (CAREing Paws) and Merilee Kelley (READing Paws) who helped train and test us as a team. And of course, last but not least, I want to thank the folks at RT Jones Library (namely Emma Ingle, Susan White, Kristina Canoles, Vickie Sellers and Melanie Pullen) who helped establish the program, keep it running smoothly and provide support for us at our library. As you can see, it's an overall team effort--but well worth it!
I also want to thank my girl, Cori who is a special girl. I am so glad she came into my life and enjoys doing pet therapy with me. I am very blessed indeed!