Therapy Dogs At Home

Thursday January 27, 2022

"What is a Dangerous Dog Breed?" C

alt text In my case it has recently been a YorkiePoo. Yes, I said a YorkiePoo. That cute little breed that is often allowed to get away with behaviors that would never be allowed in a big dog.

alt text I have owned a pet sitting and dog walking business for the last seventeen years and have taken care of many different breeds. This particular YorkiePoo was a rescue so not much is known of his history. When one of my sitters entered the home, after having met the dog a few days before, he ran up behind her and bit her on the back of the leg. He didn’t break the skin but caused bruising. The next time he ran straight to her and bit her on the ankle, breaking the skin. She refused to continue pet sitting for this dog so I had to take over.

alt text Knowing that he was aggressive and an ankle biter, I prepared by wearing heavy blue jeans and leather hiking boots. I also brought along a heavy clipboard to use as a shield. My pockets were filled with smelly dog treats and I hoped that this little guy was food motivated.

alt text As I entered the house, I realized that the dog was barking and lunging at me at chest height. The home owners had their sofa pushed against the wall, even with the exterior doorframe. So the dog was able to get to me from the back of the sofa, which is when my clipboard came in handy. I held it in front of me to protect my upper body from being bitten. He then jumped off of the sofa and came charging at me. That’s when I pulled the cookies out of my pocket. I tossed them in front of me and he stopped his attack so that he could gobble up the treats. After that, he was my buddy and actually cuddled with me on the sofa. I still didn’t entirely trust him and each time I entered the house he started a little game of “protect the house” and I would ignore him, other than throwing the treats on the ground to redirect him.

Even though this dog is small, having a ten pound projectile coming at you with teeth bared is unnerving. Dog bites, even from small dogs, can become infected leading to potentially dangerous results. I take care of Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, etc. and never have any fear of them, but this YorkiePoo.

There is a reason that TDI’s testing requirements do not differentiate based on the size of the dog. A small dog is capable of being trained to do everything that a big dog can do. My second therapy dog was a thirteen pound Poodle-Jack Russell-Shih Tzu mix and probably the best behaved dog I have ever had. I practiced what I reached with her. She was taken to obedience classes as soon as she was old enough. She competed in Agility and worked as a Therapy dog for sixteen years. I always expected big dog behavior from her and I got it.

What breed is a dangerous dog breed? Any breed is capable of biting. I think socialization is the key, no matter the size of the dog. Every dog deserves the opportunity to be a good dog!

This article was written to demonstrate that all dogs, no matter what kind of breed can bite not only larger breeds from which some are listed as dangerous dogs. We just picked a small dog which should emphasize that for our purpose all breeds must be trained and tested no matter what the size. All dogs have a common ancestor, the Wolf. Mankind trained dogs for specific purposes by selecting certain needed or wanted characteristics (Breed Specifics). U



Understanding dog behavior. This photo was not staged. What does it show us? Even a visiting dog would love to be part of this pack. Can you see the dog who is not a permanent member of this pack? U


A. Playing with his favorite toy!


J. Visiting Grandpa with his dogs!


"By the End of Every Summer Season, They Have a Dog Swim at Our City Pool" D

alt text Regent and I love this day! He is a water loving German Shepherd Dog and all of his doggy and human friends show up to swim and play. At the swim last year, Regent spotted his Golden Retriever friend Charlie across the pool. Regent started crying and yelping in excitement. They had not seen each other in years, but had played together as puppies. Charlie recognized Regent too and a joyful reunion was on.

Sometimes we take our dogs for granted. I never thought Regent would remember Charlie after that much time, but the two old friends remembered and were happy to see each other. We humans can learn a lot from dogs.

No Charlie this year, but Regent had several friends to play with. Sadie, Honey, and Sugar were all there and I noticed how Regent knew them instantly. He didn’t cry when he saw them like he did with Charlie, but he sees them more often.

This year I saw how dog fights can happen so easily. A couple came into the pool area with three big dogs. As they came in, they were immediately all over Regent sniffing and circling him. He remained calm. I told him to sit and asked the people to please come get their dogs. A bad situation could have developed if Regent were not such a well socialized dog with a good temperament. German Shepherd Dogs sometimes get a bad reputation that is not deserved. I’m proud of my boy!

The Importance of the Socialization of Dogs from Puppy-hood on. Dogs Should Have the Opportunity to Interact with Other Dogs. U


J. Taking a break singing, but not playing the piano.

"Not good to let them know how much I can do besides walking“


Emma May enjoys shredding tissues and pretending to be innocent!


Rush having a blast!


Tuesday January 25, 2022

"BJ's Story" B

alt text This is a true story of the little black dog nobody wanted.

BJ was surrendered to animal control by his owner because they did not want him anymore. He was overlooked by many potential adopters because the fact is black dogs are not very adoptable. He was there for months and was becoming very depressed. Finally, a family adopted him and he was so excited. Unfortunately, due to no fault of BJ, he was returned three days later. Well, poor BJ just shut down and sat in a corner very depressed. I was helping with the spay/neuter program there and felt so sorry for him that I took him home. He immediately bonded with my other dog Sophie. After about two weeks of living with us, his real personality started coming out. This dog loves people, so I decided to work towards him becoming a Therapy Dog.

Obedience training was a challenge at the beginning. BJ did not think he needed to know any of that, but I persisted and one day it was like he realized it was actually fun. So with Sophie’s help (she loves training) we worked hard and he passed the TDI Test. He received his credentials two weeks before Christmas, so he and Sophie visited together with their Christmas bells. He visited like a pro. He really loves people and is going to be an awesome Therapy Dog! Sophie has been visiting for two years and is a good Therapy Dog, but BJ is awesome and only getting better. Sophie was also a rescue. Sometimes rescues make the best companions, as they are so appreciative when given a good home. Both BJ and Sophie are in their forever home and loving their jobs. When the bandanas come out, they are ready to go work!


Regent, Jazz, Bailey, and friend Reba playing in the snow!


Bailey Having A Ball!


Friday January 21, 2022

"Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" B

alt text Minnie was a cat that I rescued with her sister when they were very young kittens. I bottle raised these kittens and they were very sweet. As they got older, Minnie was very particular about who was allowed to pet her and when. She loved me, but not many others.

At the time that I got Minnie, I had three adult German Shepherds and she grew up with them. They were always wonderful with other animals and never bothered her or her sister, in fact many times I found her sister sleeping with or being washed by the dogs. This however was not good enough for Minnie, she wanted to control them. Her demeanor around the dogs was hilarious, when she walked across the room they would all look away from her and cower. It was as if they were saying “just don’t look her in the eye”. Occasionally she would stop and act like she was going to run at one just to keep them in line. She would back Barkley, my 115 lb male, into the bathroom and not let him out. The funniest Minnie story is when I rescued Cash. Cash was half-brother to Barkley. He was two years old, untrained, and very neglected and I was told he would kill cats. I had to take him in. A couple of days after Cash came to live at my house, Minnie walked through the living room. Cash was immediately reactive and started after her; well… the other dogs all started for the back door scratching and trying to go out absolutely terrified as if saying “let us out, she’s going to go ballistic…. help help”. All this commotion made Cash stop in his tracks, only to be faced eye to eye with Minnie who sat down and started washing herself, stopping once every few seconds to stare him down. That was the last time Cash ever bothered my cats. As far as I know, she never actually touched any dogs, just threatened them. I have a friend that had me take her dog for a weekend and when he got home never bothered her cats again.

When Minnie passed away of natural causes, needless to say she was not mourned by the dogs. In fact if they could sing, it would have been “ding dong the witch is dead”. By that time their training by Minnie was complete and they always were wonderful around any small animals. Minnie and my four shepherds from this story have all gone to the rainbow bridge now and I imagine Minnie has them all lined up patiently waiting. Maybe even teaching a few other dogs cat etiquette.


Regent carries around the cones when he goes with his owner to take care of the horses. Maybe we can get him a job with the County or State Highway Department. He can retrieve the cones for them!


Jordi enjoying last week’s snowstorm in Maine!


Leia loves to roll in the snow!


Hossa enjoys swimming and fetching his ball!


Katie loves to explore and do agility when she is not doing her therapy visits to see her friends!


This is Jax(brindle), Ella(pointed ears), and Skye(golden retriever). On their off time, they love to go for hikes, swimming, kayaking, and running along side our bikes!


Captain, Crypto, and Kai enjoy playing outside and posing for pictures!


Chewy spends his time catching criminals and keeping the city safe!


Miss Mellie and one of her three feline siblings, Mr. Mittens, at home.


Quatsch and Elan on vacation, at twilight, on the beach.

Benny's first visit in over a year! He did demos at the group activities day for the residents.

This is River. He is two years old and very excited to be starting our visits!

Jake is back visiting at school. He was so happy he cried!

Happy New Year from Maxwell and Tallulah, who are looking forward to spending more time on therapy visits and less time at home with cousin Quinnie!

Clancy is dropping by to wish you all a Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Bernie!

Happy New Year from Quinn!

Just wanted to wish everybody Happy New Year from the late therapy dog Teddy. He was registered with TDI for over ten years and reached the level of TDIG!

Happy New Year from Melody!

Bo is just waiting for the new year; wishing all a healthy and better 2022!

Happy New Year from Kumi TDIG!