Monday, November 30, 2009

Doctor Dog ... in Asia I'd be Dr. Ahnung!

After a two week break I'm heading back to my Animal Assisted dog therapy class on Tuesday ... my Human better start practicing with me again if she doesn't want me to embarrass her :) She told me about this cool program called Doctor Dog, an Animal Assisted Therapy program, offered through the Animals Asia Foundation.

From their website:

"Dr Dog is an innovative animal therapy programme that provides people with what they need most - a best friend!

Pioneered by Animals Asia Founder, Jill Robinson, the concept of animal therapy in Asia began with just one dog and a vision to promote animal welfare through people welfare. Dr. Max - a gentle golden giant - was allowed just one hour in the garden of the Duchess of Kent Children's Hospital in was a visit that was to mark the start of a positive change in the public's perception of dogs and following in Max's healing paw prints, the Dr. Dog programme has grown quite literally in leaps and bounds!

Over 300 'Canine Consultants', registered as official Animals Asia animal therapy dogs and teams of enthusiastic volunteers make regular visits to hospitals, disabled centres, homes for the young and elderly, orphanages and schools, spreading warmth and unconditional love to people in need in 6 countries across Asia.

"When considered in the light of the millions of dogs and cats, slaughtered for food each year in markets across Asia, our Dr. Dog programme is so much more than a source of support for people.... it represents the driving force behind a new movement to promote the concept of animal welfare in Asia and give hope to the many animals that lie forgotten.

The key role of the Dr. Dog programme in our "Friends....or Food?" campaign is to encourage a respect for all life at a grass roots level, whilst demonstrating the mutually beneficial relationship between people and animals. Our dedicated Dr. Dogs represent a growing number of animal ambassadors working in valuable community roles to help both people and animals in need.

Next week i'll be graduating from my animal assisted therapy class ... I can't wait!!! On Thursday, i'm going to "work" at The Lab again. I'm hoping the kids missed me as much as I missed them!! If I were able to volunteer with the Doctor Dog program in Asia I would be called Dr. Ahnung .... hmmm, I kinda like how that sounds -- it suits me nicely!! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My homeless friends at the other end of the world

My Human just returned a few days ago from her long journey home to the Philippines to see her mom. While she was there she went to visit the animal shelter, Philippines Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Like Pet Haven, the rescue my Human runs here in Minnesota, PAWS is run entirely by volunteers. I pulled the following off of the Humane Society website:

"By trade she is officer for a local bank, but Anna Hashim-Cabrera would tell you that her full-time job—and true passion—is helping animals. She is the dedicated director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, one of the first three groups to be recognized as an HSI Animal Advocate in 2000.

PAWS has a long history of developing awareness and compassion for animals in the Philippines. Established in 1954 by British educator Muriel Jay, PAWS was lifted from dormancy in 1986 by Nita Hontiveros-Lichauco, its current president, and has since grown into an organization that boasts many notable accomplishments.

Among these are the passage of the Philippine's first national animal welfare law, the Animal Welfare Act in 1998, and the establishment of the country's first animal shelter, the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center. This center provides for more than 180 dogs and cats and runs an effective adoption program.

PAWS staff is comprised of hard-working volunteers who dedicate their free time and vibrant personalities to the cause of assisting animals all over the country and beyond.

PAWS' Dr. Dog program brings loving therapy dogs to children's hospitals all over the Manila metro area. These dogs have brought so much joy to so many ailing children that the Dr. Dog program has become a sensation.

At first, it was difficult to convince hospital staff to allow the dogs because of the misconception that they were not clean and carried bacteria. When an autistic child who had not spoken to anyone began to speak freely to Dr. Freckles, an original Dr. Dog, staff were convinced that animals were just the remedy these children needed.

A win-win program, Dr. Dog provides comfort and emotional healing for disabled children, and educates the public about the value of animals in our society. In the Philippines, there are still people who still support the idea of killing and consuming dogs. PAWS hopes to change that by demonstrating how beneficial they are to humans.

Dr. Dog is a program run by Animals Asia; PAWS is Animals Asia's Philippines coordinator.

In April 2006, PAWS was primarily responsible for a huge legal victory in a Northern Philippine province of Benguet. This province sought to take advantage of a loophole in the 1998 Animal Welfare Act, which allows the consumption of dog meat as a cultural and ritual practice, but not for commercial purposes.

PAWS gathered evidence that Benguet's dog meat trade sprung not from "cultural practice" but from commercial interests. With the help of other local animal welfare groups, a worldwide letter-writing campaign and persistent negotiations, the government of Benguet relented.

In late May 2006, PAWS met with the National Meat Inspection Services, a division of the Philippine Department of Agriculture. Some of the main goals of this meeting, sponsored by HSI, were to close the loophole, prevent circumvention of the law and establish clear methods for enforcing the law.

Humane Society International commends PAWS for its hard work and commitment to animal welfare.

PAWS is also featured in a story on the Best Friends website in their recent efforts to help animals during the floods:

PAWS accompanied the Armed Forces of the Philippines (they had rubber boats) to assist them in distributing relief goods to the residents - and also of course, to help animals who needed to be rescued.

We soon came across our first rescue, a dog shivering and looking absolutely lost as she was perched on an unfinished part of a house already flooded up to the window sill level. We asked around and people said the dog had no owner, and nobody had gone back for her or fed her.

PAWS' Rescue Team Head - Dr. Nielsen Donato- went in to get her. It was a fairly easy rescue. She had nowhere to retreat to--everything was surrounded in water.

'When Nielsen handed her over to me, a Philippine Star photojournalist snapped a photo, and it made front page.'

'We named her Julia.'

My friends at the other end of the world need help. I'm so glad they have someone there fighting on their behalf. The woman who runs it sounds just like my rescuer Karen Good of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Volunteering at The Lab

This past Thursday I had a chance to "work" again .... this was week 3 of working with the same group of kids at The Lab (a program of St. Paul Public Schools). It's so amazing to see how far the kids have come in 3 weeks. I could tell they were excited to be there ... as soon as they arrived I got hugs and pats from my new friends. Yes, they are my new friends. I especially like this one kid, "R"..... towards the end of the class session we got to go for a walk and "R" wanted to walk me. We just walked in the corridors of the school. I kept looking at him and he kept looking at me. My Human was close behind me (I guess keeping close tabs on us! ;-) He looked at me with these really kind, gentle eyes and said "Ahnung ... you okay?" Awww.... that made me feel so good. He cares about me and he wants to make sure i'm okay. My Human tells me that that is HUGE for these kids.

"R" wanted me to shake but my Human had never taught me that .... well, this week, we worked on it and now I know how to "shake." I can't wait to go back so I can show "R" that I know how to shake. Well, my Human says it borders on slapping and not shaking ... well, we can't all be perfect, right??? My Human is going to the Philippines next week so we're going to miss the next session at The Lab. I'm going to miss working with the kids and especially "R" but I'll be there for the last session. I'm hoping we can have a group photo shot.

I just love volunteering at The Lab!

And one more thing ... did I tell you, that by next month i will be a registered Therapy Dog!! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Therapy Dog in Training

It's hard to believe i'm half way through my therapy dog training class that i'm taking through Canine Coach. I have class again tonight. My Human has been really good this week and has taken me lots of places ... we went to Chuck & Don's (my favorite store!), Tires Plus, and of course the big Pet Haven Fall Benefit where I was a star! :) The photo on the left was taken at the Fall Benefit. I also got to work on Thursday at The Lab with at-risk youth of St. Paul Public Schools. My lesson plan was to "talk" about trust and boundaries. I really connected with this one kid .... I think he really liked me to. After my mom got done sharing my story, he said "I can really feel Ahnung's pain." At the end of the 45 minute class period, he came up to me and gave me a big hug. I could tell he didn't want to leave. I gave him one of my photos and told him I would be back next week (i'll be seeing him again on Thursday!). I can also relate to the pain these kids feel. It was hard for me to trust at first too.

I really love working with the kids at The Lab. I'm so glad they love having me around too. We're helping rescue each other.

Monday, November 9, 2009

2009 Pet Haven Fall Benefit

My Human is the president of Pet Haven so she got to speak again at their largest fundraiser this past Saturday, their third annual Fall Benefit! This year, I got to be a part of her presentation and I got to hang out at the benefit. Oh, it was so much fun! My Human didn't bring her camera so I don't have any photos to show you as proof I was there so you'll just have to take my word! She shared my story as an example of the "special needs" dogs that Pet Haven takes in-- like many of my other friends we came into Pet Haven with heartworm and they spent lots of money to help us get well and treated for heartworm. My job for the benefit was to try to raise LOTs of money for my friends.

She showed the photo of me when she first met me in October, 2008 (yes, it's a sad looking photo of me!). She then showed them where I slept when she came back up to Red Lake to pick me up in November, 2008 (in an igloo as part of the big dog clan). It sure was cold sleeping outside!

Then finally she showed them where I NOW get to sleep ... ahhh, this is the life ... getting to share the red couch with my siblings Mister and Missy! Sometimes even Henry the kitty joins us on the couch! She also shared with them how i'm a Canine Good Citizen and a Therapy Dog in training and how i'm already volunteering with at-risk youth at The Lab!

I then issued a challenge to the 250 people that came to the event (yes, it was SOLD OUT!) ... i would match dollar for dollar all donations up to $1,000 (now, that's a large chunk of my doggie allowance!). I haven't heard the final numbers yet but preliminary estimates say we raised over $3,500 just from my plea!! :) Now how's that for a girl with such a rough start!

My Human then played the following video ... make sure you have tissue by your side :) [Music is by Josh Groban: "Don't Give up"]

Thanks to everyone who came and helped make the event a HUGE success!! You should've also seen the fashion show .. as soon as I get photos from Sarah Beth Photography who was there again this year to take photos of the pet fashion show, i'll let you know! I'm hoping a couple of them find their forever homes as a result of the terrific fashion show!

One last thing ... Photographer's Guild, who took this great photo of me on the right, is offering to donate the cost of a photo sitting session to Pet Haven ... all you have to do is mention "Pet Haven" -- so be sure to call and schedule a session!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Rescuer Karen needs help!

My rescuer Karen up at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue needs your help! Winter is approaching and Karen is doing all the work by herself (she recently lost her helper). The following email was sent out with a plea for help:

"Karen needs to get the tarps up on all of the kennels, but she cannot do it alone and with all of her other work. She really needs help to get this done. With the wet weather, the kennels/pens/straw get soaking wet, and the animals aren't protected from the cold winds. Can anyone go up on the weekend after the clinic (11/13-15) and help to put on the tarps?

   FYI: Karen is quite overburdened with animals right now and with the spay/neuter clinic coming up, there will be surrenders. The shelter is more than full, so there is no room for surrenders. If any of you know anyone who might be able to foster puppies or a dog, it would really help. Also, with Mike gone, Karen is doing everything alone and teaching, too. She has about 20 puppies and many young adult dogs, several with litters. She also has lots of cats, which are very time-consuming to care for."

If you are able to help you can contact DeeDee at

The following video will give you a sense of the amazing work that Karen at Red Lake Rosie's does to help abandoned, abused and neglected animals: