Saturday, December 26, 2009

My New Year wish ...

My mom has the prayer of St. Francis up in her writing/meditation room. I love it and wanted to share it with you. My wish for 2010 is that I can make at least one kid happy ... make one kid smile ... make one kid feel hope ... My wish is to continue volunteering at The Lab with my mom as a Pet Partner team (along with auntie Danielle and Sharpie of Canine Coach) and that there will be more teams out there making more kids smile.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace
where there is hatred .... let me sow love
where there is injury ... let me sow pardon
where there is doubt ... let me sow faith
where there is despair ... let me sow hope
where there is darkness ... let me sow light
where there is sadness ... let me sow joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
to be loved as to love
for it is in giving that we receive
pardoning that we are pardoned
and dying that we are born to eternal life.

I also wish for my rescuer Karen up at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue whom I believe is the Mother Theresa of animals up at Red Lake to have the strength, support and all she needs to keep doing the work she is doing. I owe my life to her and for that I will always be grateful.

Namaste Karen and Happy New Year dear Karen ... or as they would say in ojibway "Aabita Biboon"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Your chance to make a kid happy!

I volunteer at The Lab in their animal assisted education programs working with special ed youth. Yes, it's the coolest program. I volunteer along with my pal Sharpie (he's a toy aussie). Sharpie's mom Danielle of the Canine Coach facilitates these groups and mom assists her. Last Thursday was our last group session (we had met for seven weeks). It was so cool to see how much these kids came out of their shells. This one kid "S" was even dancing with me one week as we were practicing "go to your place." I remember the first time i met "S" ... he wouldn't even talk or look at anyone with his head down all the time. You should've seen him last week ... I got a big hug from him and a high five! Okay, he wanted to do a high five (which is what Sharpie knows) but I only know how to shake ... so he settled for a "shake" :)

They wanted to have a souvenir of us but we couldn't give them anything. We took some photos and I would've loved to have given them a photo of us but The Lab doesn't have enough money to buy a photo printer. They're trying to raise enough money so that at the end of every group every kid can have their photo taken with me (and of course Sharpie!) and we can print it out right away and give it to them.

Do you have a few bucks to spare and would you consider donating to The Lab through Donors Choose so that The Lab can get a photo printer. Sharpie and I are signed up again to volunteer with a couple group of kids beginning in January. It would be soooo cool to have a photo printer.

Here's the link to where you can donate to The Lab so they can purchase a photo printer for their animal assisted education programs. Can you imagine the big smile on their faces when my mom gives them a photo taken with Sharpie and myself??? Of course, I will want a copy for my scrap book too! And so will Sharpie!

Ahnung & Sharpie

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Temporary foster home needed for veteran

My mom just got this email from Janna (who assisted in teaching the therapy dog class I just completed through Canine Coach. Janna volunteers with an organization called Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pets whose mission is "Supporting our military service members, veterans, and their beloved pets to ensure the pets are reunited with their owners following deployment or emergency hardship."

"Hi Marilou,

I remembered Barb telling me that you were involved with Pet Haven. I really hate to do this, but I'm getting desperate. I don't know if I mentioned it in class, but I help charter and volunteer with a local chapter of a non-profit organization called Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet. We provide temporary foster homes for active military and veterans.

Right now we have a case that we are struggling with. We need to find a foster home for a 15 month old, spayed, female American Bulldog named Dakota. According to her application, she is 61+ lbs. She needs safe haven for 8 weeks (Early Jan - End Feb) while Mom/Dad go to Washington State for Bone Marrow transplant procedure. Dad is a twice deployed to Iraq active military on medical leave. He was exposed to radiation while in Iraq and now has extreme complications due to that exposure. The wife can only go for 2 months - he'll be there for up to 6 months for treatment. Basically, he is dying and this surgery is to help extend his life. So we desperately trying to find a foster home for them to help alleviate some of the stress of an already very stressful situation.

Dakota is not cat tested, nor has she really been around young kids. She's an active girl, and does have some allergy issues that are controlled with a regular bath. Looking at their application, she's been fed cheap dog food so this may be more of a food allergy thing than an actual skin thing. Their fear with kids is just that she may jump on them not that she'd intentionally harm them. She is crate trained and house trained. She has been to the dog park and does well, but also has shown some reactivity towards other female dogs. It's been recommended to us that she not be placed in a home with another female dog, but she should be fine in continuing to go the dog park or living with male dog.

The family is willing to pay for all expenses while Dakota is being fostered (food, vet care, any boarding if the foster home has to go out of town, ect.).

If you know of anyone who might be willing to take Dakota in, please have them contact Janna at or fill out an application through"

Would you consider providing a temporary foster home for Dakota? Our veterans do so much for us .... please consider providing a temporary foster home for Dakota so that his dad when he returns from Washington state after his bone marrow transplant can be reunited with his furry family member.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Help my friends this winter at Red Lake Rosie's

My auntie Laura has initiated a fundraiser to try to help my rescuer Karen up at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue. On auntie Laura's last trip a puppy Clarence almost froze to death (he's the cute black puppy on the left). Read auntie Laura's blog for his story from her last trip up north. If it weren't for Karen, Clarence would be dead. If it weren't for Karen, I would also be dead. Like Clarence we would've frozen to death. I ask you to read stories from the Red Lake Rosie's blog .... Karen is truly the Mother Theresa of saints. She is tired and desperately needs our help. Auntie Laura has started the Clarence fund. I pulled this from her blog:

"The Clarence Fund will collect funds through the end of the year to pay for a worker to help Karen this winter.

The goal would be to have a helper for 5 hours a day 5 days a week at $10 an hour for three months. That is $1000 a month-$3000 total. That is just not that much money and it would mean the world to Karen. Rescue Buddy Boarding will start it off with $250 for the first week. Can anyone match this? Or $50 for one day? Even an hour's pay of $10 would be greatly appreciated!

Please make checks out to: Red Lake Rosie's Rescue. Mark Clarence Fund in the memo.

Mail them to: Rescue Buddy Boarding
2211 Pierce St Ne
Mpls, MN 55418

Checks will be mailed all together to Karen in two weeks.

A year ago I was struggling to survive as well. Now I get to sleep on a couch or an LL Bean bed with my name on it ... or volunteer with at-risk youth as a therapy dog ... I get to hang out with my mom at events to represent Pet Haven and homeless dogs. My life is good now and I know I am one of the lucky ones. I know I am here today because of Karen Good up at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue. I am here today because Pet Haven took me in.

Auntie Laura is kicking off the Clarence Fund with a $250 donation. Our goal is $3,000 before the end of the year.

As Auntie Laura says, any amount will help.

I will give $100 out of my doggie food allowance for the Clarence Fund. Please consider giving any amount ... make your check out to Red Lake Rosie's Rescue and mail it to address above. It's your chance for your last year end tax-deductible donation ... and just know that with your donation you are helping save a puppy from freezing this winter.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My bumps are just harmless lumps...

Okay ... mom just talked to the vet who had the lab results. She said some fancy word "cytology" something :) Anyway, Dr. Jim told my mom that they didn't find anything live ... and said the word my mom wanted to hear - 'benign'!! :) They suspect some trauma as they didn't see any bacteria either. My mom says she noticed I had two little bumps last year when she brought me home and they looked like scar tissue from some injury. She said they were small. Their former dog Shadow also had scars like that and my mom later found out that he had been shot when lead showed up in an xray of his head when they were trying to figure out why he was having seizures. I know ... I know ... I should be able to tell you exactly what happened right? Since I have a pellet in one my nipples I guess it's also possible I was shot like Shadow ...

Anyway, Dr. Jim has told my mom to really study my ears. If I continue to grow lumps then they want to do a "culture". My mom also doesn't want to take any chances so she's taking me back to the vet tomorrow so they can draw some blood and do a complete blood profile and check my thyroid. I keep telling my mom "I'm fine.... stop worrying!!" To tell you the truth she should be more worried about herself. She has some GI xray scheduled for Wednesday (her doctors aren't happy with how she keeps losing weight!) then surgery (lumpectomy) scheduled for Monday. I'm more worried about her. It's pretty funny though ... I've stumped my doctors as to these bumps on my ear ... and my mom has stumped her doctors on her weight loss and digestive problems. I think we're not only the Pet Partner Therapy team ... we're the Stump the Doctor Team!! :)

So for now ... i'm telling my mom ... my bumps are just harmless lumps.

Thanks everyone for all your thoughts and prayers ....


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Officially a Therapy Dog!

This past Tuesday, my mom and I took our test through Delta Society .... we were being evaluated/tested as a Pet Partner Team. After 8 weeks of going to therapy dog class at The Canine Coach, simultaneously taking other obedience classes with Danielle of The Canine Coach, I was ready!! Besides, I have already been volunteering with at-risk youth at The Lab and many have told my mom that i'm a natural at this therapy dog stuff ... that's what Humans call this work I do naturally. Hey .... if it makes them happy to call it something and if I have to pass some test to prove to them that I can do it, well ... that's fine. Don't tell my mom, but I think it was more about making sure she could hold her end of the bargain :) She tells everyone she's so proud of me. Well, you know what ... I'm really proud of her too. Our therapy dog class was at 8 pm and there were times she was really tired and didn't feel so good, but she packed up my bag, put on my leash, and we would head out to class no matter what. What a trooper!

So ... on Tuesday, along with two of my classmates (Trugen and Skye) we got tested and we all passed! I was pretty pooped after the test so I just crashed while my mom had to do some paperwork and watch a video on this really cool dog Sasha who is doing incredible work as a therapy dog. Sasha was featured on Fox9 News ... maybe some day I'll also get to be featured on TV.

Now that i'm officially a registered therapy dog (well ... after my mom completes and sends in all the paperwork!) I need to get my mom to work on my resume and my business cards. I've met other therapy dogs in my volunteer work and they all have business cards. I should have one too! It will be a tough decision for me to decide which one of model poses to use :) Or maybe I should have my mom take more photos of me :)

I slept so hard Tuesday night and the next morning our backyard was covered with snow. My mom let me out to do my business .... I used to love the snow but now I just quickly do my business and ask to be let back into the house. I want to make sure mom knows that I have no desire to be an outside dog again. A little over a year ago I was having to fend for myself up at the Red Lake reservation and it was no fun having to scrounge for food, protect myself and sleep outside in the frigid cold. Yes, I much prefer my mom's red couch to sleep on!! [Thanks again to Karen of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue for rescuing me and my pups!]

Stayed tuned my friends .. now that my mom and I are a Pet Partner team we are going to be doing even more volunteer work! I think my mom is also checking into us volunteering as a pet therapy team at a hospice. There's apparently a big need for pet therapy teams so I think it's time for us to jump right in!!

To my friends ..... I highly encourage you to convince your Humans to take you through therapy dog training and to become registered. Not only is it fun, but it's rewarding and healing for the people we work with, for the canine (okay, that's me!), for my Human and is a great bonding experience for us. Sounds like a WIN/WIN/WIN all around!! :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Give the gift of Hope

Last Thursday I got to hang out with the kids at The Lab again. This is week 5 of working with a small group of at-risk youth through a program of St. Paul Public Schools called The Lab. I had to miss our last session as my mom was in the Philippines visiting her mom. I'm so glad we got to go class Thursday. We assist Danielle G of Canine Coach who volunteers her time and leads these session. Danielle is so cool. I love her. She's also been my teacher in all my obedience classes at Canine Coach. The past couple groups she's brought her dog Sharpie who is a toy aussie. I like Sharpie. He's a young one :) Sometimes I have to give him this look when he keeps pestering me wanting to play ... he's always showing off all these tricks to the kids. On week 3 he showed them he knows how to "shake" ... so guess what, mom taught me how to shake that week so that I could go back and show "R" that I'm as good as Sharpie and that I could also shake. All the kids are great ... i've especially bonded with "R". I think "J" is especially bonded with Sharpie. And "S" ... well, he seems to bond with both of us!

Last week Danielle taught "R", "J" and "S" the "drop it" command showing the parallel of the different ways we can get someone to give up something valuable: a rough forceful way or a kind and compassionate way. They stuffed these toys with the most delicious smelling beef jerky treats then let us play with it .... next she dropped even more scrumptuous treats next to me and I hear in a pleasant voice "drop it" ... i'm no dummy, I drop the toy and go after the even better treats she just dropped!

We also played this relay race game. The kids took turns. They teamed up with Sharpie or me and had to get us to sit and stay, then they ran to the other end of the room and had to call us and get us to come. The first one there wins. Well, I lost all 3 times! But it's no fair. I'm older, have bad knees and am 3 times the size of Sharpie. Next time I am going to demand from Danielle that I get a 10 ft lead! :) The kids didn't care ... they love me even if i'm a little slow to get to the other end of the room :)

I have gotten to know "R", "J" and "S" over the 5 weeks. I remember how withdrawn they were when we first met. It's so amazing to see how much they have opened up. Last week "R" who came in the group with a check in number of "6" (at the beginning of each session we ask them to rate how they are feeling on a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being i feel horrible and would rather not be here to 10 being i feel great! "R" came in with a 6. At check out he was a 10! When asked what helped ... he said "the dogs make me feel much better." I remember week 1 a little over a month ago .. their numbers ranged from 3 to 5 at check-in. Now even when something not so pleasant happens at school before they come for our session, or they get "in trouble" ... they come on Thursdays to work with Danielle, myself, Sharpie and Ahnung. They come with a smile on their face and a bounce in their step. They share more of their heart with us. They share more of their beautiful selves.

Hope. I see it in their hearts; i feel it in their spirit.

Hope. It's the most precious gift we can give to someone and to ourselves this holiday.

Please consider volunteering or donating to The Lab. And if you would like to sign up for obedience classes or therapy dog class I highly recommend The Canine Coach!