Photobucket Photobucket Therapy dogs spread happiness, love, and cheer to people who otherwise might be lonely, sad or slow to heal. This is the journey of Cayman, a longhair miniature dachshund and his journey and experiences visiting becoming a therapy dog.

Did you know that pet visits often spark good memories of a person's own pets? Dogs often can reach people and children who have withdrawn from the world. It's been suggested by science that petting a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress, and promote healing.



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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wow, They Start to Pile Up Don't They?!

The cards and e-cards continue....

Thanks to the following:

Asta from NY of sent this one:
Kismet the dachshund of sent an animated video you can see by clicking here

George of MI at sent this:
Jack and Abby of Washington at sent this one:
Quincy of Canada at sent this:
Kingsley and Robin from the Netherlands of sent this one:
And another dachshund, Ruby the mini dachshund in Canada of sent this:
Bailey, Baxter, Brody, and Benson of WA sent a really cute animated e-card that you can see by clicking here

And those are just the more recent e-cards! I still got a bunch of snail-mail greetings too from:

Murphey and Reilly of TX at

Ong Bee Bee of Singapore at

Mango, Ximui and Chubs of TX at

Arabella of MN at

and from Sophie, Dixie, and Harley of IN at


Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Very Full Email Box

Just when I thought I cleared out my mailbox of all the wonderful snail mail holiday cards, I found my email box was just as full!

Thanks go to:

Comet and BLU of AZ at

Noah, Willow, Tess, and Lucy from Australia at
And Dobby of NC sent us one. You can visit him at
And one from Fred of TX at
And a very interesting one from the Phillippines from Sweepy and friends of

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A Christmas Story by Sweepy

Once upon a Time . . . in a land, far far away . . . lived two Hounds

who met on the night of the full moon and vowed their undying love to each other . . .

They were inseparable and lived quietly and contentedly together. . .

In a short time, the female hound found herself pregnant and her mate became protective of her . . .

However, they lived in a land ruled by people. And the ruler of this land is a cruel King who hates animals.

The King saw a lot of dogs running around the land so the King gave an order for all puppies to be killed,

and for all dogs NOT to mate so there won’t be any more puppies!

“Ha! That should STOP the spread of their kind!” the King laughed.

The poor dogs cried and quietly slipped out of this land before they can be found

and wandered on a moonless night out in the wild. . . . .

The Hounds joined the wild exodus to escape and deliver their first puppy in an unknown and possibly dangerous land.

In the wild, the Hounds were met by many animals like them who have escaped the wrath of the King.

There was a big exodus of animals and there was no place for the Hounds in the noisy and unfamiliar wilderness.

But the female Hound was about to give birth so the male Hound looked to the skies in prayer and found a Star!

The Star seemed to speak to the male Hound and guided their path to an old house where a Lady met them

and gave them shelter. Seeing that the female Hound was pregnant, the Lady made a comfortable bed

for the Hounds in her small house and like the male Hound looked to the sky for prayers.

Hearing the prayers from the land below, the lone Star in the sky became bright and its light focused

on the female Hound who gave birth to a single puppy!

The light helped the female Hound to have a painless delivery! It also helped the Lady eased her lonely heart.

And the Star remained in the sky lighting up the old house and warmed the hearts of the Hounds

and the Lady who decided to adopt each other and they became a family!

And on that special night in December, as the winds howled, and the birds chirped happily, a bright lone Star

twinkled merrily as it witnessed the loving bond that surrounded a Hounds family once upon a time . . .!!!!

Epilogue: I must tell you my dearest friends that this could be a real story.

I knew that the puppy later grew up as a SuperDog ;-)

who barked loudly at clueless and cruel peeps irregardless if they are Kings!

I also knew that this story exists to the present in several lands

and quiet homes lighted by the DWB Star and kind Keepers.

. . . And with that, we wish you and your family good health, warm hugs and kisses, yummy treats,

exciting play and adventures and may you have plenty of Love in this Holiday Season!!!

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A Very Full Mailbox

Whew! I have been so busy putting up our Christmas tree, working, taking care of my family and pets, getting some Christmas shopping done, and reading up on therapy dog work that I haven't had a moment to post all the wonderful DWB Holiday cards I have received lately! we go!

A gorgeous handmade card came from Lenny of IN at

And one from Tippy the dachshund of IN as well at

Then there is one from The Zoo Crew of NM at

And a very pretty one from a golden retriever named Charlie from OR of

Then from all the way from Australia from Opy and Charlie of

And one of my favorites was a handmade card from Shelly and Tommy of SC of

Then there is one from Keeley of WI of

And Mango and Dexter sent us one from MA of

And last but not least, one from Deefor and Arrow of CO at

THANKS everyone! Sorry it took so long to post them!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

An Award from

proudly awards this dog


E-cards Galore!

E-cards Galore!

Here is one from a very pretty dachshund, Mona, from TX. Her blog is:
And Hercules from KS at sent us this one:
Then there is this one from Beckett from AL of :And all the way from Malaysia is this e-card from Ben and Twinkle of www.colliebenjamin.blogspot.comThanks to all of you as well! :)
I have been so busy preparing for our first therapy visit with Cayman that I had quite a few snail-mail card thank-yous to issue from the past couple days!

I got one from River the beagle in GA. I wasn't able to find him on the participant list but after reviewing the Dogs With Blogs site, I think I found his blog:

Rusty from TX also sent a snail-mail card wishing us a 'Pawsome New Year'! There blog can be found at:

Kirby the airedale from IL sent a beautiful card of Kirby in the snow. Check out this cutie at:

And a rather large card from a rather large Randi, the lab/newfoundland mix from CA arrived as well. His blog is:

Thanks all! I love the cards!

Cayman's First Therapy Dog Visit

Yesterday was Cayman's first therapy dog visit at Hidden Oaks. When we got there, we were greeted by our group's leader and I was given my new PAWS Ministry tee shirt that I will be wearing at every visit. We hung out in the front waiting for the others and when everyone arrived, we all introduced ourselves and of course, our dogs. Cayman instantly made friends with a cairn terrier named Taco. Taco is only two months older than Cayman so they were both filled with the same puppy energy. After that we all said a prayer and entered the building.

When you first walk in, you enter a large semi-formal looking living area. Seated on the sofas were some of the residents. Next to the sofas, there was about three residents in wheelchairs. Each of the PAWS Ministry members walked there dogs around the living area, stopping at each resident and letting them stroke the dog while the handler introduced them. Some of the residents were very quiet and just pet the dogs gently while others went on and on about how beautiful they all were. Cayman, who must have been feeling a bit overwhelmed, sat in a corner observing all that was going on around us. Our leader said this was okay since it was, after all, his first visit. After a few minutes he must have decided that getting attention was better than watching all the others get it, so he got up and let me lead him around the residents as well.

One very boisterous woman kept shouting "God Bless You! They are all so beautiful!" over and over as she shuffled from dog to dog. Cayman, by this time, had laid down, probably worn out from his tumbling with Taco. The boisterous woman had made her way over to where we were and peered down at Cayman and laughed "Look at the dopey kid!". I kinda felt embarrassed since she was calling my dog "dopey" like he was stupid or something but quickly laughed it off. He did look silly all passed out on the floor!

After visiting in the common room, we started down the halls of the resident's bedrooms. The PAWS Ministry had taken photos with the patients, with permission, prior to this visit and were handing them out with holiday greeting cards. Our leader, armed with the cards, begun knocking on the resident's bedroom doors and when they answered, they were given their cards and a visit from one of the therapy dogs, if they wanted.

I had heard that many times, the therapy dog chooses the patient that they instinctively know needs them the most and some will paw at their closed door or pull their handler into that particular patients room. I think Cayman did this! As we were walking past some rooms, Cayman pulled me into a dim-lit room where one woman was sitting in a wheelchair and another was sitting in a recliner, her hands on either side of her face. Cayman visited with the woman in the wheelchair first. She exclaimed how soft he was and how beautiful he was and asked me if he was a boy or girl and what his name was. We chatted briefly while she petting him and then one of the experienced PAWS Ministry members that I had been paired with appeared in the door. I told her that Cayman wanted to visit here when she laughed and said "I wondered where you two went".

As the woman in the wheelchair begun petting her dog, a chihuahua/Jack Russell terrier mix dressed in a Santa costume; I walked Cayman over to the woman in the chair. She still had her hands at her face and said "I don't like dogs. I got bitten by one." I had read that this was common so I cheerfully said, "Oh that's alright, I'll stand over here then so you can still look at him." I stood a short distance away from her as I also read that many times people will change their minds when they see how friendly the dogs are or see how the other residents are with them, like dogs and kids, they don't want to be left out of the fun. So I stood close enough that if she changed her mind, I was still close enough to go back to her chair with Cayman.

After our visit there, we joined the rest of the group in the Alzehemiers unit. This was a seperate living area closed off my door with key code combination locks on them to prevent the residents from leaving that area. We joined the group in another living area, this one had more sofas and chairs and a TV and a Christmas tree. There was an obvious difference from the residence in the nursing home area and here in the Alzehimers unit. The residences here were muttering to themselves, slumped over in their chairs sleeping,or staring off at nothing. These were the residences that the PAWS members had to lift there hands up and place them on the dogs for them to snap back into reality and begin petting the dogs and talking. I chose to sit next to an African American woman with a very pretty kiwi green bathroom on.

I introduced myself and Cayman and she begun petting him. Her name was Wilma. She told me how much she loved animals, especcially horses. She told me a story of when she was little how her daddy's horse had a colt and he let her and her brothers and sister raise that little colt they named Pat since he was born on St Patricks Day. She went on to tell me how smart he was and how she used to love riding. You could see her eyes light up in the memory of that horse, maybe is one of the few clear memories of her childhood she still had. Her mood changed when she said how she isn't as active as she used to be. She said "My mind is still sharp, I used to be a really active lady. But there is nothing to do here. Nothing to do but cry."

I really didn't know what to say at this. "Well, that's why we come here. I visit you all." She smiled and patted Cayman and said "There is only one thing wrong with your visits..." I was afraid of what she might say. "They are never enough. Two times a day would still not be enough." I knew what she meant. PAWS Ministry typically visits the first Saturday of the month only although they have mentioned that with approval from the center's coordinator, we could make more frequent trips if we wanted to. What was even more sad was when she went on to tell me how she used to play the piano and her church's organ every Sunday, but like so many things- if you don't use it, you lose it. She had forgotten how to play. I decided if I ever got a chance to adopt a resident, I would have to pick Wilma and get her one of those little battery operated keyboards. I think she would have liked that.

We actually went over our scheduled time for our visitation, all of us were so involved with the residences. It was truly a wonderful experience. My team leader said Cayman did really well and I was very grateful that this group existed and was able to accept Cayman as a therapy dog, even at his young age. I really look forward to our next visit which will be the first Saturday in January. From what I understand, new members are required to participate in two group visits, this being the first, so the leaders can evaluate how the handler/dog duo works with the residents. After that we are free to make as many visits as we would like. I know I will definitely try to come on some Sundays as well and stop in to see Wilma.

Friday, December 5, 2008

More Cards! A Bunch More

Three snail-mail cards yesterday!
One from Maggie, Marshall, and Opal all posed with Santa himself! They are from AL and their blog address is

And a gorgeous one from Niamh that lives in NC and has a blog at

And we can't forget the card from Callie, Beethoven, and Joe- ho,ho,ho! They are from TX. I have looked over and over the DWB Holiday Card Exchange list and can't seem to find them to thank them! So Mr Robinson and your beautiful bunch, if you are reading this- thanks!

A bunch of e-cards came in too but I am off to work so I will post them tonight. Thanks guys for the cards- we love them!

Homemade Fleece Toys for Dogs

I found this fun craft idea online, just in time for the holidays.
This fleece pom-pom makes a perfect toy for your pet dog or cat and cost a lot less than similar items sold in stores. Cut your cardboard to a large size for larger pom-poms. I would love to make one of these for each of my pets!

First, start out by gathering these supplies.

  • Piece of Cardboard, cut to approx. 3" x 6"

  • Fleece, less than an 1/8 of a yard (can use scraps)

  • Scissors

Fold your fleece in half a few times so you can cut strips out of several layers at once. Cut 3 to 6 strips, about 1/2 - 1 inch wide, they do not have to be perfect! The fleece I buy is 60 inches wide so I fold it in half twice so that I am cutting through 4 layers to make one strips that measures approximately 1-inch by 60-inches. For a fuller look to the ball, use as many as 6 strips (60-inch length), for a floppier ball you can use as few as 3! If you have scraps, feel free to use them up!

Start loosly wrapping your pieces of fleece around the 3-inch width of the cardboard. Do not pull too tight on the pieces of fleece or they will stretch out of shape! Start wrapping the second strip of fleece about where the first ends. This does not have to be exact or perfect! Just wrap away, leaving about an inch of cardboard showing on each side.
Pom-Pom Ball Toy 3
Once all your fleece is wrapped, gently slide it off the cardboard and set it on your work surface. Cut a piece of fleece, about 1-inch wide and 6 inches long. Pull on both ends of this piece of fleece to stretch it as far as it will go without breaking. Gently slide this under fleece, centering it between the loops on both ends, and tie it as tight as you can. Trim the ends of the tied fleece sPom-Pom Ball Toy 4trip.
Now take your scissors and poke the end through the loops and cut! Cut through all the loops on both sides and fluff out your ball. Trim as desired. You can trim it down to be a denser, smaller ball or leave it larger.
Pom-Pom Ball Toy 5
Experiment and see what you like best! Use up your scraps and you can even mix and match colors. Try making thick balls using 6 strips or floppier balls using as few as 3 strips. You can even stretch your pieces of fleece before you wrap them on the cardboard and see what you end up with!

Puzzles for Dogs Provide Intellectual Stimulation For Dogs of All Ages

I was reading this month's The Whole Dog Journal-a monthly guide to natural dog care and training- when I came across an article about canine "cognitive dysfunction syndrome" or CDS which is a lot like dog Alzheimer's. The article suggested to provide plenty of environmental stimulation and had a picture of a dog with the Dog Smart puzzle shown below. Puzzles for dogs? I have seen those stuffed trees that comes with three stuffed squirrels that fit inside that the dog can take out but this was more complex. I had to Google the puzzle since the description only stated that it was a "Pawslicker" puzzle. I came to find out that Pawslicker is a bakery and boutique in NY that sells these puzzles, gourmet treats, Eco-friendly products and more. The puzzles are pricey, ranging about $50 a puzzle, but so neat I had to post them. Hmmm....makes you wanna take up a woodworking class all of a sudden, doesn't it?! I would love to hear creative homemade versions of these basic ideas!

The Dog Box is a great new puzzle from Nina Ottosson Games which develops your dog’s intelligence and rewards their problem solving skills with treats. The dog learns to pick up blocks and insert them into the top of the box. Each time he succeeds a treat is discharged from box. The Dog Box is supplied with three different lid configurations to control the level of difficulty.

The Dog Brick is a clever and inventive puzzle from Nina Ottosson Games that lets you hide your treats in recesses located under a series of interlocking sliding blocks. Since the blocks can not be removed, your dog is required to locate the treats by sliding the blocks with either his paw or his nose in order to retrieve his reward.

The Dog Fighter is a challenging new puzzle from Nina Ottosson Games which is sure to make your dog think. Treats are placed under the wooden blocks, which he or she must slide through a channel to be able to remove. This puzzle can be made more difficult with the addition of two larger pegs used to block the channels

The Dog Smart from Nina Ottosson Games is designed for both small and large breeds. Hide a few treats in the recesses which are covered by hollow blocks and watch as your dog tries to locate the hidden treat by sense of smell. Since the blocks can not be knocked over, your dog must lift the block with its teeth in order to retrieve the treat. Sure bets the ol' treat under the paper cup game!

These are just a few of the super cool, very unique dog toys available at

Apparently will be carrying these Nina Ottosson intellectual toys for dogs too.
I found them on as well as several other sites. They seem to be pretty big internationally, especially Switzerland.
You can read more about Nina Ottosson's products and company on her site

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Even More E-cards!

More e-cards have arrived! This one is from Eduardo from GA. His blog is Click the link below to see his e-card, complete with music!

And another from King King, all the way from Singapore. You can visit him on http://almightykingking.blogspot.comAnd there was a snail-mail greeting card from Mexico, thanks to the beautiful Lorenza. She can be visited on

Better Stroller

I found a pet stroller I like better than the last one I posted. Its the Happy Trails Pet Stroller and its only $6 more than the Ultralight but it holds 10 more pounds (30 pounds total, where as Cayman and my poodle Zoey combined weigh about 24 pounds so I could use it for both of them outside of the therapy visits) and has a cup holder and tray for my things. It's a darker blue than the other one- I like the color of the Ultralight better but I like the features of the Happy Trails much better. Only $79.99 which includes free shipping! Pretty awesome!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


As usual, I tend to worry when its usually nothing. Cayman if fine. Still his bouncy self. Thanks to those that showed concern! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Poor Little Man

I am a little worried about Cayman. He had diarrhea under our coffee table which is unusual for him since he rarely has accidents in the house anymore. No one can figure out what could have cause it. I asked everyone to see if they fed him something he isn't used to but no one claims to have given him people food. And I haven't given him any treats today so it couldn't be from that. I did add some safflower oil supplement to his food this morning but that was, like, 6:30 this morning and the poop episode just happened around 8:45 this evening. Please keep him in your thoughts that it isn't anything serious. When ever any of my animals get sick I worry since having lost my dachshund, Raider, over six years ago, after he got into the trash outside and ate something that killed him the next day. The vet thought it was rotted meat or something. Anyhow, I always fear the worse. Please pray that its nothing more than a slight digestive upset!

Even More E-cards!

More e-cards came today, hurray!
First we have Pacco from Malaysia (Malaysia is pretty popular isn't it?) His weblog is

Then there was a nice card from Poppy, Penny, and Patches of GA. They are from which beautiful airedale is the model on this card?

And lastly, one from Lucky and Roxy Dragon Pebbles of NH. Their weblog can be found at

Let Them Keep Coming!

Yawn. Its an early morning for me. I suppose Cayman just couldn't wait to get some cuddles in. Well, one of the first things I do is check my email and I was pleased to see that another e-card slipped into my inbox while I was asleep. What a nice thing to wake up to!

Kess and her Mama are from Malaysia and have their own blog at Thanks Kess! The e-card is adorable!

This exchange has been so fun I have posted a bullentin about it on Cayman's Myspace to get those friends involved! Not that it's any more interesting than this blog but if you wanna check it out, his Myspace URL is

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cayman the Mighty Hunter

Cayman is a bully- or at least my mom thinks so. Why? That's what I asked her myself. Well....because there was a box turtle or tortoise or whatever it was, in the yard, all tucked up in its shell because Cayman was barking, barking, barking at it and standing on it (it was really big I guess) and trying to dig the creature out thru the top of it's shell. Huh. Cayman is a mighty hunter today. When I got home from work he had removed all the stuffing from a stuffed squeaky bone. This is the first in which he has done this. Ah yes, Cayman...the mighty hunter.

Thanks Augie Ray!

So as you may already know from a previous post, I am wishing for a pet stroller to assist me with Cayman when we are visiting the nursing home doing animal assisted therapy. A wonderful gentleman read my post and pointed me in the direction of his site that sells them for less then the site I had originally seen them. He has the same pet stroller (Pet Gear Ultralight) available for $73.99 ( which is including free shipping in Continential U.S!!!) at

So there you go, Hubby, if you are reading this.... LOL!

Thanks Augie Ray! (Be sure to click on his name to go to his blog which is dedicated to providing tips and information to pet lovers about Pet Strollers.)

Whoo Hoo, Look How Many Cards Came Today!

Whoo hoo! The DWB Holiday cards, and e-cards, are really starting to come in!

There was a very beautiful card from JB, Misty, PooPoo, and Bear from TX. Our first card from cats! They can be visited at Thanks guys!!!

A postcard came all the way from Switzerland from Faya and Dyos, the Airedales of Many thanks to you two as well!

And a rather humorous, and very adorable card came from Addie and Zoe from TX. They even signed it themselves! On Comet, On Cupid....umm....never mind. On to Addie's blog at Thanks!

And last but not least, an e-card from Charlie Daniels from down-under. Australia!
You can check them out at

Thanks again everyone! I love them all!