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My Work as a Therapy Dog

Hello, dear two and four legged friends,

Finally, I would like to tell you a few things about myself today.  Quite a few of you know me already since I have attended many exhibitions thus far.  I was born in Switzerland in March 2004 and was adopted by Barbara in Berlin on May 22, 2004.  I  managed to cheer her up since prior to that she was not at all a happy camper.  I am her pride and joy.  I am trying my best to keep it that way using my Pon charm, ha ha woof woof...!!!  It was easy for me to take the dog exams to become a companion dog for the handicapped, I love to visit exhibitions and in May of this year I also became a therapy dog.   My owner and I visit people in the "Proseniore" nursing home and in the Elizabeth Herzberger Hospital where I act, so to speak, as a therapist and doctor on four paws.  This is great fun and, not to forget, the stroking earns me delicious bits of sausage which, of course, are provided by Barbara.  I am also very popular for my little tricks that I perform.  Playing with balls and balloons are great fun for all,  particularly for me.  With some residents and patients I'm even allowed on their beds.  Some may perhaps find it strange but I'm even permitted to lick arms, legs and feet which stimulates the reflexes of  the patients.  It is like a game: Barbara hides the snacks placed there and I am allowed to perform cautious licking .  You will not believe the benefits this brings and how happy they all are, particularly when patients respond with positive results and even if it is just a smile from an autistic person who for the first time will stretch out a hand to stroke me.  Also, nobody is opposed to my kisses; quite the contrary, one of the residents is expressly asking for it!  This person can hardly move, is totally bedridden and when I, quite cautiously, lick the snack off her chin, her face lights up, and her husband as well as the staff are more than happy about such reactions.  She happens to be my favorite patient.  When we visit, I can hardly wait to see her and run ahead to open her door myself so as to not lose any time to be with my "friend."

Sometimes I am assisted by a Pon mix called "Willy" with whom I grew up, who was also trained as a therapy dog by Barbara and who has been living with a  resident female therapist for the last year and a half.  I am still great friends with Willy, and Barbara still happens to be his love! - On the photos supplied you can see me with my favorite patient in and on the bed, being stroked by an austistic person on a gurney or on a chair between residents and at a game with balloons.  Playing with the balloon, I nudge the balloon towards the patient/resident who then must catch it and send it back to me until the time I make it pop, ha ha, woof, woof, that's great fun!!!  Everybody is happy, laughing and their illness and worries are for the moment "forgotten!!!"

Naturally, I also take a break and go walkies with Barbara and Willy in the park and should I become tired , that's O.K.  too, and I can just be there being stroked.

Yep, that's a great job even if some patients cannot always control their movements.  If somebody happens to be a bit "rougher", I take it in my stride, besides which Barbara and the staff  make sure that it is not getting out of hand.  I have got strong nerves, as people would say, a high tolerance level and can take a lot. Besides,  I sense there is no ill intention. - My neighbor's little boy Sebastian, who is two years and four months old, once smacked me on my rump, I thought oops what was that, turned around and licked him all over his face as a thank you, whereupon he embraced me right away while his Mother and Barbara told him that one does not hit a dog.  No, no, when it becomes too much I go and seek my peace!

There's still something else I need to tell you.  Barbara is simply wonderful, but imagine this, on November 19, 2006 Barbara, returning from Meppen, brought home a little Papillon puppy.  Well, she had dreamed for a long time of training a miniature dog as a therapy dog because that breed is particularly suitable for it.  Despite their small size, they are robust and can be easily handled by bedridden patients.  So, at first I eagerly inspected the little one and I have to tell you it was love at first sight!  Naturally, I now have responsibility and I assist in the little dog's training.  He was twelve weeks old when he came to us and he was super sweet, his name is "Gandi von Annaberg" and the funny thing is he is also a G-litter with nearly the same markings as I have, white with black markings on his rear and left side, but he has three colors which, however, are not quite clearly defined  yet.  He has also been on the job with us already visiting patients and residents.  He is quite a bright little boy and not at all afraid of strangers.  But Barbara makes sure that I am always Number One!!  

All right then, this has been a little preview of the work that Barbara and I do.  I hope you enjoyed this little story.  I would like to thank those with all my heart who have helped Barbara and me so much, e.g. the Neumann family who made sure that we had accommodation in Ülzen, and Ulla Eckhardt who waited with us deep into the night wondering if we would still get a taxi with a wheelchair ramp to take us to the hotel.  Sure, many things were an adventure but always with a happy ending !  

Barbara and I wish everybody a Merry Christmas and all the best ...and many bones for the new year 2007.

Your GACEK-NOURAK von REGENSDORF and my owner Barbara.