May 14, 2010

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The Boss Man is hatching a new project.  It has to do with therapy dogs.  No, Lyle and Spring and I aren't going to become therapy dogs.  Let's just say none of us has the proper temperament and leave it at that.

At any rate, the Ma'am and I have been helping him do a little background research.  He bought a couple of books about therapy dogs and we checked them out.

First off, we have Penny's From Heaven, by Patsy Swendson.  Patsy is a television personality, not a writer.  That should probably have given us a hint about what to expect from her book.  In the preface, Kris Butler of the American Dog Obedience center commends the author for her "focus and maturity as a therapy dog handler"--Patsy focuses not on herself, or on Penny, but on the time shared with patients.  Too bad that's not how she writes the book.  The book is about Patsy, Patsy's struggles in life and Penny!  Amazing Penny!  Penny visits a patient and she wakes from her coma!  Penny helps the lame to walk!  Penny helps the blind to see!!

Okay, it's not quite that bad.  But it is pretty saccharine and frankly, I couldn't finish it.  Too syrupy sweet even for me.  So in all fairness, I can't give a complete review.  It might have gotten better.  But the first half was pretty awful.

Next up:  Transformation of the Heart, by Teri Pichot.  Teri is a psychotherapist, not an author...but at least she's well versed in her subject matter.  Her goal with this book is to look at how the lives of the owners/handlers of therapy dogs (not service dogs--like seeing eye dogs) have been changed by their dogs.  It's a series of short stories based on her interviews with the owners.  In some cases, but not all, she is able to watch the dogs in action with their handlers.  In most cases, she is able to find ways that the handlers have benefited from the dog; some maybe more so than the patients or people they visit.  For those with an interest in pursuing therapy dog training, it's a worthwhile read.  It might inspire you, it might help you look more closely at your motivations for getting involved in therapy. 

I also want to introduce you to Checkers, who has been waiting for his forever home for, well, pretty much forever.  He's a good guy and he deserves better.  Need more incentive?  Until our new humane society gets built, Checkers sees the sun maybe twice a day.  His life is spent in a 2' by 8' concrete and chain link run.  Not much to enjoy, not much to look forward to--except the hope of finding the right family.  That family could be yours!!