Tag Archives: Pets On Wheels
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Share Your Best Friend, make someone’s day with Pet Therapy

30 Nov

Clancy head down

Please consider volunteering even a little bit of time with your wonderful pet as a pet therapy team.

Therapy dog work is so rewarding and anyone with a social and well-behaved pet can become involved. There are a large variety of establishments that are in need of pet therapy to help calm nerves, help with a mental or physical disability, or to brighten up someone’s day. Many times, when Clancy and I do a therapy dog visit, we are not just brightening up someone’s day; we have been the one happy moment of that troubled person’s week, month, or sadly, the remainder of their life. It means so much to people to have their minds taken off of their troubles as your pet greets them, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

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Clancy cheering up a patient at the hospital, giving her a mental break from her pain.

As much as people appreciate our visits, it’s just as rewarding to us. Watching people take joy in petting Clancy, the laughter his doggie kisses brings, and the applause he gets from delighting everyone with his trick performances, makes me and everyone who witnesses it feel good. Even those that don’t care for dogs, have to smile when Clancy waves at them or does another cute dog trick, like playing the “piano”. If you have a Keeshond, then you know that even just the mere sight of your fluff ball triggers smiles and gasps of awe.

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Clancy showing off his basketball trick to long-term patients in a hospital.

Clancy and I volunteer with a local pet therapy program and have visited nursing homes, dementia care facilities, Hospices, elementary schools, colleges, hospitals, public libraries and more. Lonely elders are reminded of good times with their own pets which triggers them to have conversations with others long after you leave.

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Clancy giving some love at a nursing home.

It’s especially special to get a reaction from someone that has been trapped in their own mental state, not acknowledging the outside world. Clancy did just that with an elderly lady at a special adult care live-in facility. As Clancy performed his tricks for her, she pointed at him and started muttering with a smile on her face. A nearby caretaker exclaimed that she had not heard this lady make a sound in the weeks that she had been there. We were all thrilled when she began clapping as Clancy showed off more of his tricks.

Here is a video of one of the favorite tricks that Clancy does at the medical facilities we visit:  Clancy’s “Achoo” Trick …

However, your pet doesn’t have to know tricks to help those in need. Any well-behaved, trustworthy, social, sweet, and well-groomed pet that has been conditioned to a variety of distractions will make a good therapy animal. If your dog is able to pass the (AKC) Canine Good Citizen test, your dog would likely be able to pass the temperament screening test that most therapy dog organizations require.

Clancy dr. visit

“Dr. Clancy” dressed up as a doctor for Halloween, visiting a patient in the hospital.

Keeshonden are especially well-suited for therapy work, for they have naturally sweet temperaments and are great family dogs. They have a natural affinity for people and especially children. They are such a happy and social breed that has more tolerance than most for children’s antics and do not seem to mind hugs. Good thing, too, for of course the Keeshond has a huggable factor off the charts… people just can’t resist wrapping their arms around them and burying their head in all that fluff. Kees are also very trainable, making it easy to teach them manners, obedience and tricks. It does take some time from the owner to do the training, but it’s worth it.

Clancy school lesson

Mr. Clancy is ready to start today’s lesson at school.

From when he was a young puppy and continuing through the present, I brought Clancy everywhere to socialize him with all types of people and to get used to all kinds of environments. We took classes, then enforced manners and practiced obedience in a variety of places such as pet-friendly stores, on sidewalks of store fronts, near playgrounds of screaming children, dog parks (which was the most challenging for us) and unfamiliar places. With some training and patience, you can also train older dogs to be good therapy dogs. Even a couple of keeshonden rescued from puppy mills, who had a very different start to life than Clancy, were socialized and trained and have recently passed their therapy dog screenings (one of them being Reggie, who was one of the lucky ones that was rescued from Marjorie’s Kennel and went on to become a Trick Dog Champion just like Clancy).

Kallie and Reggie therapy dogs

Kallie (left) and Reggie (right) recently became therapy dogs after being rehabilitated after being rescued from a puppy mill.

I didn’t know at the time I got a puppy that I would one day be involved in therapy dog work. Clancy brought me so much joy every day and any time we were out in public, he was a natural with the attention he drew. I couldn’t keep Clancy just to myself when we could use the power of his cuteness, personality and intelligence to make a difference in people’s lives. Clancy took the therapy dog temperament test when he was a little over 2 years old and had completed over 50 different therapy visits to earn his AKC Therapy Dog title shortly before his 4th birthday.

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Clancy spreading the importance of therapy dog work at an elementary school on Career Day.

Clancy and I have so many heart-warming memories of visits that I know made a real difference in that person’s life, already too many to share on a blog post. Many of those visits occurred in Hospice and in the ICU at the hospital. To make someone in those situations smile, to entertain them with something that likely they never have seen before (such as a dog playing the bongos, basketball, or getting a drink out of a cooler), are priceless moments. I even had someone in Hospice profusely thank me because they felt they have now seen everything after seeing Clancy’s performance.

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Clancy happily listening to a child read during The Paws to Read therapy dog program at a local library.

Dog tricks do add to the special memory of having been visited by a therapy dog. A few useful ones for any type of therapy visit is to train your dog “Paws up”, so they may get closer to those that are bed-ridden, “kisses” to get a giggle out of the real animal lovers, “head down” to have your dog lay their head down on people’s laps, and “wave” for those that want to only admire your dog from a distance.  If your dog is up for a full out private performance, everyone gets a kick out of uncommon or more complicated tricks. In an upcoming blog post, I will cover dog tricks more in depth. Just be mindful of wearing out your dog and keeping them a safe distance from the spectators when the dog is in motion so to not even risk a scratch. I have Clancy put his paws up on my arm rather than on the patient or on their bed when we’re trying to get him closer to those that have limited mobility. Though you should be covered by the therapy dog organization’s insurance, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Also, know your dog and if you sense that he/she needs a break or indicating any change in behavior, politely end the visit.

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Clancy lending his fuzzy ears to children brushing up on their reading skills.

Therapy pets are high in demand and more volunteers are needed to step up with their capable pets, even if it’s just an hour a month. Pet therapy benefits those in hospitals, therapy, nursing homes, educational programs in schools, children’s reading programs, colleges during stressful exam time, even courtrooms. There are many local pet therapy organizations out there to get you and your pet started in therapy work. Each has their own set of requirements, so check out and compare a few to see what you think will work out best for your situation. To find one, just do a web search for pet therapy organizations in your state.   Want to learn more about what therapy dog work is, how it benefits others, and typical requirements or other things to expect? This website has a lot of useful information, www.TherapyDogInfo.net , but always be sure to check with your local therapy dog organizations for specifics.

Clancy POW

Dogs sense when people really need their companionship… sometimes the best medicine is a warm fuzzy friendly animal to pet.

Share your best friend with others that might need him/her. It will make everyone’s day better, especially if you could find the time during the holiday season when it’s even lonelier for the lonely. Thank you to all those that already volunteer. ❤

Clancy umcp

Clancy helped college kids take a mental break from exams at University of Maryland. There’s all kinds of needs for pet therapy volunteers. Now get out there with your pet and make the world a better place!

Coming soon… Really! In the meantime…

22 Oct
My new trick video is still in production!  Not much longer now...

My new trick video is still in production! Not much longer now…

My apologies to everyone waiting on Clancy’s newest trick video!  It really is coming soon…

I haven’t had any spare time lately, but I have not forgotten my promise of a new unique dog trick routine video for every 5000 signatures received on the http://www.KeesRescue.com petition to #FreeTheKees.

At a Capital Keeshond Club meeting, here's Clancy enjoying spending time with "Christian", one of the lucky Kees rescued from Marjorie's Kennel (Puppy Mill)

At a Capital Keeshond Club meeting, here’s Clancy enjoying spending time with “Christian”, one of the lucky Kees rescued from Marjorie’s Kennel (Puppy Mill)

At the time of this writing, we’re at about 17K signatures…  please keep sharing and encouraging others to sign.  It’s getting cold in New York…  let’s save the remaining Keeshonden from Marjorie’s Kennel before we have more cases of frost bite and heat lamp burns.

Clancy and I achieved our UKC Rally Obedience 3 title last weekend!  With some great scores of 97, 95 and 97, too!

Clancy and I achieved our UKC Rally Obedience 3 title last weekend! With some great scores of 97, 95 and 97, too! Pictured with Judge Robert Wolfe.

Clancy and I have been busy doing so many things!

Clancy has been bringing smiles to hospitals, nursing homes & more with his therapy dog work...  he has completed over 40 therapy dog visits and will soon earn his AKC Therapy Dog title!

Clancy has been bringing smiles to hospitals, nursing homes & more with his therapy dog work… he has completed over 40 therapy dog visits and will soon earn his AKC Therapy Dog title!

Now I just need to fulfill the purpose of my Kees Of Dog’s Delight blog and write about it so we may inspire others to go out there and do things with their dog!  So please keep checking back in, we have so much to share!  For a preview, you can get an idea how busy Clancy has been over the last several weeks in these photos.

Clancy received his AKC Dock Diving title (1st titled dock diving Keeshond!)  Last year Clancy received his UKC Dock Diving title.

Clancy received his AKC Dock Diving title (1st titled dock diving Keeshond!) Last year Clancy received his UKC Dock Diving title.

(We’ll also be in a dock diving competition this weekend!)

In the meantime, enjoy some teaser pictures of Clancy’s “steal checkbook and go shopping video”.  As an extra bonus for everyone’s patience, we are actually adding much more to this fun trick skit!

Clancy competed in AKC Obedience Novice B at the Capital Keeshond Club Specialty on Oct. 12 and earned his highest score yet, 185 1/2 (Clancy has much more fun in the other dog sports, so he's better at those than competition obedience)

Clancy competed in AKC Obedience Novice B at the Capital Keeshond Club Specialty on Oct. 12 and earned his highest score yet, 185 1/2 (Clancy has much more fun in the other dog sports, so he’s better at those than competition obedience)

We loved seeing all the Keesies and socializing with folks at the Capital Keeshond Club Speciality on Oct. 11.  Puppies make it extra fun!

We loved seeing all the Keesies and socializing with folks at the Capital Keeshond Club Speciality on Oct. 11. Puppies make it extra fun!

Clancy going shopping --  a scene from the trick video we're working on!

Clancy going shopping — a scene from the trick video we’re working on!

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Clancy going shopping with cashier Petra, the Vizla

Clancy going shopping with cashier Petra, the Vizla

Clancy — the inspiration for Kees Of Dog’s Delight

10 Dec

Clancy holding flowersClancy has truly opened up my eyes to the potential that all dogs have that most humans aren’t aware of.  My main mission with my Kees Of Dog’s Delight blog is to encourage all dog owners to enrich their dog’s life, which in turn enriches the dog owner’s life through socialization and the benefits you gain from the strong bond you create with your dog.  Though I love all types of dogs, cats, and just all animals, Clancy has ignited a passion in me for the Keeshond, so from time to time you will see more Kees oriented posts, especially while the Keeshond community works on rescuing 60 + Keeshonden from one of the worst puppy mills in the U.S.  (Learn more at www.KeesRescue.com)

Clancy and I have met so many wonderful people together just by being out through our various activities.  Clancy brings so much joy to everyone that crosses his path and has many fans who would like to see more of him.  Since we do go to so many places and do so many things together (in various States, too!), there will be a new category of the blog dedicated to the Clancy fans!  (Look for the category “Clancy – My Keeshond” for just fun Clancy updates, pics and videos.)  NEW:  Clancy has his own Facebook Page!  Follow Clancy’s adventures, see him do tricks on #TrickTuesday and cute retro pics of Clancy on #ThrowbackThursday by “Liking” Clancy, the fluffy trick dog – Keeshond on Facebook!

So, here’s Clancy!  The UKC Altered Champion, Rally Obedience level 3, United Junior Jumper (1st UKC dock diving titled Keeshond), AKC Companion Dog Excellent, Rally Advanced Excellent, Dock Junior (1st AKC dock diving titled Keeshond), Advanced Canine Good Citizen, AKC Therapy Dog titled, Ultimate Air Dogs AND North American Diving Dogs Dock Junior titled, and the first CHAMPION Trick Dog titled Keeshond!  *More training for other titles are always in progress!

Be your dog’s best friend! ~ SSB  

Enjoy and thank you for visiting!

Clancy

Clancy

Achievements of the last month with a New Blog Post Coming Soon!

17 Oct

With all the dog events that Clancy and I have been involved in lately, I have a long list of ideas for future blog posts!

Within the last 30 days, Clancy completed his AKC Rally Novice title in style by winning 1st place with 94 points and in his following trial the next day, scored even higher with 98 points and took 1st place again.  (I had entered him into two Rally Novice A trials over the weekend though we only needed one more leg for our RN title just in case something went wrong on the Saturday.)

Then on this past Sunday, Clancy and I were in our first AKC Obedience trial.  Not being able to encourage Clancy through the course in the ring was a challenge (which you are able to do in Rally Obedience).  He didn’t happily oblige to heeling in the Obedience ring as he does in Rally and Clancy also decided to be a funny guy on the recall by almost running by me to say hi to the people and dogs behind me.  (Fortunately, he corrected himself and promptly returned in front of me in a partly sideways sit, as if he started to get back in heel position and then suddenly remembered he was supposed to be in front of me.)   We still did better than the other dogs in Novice A and earned 1st place with 181 points and more importantly, obtained our first leg of our Companion Dog title.  🙂

Though Clancy's keeshond sense of humor did come out during our first Obedience Novice trial, we still got our 1st leg of our CD and 1st place!

Though Clancy’s keeshond sense of humor did come out during our first Obedience Novice trial, we still got our 1st leg of our CD and 1st place!

Over the past month, Clancy also achieved brightening up the day of dozens and dozens of elderly residents in nursing homes through our Pets On Wheels visits.  He received rounds of applause from his trick shows he performed for them and lots of love and compliments.  Most importantly, Clancy did get some patients suffering from dementia to break temporarily from their spell to pet Clancy.

This weekend Clancy and I are entered in another UKC Altered Conformation show and we are entered in three Rally Obedience level 2 trials.  I’m hoping to accomplish his UKC R02 title all in one weekend.  Graduating to all off-leash with the off-set figure 8 challenge (where we have to do a figure 8 circling bowls of treats and/or toys) is going to be a huge challenge for Clancy!

Next week things finally slow down, so I hope to write a detailed blog post on how fun and challenging Rally Obedience is!  Til then, please share what you’ve been up with your furry best friend!?

It’s all in a Dog’s Life … in August! Including “Where To Find Your New Best Friend”

31 Aug

Clancy and I enjoyed so many activities together throughout the month of August and we hope to encourage you to go try something new with your dog!   “Part 2” of Dock Diving with the Flying Fluff-ball blog post is still in progress pending more information that I’m gathering from various resources.  So in the meantime …  enjoy!

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Clancy brought a friend to dock diving practice with him.  One of his best friends, “Annie”, a Cattle Dog Mix, made her first baby step towards the introduction of the sport of dock diving by getting a swimming lesson…  or more like a “getting used to the water lesson”.  (Pictured above.)

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Since Clancy brings smiles to so many people’s face when we’re out and about, I wanted to share him with those that could really use a smile by becoming a Pets On Wheels volunteer.  We had our first visit with a senior assisted living facility in early August and just had another visit recently with another facility targeting the dementia guests.  Clancy was such a champ as he happily greeted dozens and dozens of elders.  He even performed some tricks that earned him rounds of applause.  Clancy was tuckered out after his hour and a half visit (pictured above) and we look forward to returning there in a couple of weeks.  *More on Therapy Dog work in a future blog post!

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Despite being late to compete in an AKC Rally Obedience trial due to an absurd amount of traffic which caused us to literally run straight from the car to walking into the Rally course blind, Clancy and I earned our 2nd leg towards his AKC Rally Novice title.  I was concentrating so much on making sure Clancy was only paying attention to me and not to all of the new distractions we just walked into that I didn’t perform the first station, a figure 8, correctly.  I crossed the center point 4 times instead of 3 resulting in a 10 point deduction, but at least it was our only deduction.  We still managed placing 2nd with 90 points and hope to finish up his RN title within a few weeks.  *More on Rally Obedience in a future blog post!

My dad with Clancy at the State Fair while I was checking out the bees.  Clancy seemed to be one of the most popular "walking exhibits" throughout the day.

Clancy, with my dad, at the State Fair while I was checking out the bee exhibit. Clancy seemed to be one of the most popular “walking exhibits” throughout the day.

Last weekend was “Volunteer Appreciation Day” at the Maryland State Fair.  Normally dogs are not permitted at the State Fair, but Clancy was welcomed because he is a volunteer as a therapy dog with Pets On Wheels.  Fortunately, the weather was just tolerable for him to join me with a high of 80 degrees F.  We actually didn’t make it to all the things we were hoping to see, but it was still a lot of fun.  Imagine you were walking at a highly attended public event with a celebrity, or in this case, with a beautiful creature that no one has seen before…  that’s what it was like for us while we were there.

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Pets On Wheels volunteer, Clancy, admiring an agricultural exhibit at the State Fair on Volunteer Appreciation Day.

We never made it more than 20 or so feet without being stopped by what would start out as a couple of people, but then quickly multiplied into a dozen amazed and curious people.  Now only if the Keeshond Club of America paid me a dime for every time I answered “What kind of dog IS THAT?”  I would have been able to take off work this week!  I do love it when people know what kind of dog Clancy is, even if they pronounce it wrong (see my “What is a Keeshond” page).  Several families tracked us down (they said they saw us through the crowd and just had to catch up to us) that used to have a Keeshond in their lives.  It was heartwarming to hear their stories.

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Clancy and I with the honorable UKC Judge Rolando Mata whom awarded Clancy Best in Show Altered in Show 2 on September 1, 2013.  Clancy won 2 BIS and 1 RBIS out of the 4 altered shows this weekend!

Clancy and I with the honorable UKC Judge Rolando Mata whom awarded Clancy Best in Show Altered in Show 2 on September 1, 2013. Clancy won 2 BIS and 1 RBIS out of the 4 altered shows this weekend!

To close up the month of August and to begin September, Clancy is competing in United Kennel Club dog shows this weekend again.  Today we took Best In Show (Altered) in the morning show and Reserve Best in Show (Altered) in the afternoon show!  We hope we can have similar accomplishments tomorrow.  Clancy is an “Altered Champion” with the UKC and now we’re working towards earning his Grand Championship title.  (Picture above is Clancy with his ribbons he earned today and his best feline friend.)   **UPDATE**  Clancy took Best In Show Altered in Sunday, 9/1, afternoon’s show!  😀

* More on how to exhibit your altered dog here:  Do You Have a Neutered or Spayed Pure-Bred Dog?  You Can Still Show Them!

 

ImageWith Clancy and I accomplishing all this in one month (plus our weekly dog training club activities), we hope to inspire you to go out and do an activity with your dog!  Don’t have one yet?  Perhaps my first physical print article (another August milestone for me that will be showing up in a local publication next week) can help you with that!  It is titled “Where to Find Your New Best Friend” (the picture above was taken of Clancy at 6 weeks old when it was decided that we were going to be best friends!)  I fine-tuned it below by generalizing some things to make it more useful for the general public.  Please keep in mind that I was limited on how many words I could have in my article…  if I had more space, I would have liked to have been more detailed!

“Where to Find Your New Best Friend” by Stacie B.

Did you know that the secret to living a longer and healthier life may be who you choose to be your best friend?  Where can you find a best friend that lowers your blood pressure just by being close to you, who will love you no matter what and never argue with you?

The answer may be right in your own town.  Your county shelter has a wide variety of furry, scaly or feathery friends to choose from!  Take a peek right now online at www.petharbor.com to see the large variety of animals near you that need homes right now.  There are so many kittens, cats, puppies and dogs (mixed and pure-breeds!) hoping for the opportunity to be your companion.  You could even find “Other” animal types such as gerbils, rabbits, birds, reptiles or even farm animals there too!

So, you have your heart set on a certain dog breed?  Have the animal shelter contact you if your ideal pet comes in!  To make sure you and your breed of choice will be happy together, visit www.akc.org/breeds to do your research ahead of time.  Too many dogs are given up because their owner wasn’t prepared for their breed specific traits!  If you are interested in a mixed-breed, be sure to research all the breeds that are part of that mix.  You will also find the contact information in that link for the “AKC parent club” of each breed to help you find your breed’s rescue or to help you find a responsible and legitimate breeder (see “Breeder Referral” in the above link).  Please be sure to do your research on the breeder, ask them lots of questions and talk to their references.  Be prepared to walk away if something doesn’t seem right.

Where do you NOT want to buy a puppy?  At a pet store or through the Internet without visiting the source!  You would likely be supporting the inhumane puppy mill industry and odds are you’ll end up being heartbroken with a pup that has health, socialization and/or behavior problems.  An Internet search for “puppy mills” will yield much information on this inhumane trade.

So what are you waiting for?  Your Best Friend is out there waiting for you!

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