We’re Official

I got the email today from Pet Partners/Delta Society telling us that we’re now approved for two more years of Therapy Dog work. They have you fill out a huge packet that needs to be sent in with your test results. Then, you have to wait to see if you forgot something, and they’re going to send the whole packet back to you. I must’ve remembered everything because today it was made official. We’re now registered as a Complex team until June of 2014. Yay!

All ready for more therapy dog work

They’ve changed their logo and colors, so we’ll have to order a new vest and patches. I was waiting to make sure we were approved before doing so.


When it snows to the valley floor in the Portland area, it’s a big deal. It doesn’t happen that often, and when it does it pretty much shuts things down. We don’t have the snowplows or the deicing equipment to handle anything. Usually, if we want to see snow, we head up to the Cascades and Mt. Hood or Mount Bachelor. Yesterday was one of those days where they had the special news crews doing special reports about the snow. You’d have thought we were expecting a blizzard, but no. We had some snow showers.

It was beautiful as it fell, but it didn’t stick to the roads. Our friends at Apolloni Vineyards posted some beautiful pictures that they’ve given me permission to share with my readers.

Snow in the vineyard


A beautiful view

We first discovered Apolloni Vineyards when we spent the day in Oregon wine country doing the Canines Uncorked tour. Then, not an hour after I got an email with permission to post the pictures, we walked into one of our favorite restaurants, Decarli, and what’s on the wine board – Apolloni Vineyard’s Conti di Yal Seriana Soleggio. I had to have a glass. According to their web site, “the Soleggio, which means sunshine in Italian, represents the sunshine-ripened grapes, which make up this Super Tuscan style wine. Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon provide structure and brightness as Merlot adds balance. This wine opens with a burst of figs and bright cherry while the structured tannins tie the black pepper, toast and coffee notes into a lasting finish. Enjoy this wine with flavorful dishes, including cheeses and roasted meats.” Enjoy it, I did! It was the perfect ending to a beautiful day in Oregon.

Prepping for our Visits as a Pet Partner Team

I’ve been asked what goes into getting your dog ready for a visit to a nursing home or assisted living facility as part of a Delta Society Pet Partner team. Kendall and I just returned from our bi-weekly visit, and I thought I’d walk you through our prep and visit.

Wednesday 7:00 pm – It’s time for a good brushing. The more hair I can brush out and tangles I can remove before the bath, the better it is for both of us.

Wednesday 7:30 pm – It’s time for a bath. All dogs need to be bathed within 24 hrs of a visit to a facility. Kendall doesn’t mind her bath once she’s in there. She stands still until I’m done. I try not to get her ears wet. I leave that for the monthly groomer visits. I’m always afraid I won’t get them dry enough and that there will be an infection.

Wednesday 7:40 pm – Zoomies!!!! Zoom, zoom, zoom. All over the house. Kendall does something my friend calls the car wash that helps dry her off. She’ll run in circles and pass through your legs on each circle. As she runs through, I hold out the towel and dry her off as she runs past.

Wednesday 7:50 pm – Time to wipe the eyes and dry out the ears just in case any water got in to them. It’s also time for a breath check. So far, so good.

Wednesday – Thursday overnight – Drying. Kendall’s coat is really thick and it can take hours to dry. She has a fairly curly coat, so sleeping on it won’t make it look any wackier than it already does.

Thursday 5:00 am – Brushing. Kendall loves to be brushed. She lays in my lap in the morning as I drink my coffee and watch the news before going to work. It’s a great time to sneak in some brushing.

Thursday 2:30 pm – I’m home from work, just in time for quick brushing and trip to the park. I work for a great company that sees the value in volunteering. I’m able to come home early enough on volunteer days to get her ready for our visits and still be finished before the residents go to dinner. I like to take Kendall for a fairly long walk before taking her to visit. It tires her out a bit and she tends to be better behaved and less distracted when I do.

Thursday 3:30 pm – It’s show time. Kendall has a fan club of very nice ladies who just adore her. We stop by the activities room to see who is there and then make our rounds to the rooms of people who like to have Kendall come visit. There are always plenty of treats for Kendall as she makes her rounds. Her fan club seems to be growing each time we visit. Our visits usually last anywhere from 45 min. to an hour. It all depends on Kendall. If she looks like she’s tiring out or looking stressed, we cut it a bit short. We always make sure to remind them that we’ll see them next time we’re there to visit.

Thursday 4:30 pm – Time for a quick potty break and a trip home. I always make sure I wipe down her paws and coat when we get home. It’s dinner time for Kendall. She usually takes a nap after we get home.

As you can see, it takes more than just putting on the vest and showing up at the facility to do your visiting. The looks of joy on the faces of the people we visit more than make up for the time spent getting Kendall ready for her visits.

If you ‘d like to read about what it takes to become a Delta Society Pet Partner Team, check out my post from April.

Lessons from NaBloPoMo June 2011

I’ve been participating in BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo June all month – 30 posts in 30 days. During the course of the month, I’ve learned a few things.

1. Writing consistently is tough. Before this month, I would post whenever I had blog material. That may come when we’ve been to a great dog event, been on a camping trip, or hear of an upcoming dog event that I thought was worth sharing. I always tried to incorporate pictures of Kendall involved in the event, whenever possible. After about Day 15 of NaBloPoMo, I ran out of things to write about. I was looking for things we could do as a family just so that I’d have blog material. With a full-time job and a busy work travel schedule, I found it increasingly difficult to come up with fun, original material. I really didn’t want to resort to a stream of Wordless Wednesdays and Blog Hop Saturdays, but I found that it was a way of filling in and stretching material.
As I’m facing a week-long business trip to one of the busiest and biggest educational tech shows of the year, I find myself rethinking my commitment to NaBloPoMo. I find myself asking, “Who will know the difference?” “Who, besides myself, will even care if I fail to complete the month?” “Is it worth the added stress to my busy travel schedule to complete the 30 posts in 30 days?” I know these are hypothetical questions and that none of you are going to come after me for missing a day or two along the way, but I’m the type of person that finishes what she starts. I haven’t made up my mind yet as to whether or not you’ll see seven more posts this month. I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.

2. I enjoy writing. If only my high school English teacher and the theme editor could see this now! I’m first and foremost a science/math kind of gal, but I love the exactness of grammar and the allure of the written word. I wish I had more time to spend composing blog posts, putting in the perfect links to other great blogs, and inserting pictures of the cute dogs and cats I come across in my day-to-day life, but reality steps in and I must concede to doing the best I can in the time I have.

3. Volunteering as a Pet Partner Team for the Delta Society is very important to me. Kendall and I started volunteering this spring at a new assisted living facility that I wasn’t sure I was going to like. Over the course of the past few months, we’ve grown to love our visits and the wonderful people we get to visit with. There’s nothing like the smile that appears on someone’s face when Kendall walks into the room. They say that there’s a special animal-human bond that happens, and I whole-heartedly agree.

When I set out to do 30 posts in 30 days, I thought it would be easy. I certainly didn’t think I’d learn so much about myself along the way.  I only have seven more posts to do to make it through the month. Is there anything you’d like to see me write about? Are there events happening that I’ve not included?

Read to the Dogs Program

Today Kendall and I did our first session ever at the Beaverton Library Read to the Dogs Program. We had four children signed up to read with us, but only three showed up. Kendall loves kids but doesn’t get to be around them very much. She was pretty excited when we got there but calmed down once the kids started reading to her. She got to meet a lot of kids who were there just doing library stuff. The program at the library is part of the Dove Lewis/Delta Society program

Here’s the info from the Beaverton Library:

Read to the Dogs

Thursday, April 14 and May 12, 2011
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Saturdays, March 26, April 2 & 23, May 7 & 21 and June 4, 2011
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Children’s Area of Beaverton City Library Main

Improve your reading skills and make a new friend by reading aloud to therapy dogs. The dog-and-handler teams are registered volunteers with Delta Society’s Pet Partners Program, sponsored by DoveLewis. This program is for children who are reading on their own. Sessions are 20 minutes in length. Space in this program is limited.
This program is made possible by the Dove Lewis Animal Assisted Therapy and Education Program and Delta Society.
Registration is required. Please phone (503)350-3600 to register or sign up in person at the Children’s Desk on the first floor of the library. Registration for the Spring 2011 session begins Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

If you have kids who are reading on their own, it’s definitely worthwhile. They say they don’t always fill all of the slots.