I Love My Job

Boji STARS Uniform

“If you love your job, you haven’t worked a day in your life.” – Tommy Lasorda

When you are a therapy dog, it is hard not to love your job! During each outing I make new friends and put smiles on people’s faces. This week I was a busy pup! Some weeks I only have one event, but this week I had two special places to go. I loved every minute of it – even if it meant two baths in one week. I don’t mind baths. My human mom says I’m pretty good during them and boy do I love to run around the house afterwards trying to dry myself on every piece of furniture! My human mom laughs at me and calls me a silly boy – so it must be okay!

My first outing was to the Sioux City Public Library. What a nice place! I know where I am right when I go through the front door! It feels like home. I love that there are kids waiting with numbers (their place in line) and books ready to read to me. Most kids love to pick out books about dogs to read to me. This week I even got to hear a story about Thomas the Train! The reader made the story come alive! So expressive!

Photo1 (16)Photo1 (14)My second event was a trip to the Woodbury County Library in Moville. The trip was extra special because my human mom told me all about her days teaching 4th grade in that town as we made the 20 minute trip. WOW! Talk about a lot of kids at the library. I bet there were 100+ kids there. The three other therapy dogs and I were really busy. We enjoyed many stories as well as all the attention. At one time I think there were about 8 kids all around me petting me from every direction. I didn’t mind. The kids and my human mom were smiling. My human mom told kids stories about when she rescued me and how far I have come! None of them could believe that I was once a very timid dog very afraid of most people. Now look at me. My job requires me to be around lots of people and I love it! They commented on how good I was. That made me smile.

The people at the library were very nice. My human mom and I even got a gift. Mine was perfect. BACON! Oh boy! These bacon flavored Beggin’ Strips are the best thing next to my beloved Greenies. I am one happy dog!

I am resting up for another trip to the library this week. I have a feeling that means ANOTHER bath, but I don’t mind. I love my job!

3 Keys to Happiness

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 1.08.51 PMLet me start by reminding you I am a dog. Yes, a dog with a blog. Please don’t confuse me with the Disney show – A Dog with a Blog. Stan does some amazing work with his blog and television show. It is nice to know I have company when it comes to blogging.

I know it is good blogging etiquette to get to the point right away. Please bear with me as I get to my topic of the 3 Keys to Happiness. I feel like I have to “set the stage” since I haven’t blogged for a while. Besides, I’m a dog. My train of thought wanders at times.

My human mom is encouraging me to get back to writing. She is working on the same thing. Her blog is Learning is Growing. She says we both took another hiatus. I am not really sure what she means, but since I know we both haven’t blogged for a while, I think she means we took a little vacation from blogging. It is nice to be back.

I had an experience a few weeks ago that made a huge impact on me. I have thought about it a lot. I figured it would be a good topic for my readers and away for me to remember the experience for years to come.

There aren’t many places a dog can go in my area except for walks, a ride in the car, a trip to The Smart Store (aka Pet Smart) and the vet. I love the first three. The last I tolerate. So, when my human mom told me I was going to a fancy dinner at a large hotel and conference center I really didn’t even know what she meant. All I knew was it was another fun ride in the car once I realized we weren’t going in the direction of the vet. Another clue should have been the nice brushing I got before we left, but I just took that as another one of my favorite 1 on 1 times with my human mom. I love to be brushed. It feels so good! And, I have to keep up my status as a CUTE dog!

When we arrived I was still a little worried. The place was big, but so is my Pet Hotel and Day Spa. I love my Pet Hotel, but also miss my human mom terribly when I am there. Once I realized my human mom was staying with me at this fancy place I felt a little more at ease. I also realized I was wearing my K9 S.T.A.R.S. vest. I usually wear this when I go to the library to listen to kids read. I thought it was strange that there weren’t any kids there. Were the adults going to read to me instead?

Until TuesdayAs it turned out, I was attending a fundraiser event for S.T.A.R.S., Inc – the organization in which I volunteer my time as a Read to Me dog. At this event I met a real HERO, well TWO HEROS to be exact.

The guests of honor were Captain Luis Montalván, U.S. Army (Ret.) and his service dog, Tuesday. Luis Carlos Montalván served the U.S. during two tours of duty in Iraq. He returned physically wounded and psychologically and emotionally shaken. Thanks to a comforting friend, a Golden Retriever named “Tuesday”, he’s now on the on the comeback trail and travels the country with his powerful message of hope and healing. He has also detailed is message in the book Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him. You can also read more about Captain Luis Montalván, U.S. Army (Ret.) and Tuesday on their websiteFacebook page and Twitter. A motion picture based on Until Tuesday, as well as an independent documentary titled, “Buried Above Ground,” co-featuring Capt. Montalván, will be released in 2013.

With Luis and Tuesday My human mom said I was “as good as gold” at the event. I was well behaved and made people smile. The best part of the night was meeting Luis Carlos Montalván and Tuesday. But before I did that Luis Carlos Montalván and Tuesday spoke all of us in attendance. Their journeys have been one of highs and lows. Of successes and challenges. Now that they are together, Luis and Tuesday are never apart. Tuesday has provided Luis Carlos Montalván the opportunity to regain his life and share their story! Tuesday rescued Luis! Even though I’m considered a rescue dog, my human mom says I rescued her. She even has a magnet on the back of her car to share that with the world. I really doesn’t matter who rescued who. What matters is the love and companionship between human and dog. That bond is so special.

Luis ended his talk outlining the 3 Keys to Happiness that he and Tuesday saw on a sign outside a store in New York City one day. The sign read Three keys to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for. These words have stuck with me since hearing them at the big event.

Something to do (What’s your passion?) - For me, a rescue dog, it is to give back to others. I am so thankful for Noah’s Hope, the rescue organization that helped me find my  forever home. Now it is my turn to help others. I do this by volunteering at the public library as a Read to Me dog. I love seeing people (kids and adults a like) light up when the realize there are DOGS in the LIBRARY! I love listening to kids read. I love seeing parents and caretaker interacting with their children and setting the example and opportunities for them to be READERS!

Something/Someone to love – That’s easy. My human mom means the world to me. She has provided me a loving home. She tells me she loves me EVERY SINGLE DAY. She has helped me forget my past and has given me a bright future. We both look at pictures of our first days together and marvel at how far I have come. I was a very timid pup when my mom rescued me. I was scared of people. I shook a lot. I really didn’t act like a happy dog. My human mom spent months getting me the right training and I eventually became an AKA Canine Good Citizen and therapy dog for the K9 S.T.A.R.S., Inc. She had lofty expectations of me and I rose to the occasion. I love her for that.

Something to hope for – As a dog in a loving home I now have everything I ever hoped for for myself. I know my human mom is going to be there for me and provide the things I need even if that means an occasional trip to the vet. I don’t have to hope my human mom will snuggle with me because I know she will. I don’t have to hope that she takes me for a walk, because I know she will (but I do sometimes have to encourage her to do so!) I guess my only hope for myself is that my human mom keeps remembering to buy my favorite night-time treat GREENIES! What I do hope for is that all my fellow rescue dogs find loving, forever homes, just like I did.

If you have something to do, something or someone to love and something to hope for you have found happiness!

What do you do? Who do you love? What do you hope for? I’d love to hear from you! 

Here are a few other pictures from my big night on the town! My human mom loves taking pictures of me. I don’t mind. I’m cute. I love to be the center of attention!

Under the tableI was a well-behaved dog and did not beg while people were eating. I spent most of the meal time under the table. It was cooler under there, too! And, as always, a few crumbs were dropped. Humans are silly like that and once something is dropped on the floor they don’t seem to want it back. Food is food in my opinion – off a plate, in a bowl and off the floor.

It also gave me an opportunity to take a little nap! Going out to dinner at a fancy place is exhausting. I was glad my human mom let me rest a little bit! I was more refreshed to listen to Luis and Tuesday tell their story!

ListeningI enjoyed listening to Luis Carlos Montalván. I sat very attentive. It was a little hard to see since we were sitting toward the back. My human home told me how well behaved Tuesday was, too! He sat right by Luis providing him support to talk to a big crowd. I’m a little jealous that Tuesday gets to spend every hour of every day with his human dad. I keep wishing my human mom would take me to more places – like to her work, shopping and out to other fancy dinners. I guess that is one more thing I hope for – I hope (or wish) I could go more places with my human mom! But Tuesday is different. He’s Luis’s service dog. Tuesday helps Luis with so many day-to-day task. My human mom keeps telling me that someday I will be able to help kids at a school once she finds a principal job. Should I start sending my resume out with hers?

A treatI enjoyed a special treat of water on one of the fancy plates. I hope the restaurant didn’t mind. My human mom could tell I was hot and needed a drink of water. I was so glad she shared some of hers with me. She always knows what I need. My human mom is super smart!

Figuring out New Words

WOW! What a week. I am a little tired!  On Tuesday I read with 4th graders at a school and on Saturday I had lots of readers at the library. Many of my readers on Saturday were quite young. It was great to see them love to read!

My human mom is sure good at helping the readers no matter what age they are. Some times the readers come to words they don’t know. I noticed that she doesn’t just tell them unfamiliar words. Some times she helps them break the word a part into smaller chunks or even smaller words that the children may know. One word was adventure. She covered up every thing but the ad with her finger and had the child say that part. Then she uncovered the ven followed by uncovering the rest of the word. Then she had the child say the word all together. It was fun to see the little 1st Grader light up because she could read such a big word! Mom says that strategy doesn’t work for every word. She said readers use lots of strategies to figure out new words

With shorter words I noticed she has them say the first letter’s sound. She also has them look at the last letter’s sound. Many times the child could then read the word such as with the word pet. I think the reader also got clues on the page, because the book was about PETS! My favorite!

It looks like there are many things readers do to figure out new words. My mom tells me I am SMART everyday and I think she is VERY SMART! Together we are helping kids read! We make a great team!

When mom and I were driving home she told me how pleased she was that parents are sitting with us as their children read to me. Not only are we helping the child, but mom said she likes to model for the parents some good ways they can help their child at home. We were so excited to see one family – kids and parents – all have books to check out. The mom and dad are modeling that they are readers, too. That is exciting! The library sure is a fun place!

Happy Tails! Until next time. Keep reading!

Making Connections

Today I went to a BIG school. It was my first time in a school. Now I know why my human mom loves schools so much. They are full of all kinds of nice people. It was fun to meet so many new friends.

I visited a group of 4th graders. They read all kinds of books to me today. I liked that. Usually kids tend to read me books about dogs. While I do like hearing dog stories, I also love learning new things. I can connect to many of the dog stories, but found I can also make connections to books that aren’t just about dogs.

My mom says there are three kinds of connections: Text-to-Self, Text-to-Text, and Text-to-World. She told me I was making a lot of Text-to-Self connections today.

  • In one book someone was taking a bath. He had seen a skunk and needed to get the nasty smell off of him. I immediately thought about the bath I took last night to get ready to go to school. I like taking baths. I like smelling good. My mom cuddles with me more when I smell good!
  • Another book was all about puppies. I am glad I am not a puppy anymore. In the book the puppy was chewing socks and even making a mess in the house. I do not do any of those things anymore. Mom is happy that I am very well-trained. She told the boys and girls how good I was. That made me smile.
  • One book had facts about cats. I was very interested in learning more about cats, as I like to chase one that hangs out around my house. The book was describing different types of cats. I can be thankful that the cat that comes to visit is just a small cat and not something like a LION or a TIGER!
  • I also learned about something called The Loch Ness Monster. The book said some people see this monster in a lake. I started to wonder if there was a monster in my BOJI LAKE (aka Lake Okoboji). My mom reassured me that there was NO MONSTER in my BOJI LAKE!

It was fun to listen to books that weren’t just about dogs. I liked making some connections to the stories. Making connections helped me remember what the stories were about. I hope the boys and girls try to make connections as they read. too.

I love learning new things, just like my human mom! She blogs, too. You can see all the things she writes about at Learning is Growing.

Happy Tails!

Feeling Safe

I am a little rescue dog. My new human mom adopted me last summer. When I first came to my new home I was very scared. Going new places and seeing new people would make me nervous. My human mom worked hard to help me feel safe. She created a routine for me. She took me to new places. She taught me how to be a good citizen in the doggy world. She never gave up on me!

Today it was my turn to help someone feel safe! I was one of two dogs at the library. One little girl kept coming back to pet me. My human mom would ask her if she wanted to read to me. She looked scared to read, yet I know I was helping her feel safe. She liked petting me! My mom kept reassuring her it was okay. She told her she would help her read if she needed it.

Pretty soon the little girl came over to our area with THREE books. She stood far away from us. I laid very still (and cute!) on my beach towel hoping she’d come over to read to me. My human mom talked with her a little bit and pretty soon she sat down and began to read. I loved the books she picked out. The books were full of poems about dog. Many of them made me laugh inside! She continued to read and read and read – right up until it was the time for us to go home.

I loved listening to her today. But, more importantly, I am happy that I helped her feel safe. She was a great reader. Mom says readers need to keep practicing their reading everyday, just like I practice my tricks.

Today I was there to let her practice her reading. We had fun together! Maybe she will be back next week! I will be waiting on my beach towel!

My First Day on the Job

ImageI loved my first day  as a “Read to Me Dog.” I got to meet several kids from schools my human mom has worked at. I was a little bit nervous, but mom says I really calmed down once the kids started to rad to me. I heard stories about Dora the Explorer and Blues Clues. I even got to listen to a story read in English and Spanish. The readers were from a dual language school. During half their school day they are taught in Spanish and the other half they are taught in English. Dogs speak a universal language of love.

One of my favorite books was called Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance. The kids that picked the book were quite young. I think they thought I’d enjoy a book with a dog on the cover. Mom helped them read the pictures of the book. She said reading the pictures was one way to read a book.Image

I could connect with many parts of the book.  Audie was a recused dog just like me. He found a special home just like I did. He worked hard and even passed his AKA Canine Good Citizen test like I did in February. But the most coincidental thing about the book was that Audie likes to lay in the grass (see my blog header) and I found out about other dogs that BLOG! (See Vick Dog Blog )

The library is a fun place. I can’t wait to visit again next week. The library has a A LOT of books – just like my human mom!

Have you ever read a book that you could make connection to? I’d love to hear about it.

HAPPY READING!

My Big Day

My big day has arrived! Today I will make my first visit to the Sioux City Public Library as a K-9  S.T.A.R.S “Read to Me Dog.”  I am SO EXCITED to so have boys and girls read to me!

I have decided to start a blog to share my experiences. My human mom is a blogger at Learning is Growing and she helps a lot of kids and teachers with blogs. She will be helping me. I know I will have fun!

I hope you enjoy following my journey!