Video: Therapy Dog Welcome in Oncology Department


Love this video, and the concept of facility dogs! All my various therapies and appointments would have been so much more bearable with a facility dog there. I may whine incessantly about Kaiser sometimes (amazing specialists for my disorder, but such a bureaucracy!) but I’m glad they embrace therapy dogs. Animals truly are the best medicine.

Don’t sit on the shih tzu!

Cashie, sit

Human pauses. Dog sits.

But next time try not to sit on the Shih Tzu’s head!

I’m always happy when Cassius and I meet nice dogs.  I feel guilty that he doesn’t get enough doggie playtime, so whenever I have time and the inclination to do so, I let him say hi to the well-behaved ones we meet in our local cemetery/park.  We occasionally meet a very sweet older gentleman with an equally sweet shih tzu.  Yesterday, he was walking his dog in a full suit and tie!  Anyway, Cassius is allowed to say “hi” if he remembers his manners.  He doesn’t quite realize that he’s about 6 times bigger than the small dogs he encounters! So I had him in the beginnings of a sit yesterday when he gave me this rather perplexed look:

How am I supposed to sit when there’s a shih tzu under my butt?

Little dog moved, Cassius sat… but looked a tad concerned that he was being told to potentially squish his new friend! (luckily shih tzu moved out of the way and was not harmed by a big yellow butt and ferociously wagging tail).  We went on our separate ways, with Cassius positively bouncing from his allowed doggie interaction.

This morning Cassius went to the groomer, which is a very fun thing!  In addition to the obvious joys of attention and a bath (well, I might like the bath part more than he does!),

it also means a little off-leash indoor play with Henry, the resident Frenchie.  Much fun was had by all today (and they both look positively annoyed that I was stopping their romping for the photo op).

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It always makes me happy when Cassius finds doggie friends, and especially when he has an opportunity for some off-leash romping.

Cassius is now zonked out in his dog bed; playing is exhausting!

Pre-Match Day: “Assistance dogs meet their new owners”


“Assistance Dogs Meet Their New Owners”

(Lovely, but how did they get around the information/media/social media embargo? We weren’t allowed to divulge names until at least Monday of the 2nd week, if not later! Guess NER isn’t as hardcore about it as NWR!)

Our Pre-Match was 6 months ago!

Our Pre-Match was 6 months ago!

I’ll save the long post for next week… but today marks 6 months since pre-match day! Hard to believe. I really didn’t know what direction they were going to go with me dog-wise: on Tuesday of Team Training I walked both Cassius and a sweet little black lab female named Nancy (who was placed in May as a facility dog), as well as another dog once (Fame, who actually ended up being COC’ed during/after Team Training for cataracts). I figured both Cassius and Nancy were likely contenders… but I couldn’t get over Nancy’s name. Natalie and Nancy… a recipe for confusion! And while I know you can call your dog anything, it just seemed a little rotten to change their name!) But Nancy walked a little fast and Cassius was all about the cuddling and hanging out in release, so I had a good idea and was not totally surprised.

If you had told me before Team Training started that I would end up with a big male dog I would have probably laughed. Didn’t seem very practical – I totally pictured myself with some tiny dainty little thing. And as much as I love Cassius… tiny and dainty are two things the guy will never be. But CCI tells you to abandon your preconceptions… and I believe them. Who knew the best dog for me is big (weighs more than half what I do! that used to be my barometer point for “too big!”), slobbery goofball of a lap dog?

I wish everyone involved in the Team Training this time around – from puppy raisers waiting to see if their dogs have been placed to students waiting for their assignments (I had the weirdest dreams the night before placement – including one that involved receiving two dogs!) to instructors trying to figure this all out – all the best. It’s challenging and exhausting and stressful… but so, so rewarding.

An Animal-Filled Weekend

So this past weekend was fun and animal-filled.

Friday I had a great riding lesson on Cowboy, a 20-year-old Paint gelding I’ve ridden on and off for a few years. So happy I have the opportunity to ride him again, he’s in a great mental and physical place and is just content with life right now (yes, I’m anthropomorphizing). After having a dog with me all the time since February, I now unconsciously give the horses dog commands… But then again, my dog now responds to “clucks” so I guess it’s even!

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Saturday I gave Cassius the opportunity to play in my aunt’s back yard, and it was great to see him have so much fun! He romped around and played a few minutes of fetch and a bunch of rolling around in the grass. Now that I saw how much he enjoyed that, I will try take him there periodically.

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On Sunday, I helped with the CCI booth at Animals on Broadway, a huge dog event at a local shopping mall. It was nice to finally meet a bunch of people (and puppies!) from my chapter, as well as a few other graduates. Cassius did perfectly, I think he enjoys anything that involves meeting other well-behaved dogs and having people tell him he’s a good boy.

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Next weekend I’m off to Ashland, Oregon to visit family. Strangely enough, Cassius has actually been there before (without me, obviously). I’m excited for our first non-CCI event, and to have Cassius meet the rest of my family.