Saturday, February 21, 2009

READing Paws

I came across information about the Georgia READing Paws program at Beechwood Trails Pet Lodge when Drew and Handy stayed for a few days last year. In January, I signed up to take the people training part of the class.

The mission of READing Paws is to improve the literacy skills of children through the assistance of nationally registered therapy animal-owner/handler teams as literacy mentors.

READing Paws utilizes nationally registered animal-owner/handler Therapy Teams who volunteer to go to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children. The utilization of registered therapy teams is the foundation of READing Paws, in order to ensure that the animals have been trained and tested for health and safety, appropriate skills and temperament, and have been insured for liability.

Joan Wakeling, a fellow SEGC member and fantastic quilting artist, has agreed to make a special quilt for Drew and the children to read on. The quilt will define the learning boundaries during the reading sessions where Drew, the child and I will sit together going through a book. I can't wait to see how it turns out! Drew agreed to 'pretend' he was interested in reading - about Greyhounds of course as you can see from his photo.

Drew has his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate, but needs to get certified as a therapy dog for this mission, so he is in the process of being tested by Therapy Dogs, Inc. Once that is completed, then Intermountain Therapy Animals will certify him as well without additional testing. The next step is a shadowing visit with a team that is performing reading at a school, library or bookstore in the community. Once that is checked off, we can start a therapy session at a school or library near where we live. At my training session in January, there were only 24 teams in the state of Georgia performing this community service. READing Paws hopes to add 55 more teams this year. Our class had 10 participants, and a fellow SEGC member, Paula Snell and her whippet Scout are participating in the shadowing next weekend. Scout is not only a Delta Society certified therapy dog, he also a master at agility, obedience and rally.

There is a waiting list of schools and libraries in central Georgia that want this program for their young readers. Will you consider giving some of your time to make a difference in the life of a child?

"It's not what's in front of you that blocks your way, it's what's inside of you that holds you back" ~ Robin Williams as Mork cir. 1980.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Drew's Back in the Saddle!

The tests are back. Drew has early stages of Arthritis in his right front shoulder, and that's it! His intermittent limp in the hind end did not present itself in the X-Rays, however... his little Tea Lite party from December did. He is still carrying around small, pea gravel sized wads of wax in his stomach. The vet thought they were rocks, but we watch him like a hawk in the backyard at playtime; he's never to be trusted alone. It seems that several of these 'Pea-lites' passed today during his stay at the vet's office.

He started on Adequan for his arthritis after we confirmed there wasn't anything else going on with his bones and joints. We'll be making two trips to the vet each week for the next 6-8 weeks and then a tune up once a month after that to keep his joints as healthy as can be. I've been told it works wonders in horses.

He bounded out of the back room like a pup again or a kid in a candy shop, "Where's the treats? I was really good today! I didn't even need a sedative for my hip X-rays. Doc said I was the perfect patient!" Drew, we wish you didn't have so much practice as the patient, darling! He's also taken another pound off - he's officially below 85 pounds - 84.3 to be exact! That's 5 pounds since last August. Way to go Drew!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Go Drew Go

Jon and I have been a little worried about our Drew lately. He's developed 'the limp'. We visited the vet on Tuesday (Drew's 2nd Gotcha Day) for a check up and some X-rays. Dr. Lugar wasn't able to get a shot of his hips since initially he was only lame in his right front leg/shoulder. So from what she was able to shoot, he is developing arthritis in his right front shoulder. His rear knee and lower leg looked fine. She suggested Adequan for his arthritis since it is in the early stages.

She also indicated his thyroid was a little low, but wanted to retest to be sure since he isn't displaying any of the typical symptoms.

As you can see from this video, he doesn't appear to be lame. Problem is that he 'loses his head' when it comes to playtime, and even if he is hurt, he forgets! This was 2 weeks ago when we returned from the inaugural National Lure Coursing Club meet in Cartersville. We'd hoped to let him chase the lure once since he loves to run and chase, but it appears this isn't in Drew's future. We'll stick to the READing Paws therapy goal for now.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Oh When Oh When is our summer coming again? Rumor has it that General Beauregard Lee, PhD, Georgia's very own special groundhog, is forecasting an early spring! Sounds like he's about the only February 2nd Weather Prognosticator that is! Drew says that suits him just fine. He and Handy are ready to do a little running in the back yard. Drew our Keep Away Monster and Handy our Prissy Princess spending a little quality time in the backyard last Labor Day weekend...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

New Duds for the Buds!

Garth has been in our care for 2 months now, and we finally have a beautiful new jacket for him. We fell behind the Christmas orders, but there wasn't a hurry. Brother Drew loaned his London Fog coat temporarily while Garth's was being made to order: 28" L x 31" G x 10" C (length, girth, chest). His measurements were quite different from Drew's. Garth has a cute hump in his back which makes his girth measurement a few inches larger than Drew's even though he's 15 lbs lighter on the scale.

With the winter season still with us, we thought it appropriate to order his a jacket with fall leaves on it. We're surrounded by stand of hard woods, and many are red oaks, known for dropping their leaves in the spring. Garth looks so dashing in his new design by Kerry McMullen of NoNudeHounds designs. Kerry posts the photos of her jackets being modeled by the subjects she makes them for. There is a cute picture of Handy and Drew on the bed at Sandy Paws wearing the jackets that Kerry made for them last year.

Garth also received a rain jacket, but since it hasn't rained yet, he hasn't modeled it. It is an olive green with a moose camping motif in flannel as a liner. Kerry extended the flannel lining around the neck to give a nice accent. If you want special home made jammies, unitards, jackets or raincoats, please visit Kerry's website at

For those of you who have seen Drew in his Pope HS Football Jersey, Kerry made that up for him in 2-days so Drew could wear it to 4 of the 6 home games this year. Drew and the Pope HS Students really love his matching outfit. I've attached a video of Drew as the Mascot at the Homecoming Football game in October. It was the first home game the Greyhounds had won all year. Maybe Drew and his goofy run down the field had something to do with that! Go Drew, Go Greyhounds!