TRIPAWDS: Home to 10562 Members and 1245 Blogs.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » FACEBOOK » TWITTER » RANDOM BLOG
header image

Archive for Conversations with Shelby

The recent wild fires in Northern California have burned thousands of acres, homes and businesses in the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties. The Sonoma County Fairgrounds have been converted to a self contained community of 3500 first responders from CA., NV., OR., WA., SD., CO., MT., FL., NV., AZ. and Australia. The compound includes chiropractors, message folks, a small engine repair tent, communications trailers for AT&T, electrical generators to power everything, an eating area, kitchen, showers, laundry and enough tents for all the 3500 first responders as well as Santa Rosa Police, Sheriffs Department, CA. State Parks Department, U.S. Army and the Reserves for security and contractors for the bulldozer work. And, parking for dozens of fire trucks in all sizes, mostly red but some hi-viz yellow as well as an area to maintain all the equipment.

When we learned the organization that Shelby, Cindi and I volunteer for, P.A.L.S., or Paws as Loving Support, had permission for our dogs to visit the first responders, we headed down there.

I remember in Shelby’s Comfort Dog training, she found a firefighter she was very fond of…so I knew she would love being at the Fairgrounds.

Getting into the Fairgrounds means getting through security, first letting the Santa Rosa PD know that Shelby is a comfort dog by showing them our photo name tags and that she was requested by the first responders. Then as you enter the compound you need to check in with Cal Fire. Fortunately most security folks have remembered Shelby so our access has been a bit easier. For the last week Shelby has posted herself near the main gate so she could greet the first responders as they headed into their compound after working all day or heading out for the night shift. We knew she would use her red wagon, because most fire trucks are red, and she really wanted to “blend in”. On October 15th we tied a “Happy Birthday” balloon to her wagon and celebrated her 10th birthday by hanging out with the first responders. The next day I was told that Shelby was brought up in the fire fighters morning meeting and they gave her a new nickname, DOGTOR SHELBY.

We usually spend 3 to 4 hours by the gate where Shelby has greeted hundreds of first responders and without fail brought a smile to their faces. Some will tell us about their dogs at home and show us pictures. Some will ask to take her picture, some will ask to have their picture with her, some will smile, pet her and go about their business. Some will bring her a piece of steak from their dinner or a piece of jerky for her to munch on. We make sure we tell everyone we meet, “thank you for being here” and “thank you for helping us”. We are humbled that many have told us, “thanks for being here, we appreciate it”. I mentioned to one of the fire captains that we haven’t heard any swearing or negative comments, his reply was “there’s no room for that”.

Yesterday was the first day in 2 weeks where we have no visible smoke from the fires. People are being let back into the evacuation zones to see what they have left. The long, difficult period of rebuilding has begun, it will take years. Cindi and I are very blessed, our house was never in danger.

The first responders came from all over to help us. I don’t know how to say thank you enough for what they have done. Hopefully we’ve helped in some way.

under: Conversations with Shelby

Well, well, well, I just celebrated my 8 year adoptaversary!!!

On April 4th, 2009, I rescued a family from Santa Rosa. They came looking for a dog and left with me, The Petite Princess. They had no idea how much their life was about to change. At first they were like deer in the headlights, didn’t have a clue what to do with me, only having 3 legs and cute as a button.

A few months later after all the training and learning stuff, they turned me loose on Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa. I remember that day like it was yesterday, November 1st, 2009. That hospital had never seen the likes of me, my red wagon, autographed 4 by 6 closeup photo’s of you know who, and, the maid and chauffeur there to help me start my rounds. Nope they had never seen a Princess cruising the hallways with my Farah Fawcett tail blowing in the breeze. People stopped, pointed, oohed and ahhed and we’d invite them over so they could meet me. A few told me how beautiful I am.

We’ve made a lot of friends at the hospital, we make friends everywhere we go. We’ve traveled many miles, me in my wagon, tail in the breeze. Hanging with Mom and Dad …from Doggy Days at Sonoma State, to a So Cal TRIPAWD PAWTY , a Las Vegas TRIPAWD PAWTY, to the Strip in Las Vegas, yeah, Elvis wanted his picture taken with ME! To retirement homes, helping kids learn to read, selling raffle tickets for the local Harley Owners Group fundraiser, working with autistic young people and sometimes folks who just need a Princess to hug.

I couldn’t have done any of this without gobs of help. The students that rescued me in Taiwan and the volunteers at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue. The Doctor that took my bad leg off and threw it away. Jim and Kathy, the best foster parents this lucky Princess could have. My Foster God Mother Jana, who gave my dad the what for, and told him what he could and couldn’t expect from me. Margie the trainer that helped dad and me learn to work together. Nancy taught us how to be a social/therapy team. She believed in me, as little as I am, she believed in me. Early in the training Mom and Dad weren’t sure, but Nancy was. And Penny, my Border Collie big sister, taught me how be an alpha female before she left us…she was a much better Alpha Female then I’ll ever be. She was so cool.

OK, let’s not get all mushy here. 8 years, I can’t believe it…

So, Mom and Dad, A.K.A, the maid and chauffeur, took me out for my 8th Adoptaversary Celebration lunch / dinner. I sat in the front seat of the pickup with my Dad and Mom sat in the back. I had a chickin sammich, fries and ice cream! Dad said as far as he knows, thats the 3 main food groups people talk about, I think he’s right! Tons of chickin crumbs and ice cream all over my face and I was workin it! I usually don’t like my picture taken with chicken sammich crumbs and ice cream on my face, but this time, I did! Ah, heck, we all know I love my picture taken anytime!!

Thinking back over the last 8 years, we rescued each other, that’s the way things should be.

 

 

 

under: Conversations with Shelby

Friends in high places.

Posted by: | March 30, 2015 | 4 Comments |

Shelby has been visiting the hospital since November 1st, 2009. We have met hundreds of amazing people during this visits. Sometimes you are there when a patient and their families get to go home and sometimes you’re there when the final arrangements are being made for a family member.

Sometimes when we visit the hospital we spend a lot of time with the staff, nurses and doctors. Often we hear, “O boy, here comes Shelby!” and sometimes we hear, ” Shelby, I really needed to see you today.”

This last weekend we visited on both Saturday and Sunday and there were some families that really needed to see Shelby. The aunt, grandmother and sister waiting in the Intensive Care waiting area for word on their loved one. The sister and grandmother already there more than 24 hours. The aunt who came in had Shelby sitting beside her on the couch and you could see the concern and worry on her face. Shelby hops in and does what she does so well, creates a bit of a break from both the concern and the worry. She did really, really well with these 3 ladies.

We moved to the critical waiting area where we met a mother and her sister who were waiting for word of her son who was in a motorcycle accident. The doctors had already removed one of his legs. Shelby hopped on the couch next to the mother and again, for a few minutes, help to calm and distract her. After quite awhile we left there and went to the 3rd floor, Oncology.

We had some amazing visits with folks! Learned a few jokes and one gentleman shared a cell phone photo of his Jack Russell, 17 years old, that had just crossed the bridge. We met some new nurses and saw a doctor that we had met several years earlier. She had always been a big fan of Shelby’s and so we’ve talked several times. After we visit someone, I always pick Shelby up, thank the folks for letting us come and visit and Cindi resets their chairs and helps to wipe down their hands with a disenfectent wipe and says her goodbyes. I was waiting in the hallway with Shelby when Shelby’s doctor friend came out of one of the other patients rooms, knelt down next to Shelbys wagon and the two of them had a great visit! The doctors have the final say as to whether the therapy dog programs are allowed in the hospital, so we are always on our best behavior, which is no easy task for some of us!

While she was visiting Shelby, I congratulated her on becoming “Chief of Staff” and told her we hadn’t seen her lately. She said, “not to worry, I’ve been right here”. After we said our goodbye’s, I started thinking about what just happened. The Chief of Staff was kneeling down hugging on our little Petite Princes in the middle of hall on the Oncology floor. I was humbled, amazed and blown away.

Shelby says, It’s good to have friends in high places!

 

under: Conversations with Shelby

Our visits to Memorial Hospital always start in the Intensive and Critical Care waiting rooms. These visits are very, very special. Many times we find families that have been there for 24 hours waiting for a loved one. We often spend 1 to 2 hours visiting these waiting areas.
During our last visit Shelby caught the eye of 2 nurses on duty that day. As Shelby visited with some of the visitors, one of the nurses said, would you be able to visits some of our patients in Intensive this morning. We told them we are only allowed in with the permission of a nurse or a doctor. 2 minutes later, we were in one of the Intensive Care rooms visiting a young man who had been in a single car accident and was awaiting surgery. We put a pillow case on the right side of the bed and laid Shelby right next to him. We told him let us when you’re tired and we’ll leave, about 5 minutes later we said goodbye and wished him well on his surgery the next day. As we got up to leave, the nurse said, hold on, don’t go anywhere, we have another patient for you to visit.

We were introduced to an amazing women in her late 80’s. As we brought Shelby into her room, her face lit up with a huge smile. We laid Shelby next to her and she reached down and started petting her. The nurse said, that’s the first time she had smiled since she arrived at the hospital. We were having a wonderful conversation, but within a few minutes, you could see she was tired, so we thanked her, gave her one Shelby’s autographed pictures and said our goodbye’s.
The nurse said, we have one more 1 more lady who would love a visit. We were shown into a room with a wonderful couple. The husband was there visiting his wife, she was sitting on a chair right next to her bed. We looked at all the equipment, wires, tubes and figured the best thing to do was put Shelby on HER bed. It took just a moment for her to reach out and pet her. Her husband was so tickled we were there, everybody had big smiles and we talked about their dogs at home. All the time we talked, she’s petted Shelby. We told them she looked so comfortable on the bed, we joked that we would leave her with them while we go out for some lunch! They were very happy to be able to spend some time with a dog in the hospital. They said it made their day. A few minutes later, we left the room and headed back out to the waiting area and Shelby’s wagon.
Shelby was pretty thirsty after all of those visits, so we put her back in her pink wagon and put some water in her bowl. While she was busy drinking, Cindi and I looked at each other, 3 great visits…in Intensive Care? Are you kidding me! We had only been allowed in there 3 times in 4 years!
As we headed to the elevator, a young man in scrubs came out of the Intensive Care area and told us what a great thing we were doing and how it really helped the patients and how does he get his Golden Doodle and himself qualified? We thanked him and Cindi and I told him what was needed and asked him where was he thinking of visiting.? He said, why, here of course. It would be so cool if I could bring my dog to work and we could visit some of my patients. Cindi asked what do you do, he said, I’m a doctor in the intensive care area and my office is right here. She said you sure look young, he just smiled and kinda laughed. I thought, heck, I’ve blue jeans older than he is!
We continued our visits on different floors and after a couple of hours, the 3 of us were done. We made our way out of the hospital and back to the truck. As I put Shelby’s wagon in the back, I turned and looked back at the hospital, looked at Shelby and Cindi and thought, that was so cool! What an amazing day! THEN, we went out for cheeseburgers and fries!!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again, we are so blessed Shelby came to live with us.

under: Conversations with Shelby

April 4th, 2009 I found my forever home!

My Foster Mom and Dad took me to the ranch that Saturday so I could grant interviews. That was my first big outing since March 11th, when I had my amputation. They said they weren’t ready for me to be adopted…but I was!

Ever since I came to my forever home we have been so busy visiting and meeting so many new people, but what’s more important is how big my extended family is. From the lady that rescued me in Taiwan, Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue picked me up at SFO,  the Doctor who did my surgery, my Foster Mom and Dad, my Foster God Mother Jana, Margie, my trainer at Petsmart,  Nancy at ADI believed I could be a Therapy dog, all my human friends at TRIPAWDS.  My grandparents, Lee and Janet, all my friends at the hospital, library, county fairs and the elementary school. I’ll never forget the time at the VA Hospital when a soldier petted me for a long time and told my dad, thanks, you made me forget the bad things for awhile.

I miss all my TRIPAWD friends that have become Angels. Cancer, I hate you.

My big sister Penny has been so patient and taught me so much. Charlie my big brother has taught me some things that Penny never would!

I think Phil, the Dad on that Duck TV show sums my life up best, “Happy, Happy, Happy!” Cheeseburgers and fries for everyone!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

under: Conversations with Shelby

Shelby, the talking dog?

Posted by: | March 17, 2014 | 3 Comments |

We keep Shelby’s red wagon in the living room. It’s full of toys, half chewed up tennis balls, various bones, pieces of bark and any half shredded pieces of paper she felt were important enough to keep.

When she can’t find the “right” toy, ball, bone, shredded paper or piece of bark scattered around the house, she’ll hop over to her wagon and starts, “The search.” Her front paw in the wagon, her Farrah Fawsett tail wagging, she’ll search the wagon for the “just right toy” for the moment. She’ll usually finds something, jumps up in her wagon, grabs it, turns around and looks at us like, “Hey, help me out of my wagon!” And of course we both drop everything we’re doing and rush to help her down.

Saturday night she sprung something new on us. Front paw in the wagon, tail wagging, she gave us both the over the shoulder look, hopped down, sat down, looked calmly at Cindi and barked…once. Not a loud bark, just a bark telling Cindi she wanted her half green, half red tennis ball, now, please.

Cindi immediately went to the wagon, found the requested tennis ball and gave it to Shelby who hopped off as happy as she could be.

We both swear when she barked, it actually sounded like the word “ball.”

I have one question, just who is running this house??? the chauffeur.

 

 

under: Conversations with Shelby

Shelby let us join her on her rounds at Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa yesterday.

We started on the second floor waiting rooms for critical and intensive care patients. We met 4 different families yesterday, some had been at the hospital for 24 hours. Sometimes we have great conversations with the families, sometimes they pet and talk to Shelby. We spent more than an hour visiting those 2 waiting rooms. One lady sat on the floor with Shelby and talked about her friend that was in surgery. Her dog bit her friend and you could see in her eyes how concerned she was for the both of them.

After we left the waiting rooms we went to the 3rd floor, pediatric ward. We visited 6 kids along with their brothers and sisters. One the kids was about 18 months old and just had a ball with Shelby. Big grin, giggles, everyone in the room had a big smile on their face. We moved to the next room and both of the girls recognized Shelby from a prior visit. Not only were they friends, they also were in the hospital at the same time. One of the girls told us she wondered how Shelby was and what she was up to. The second girl had an oxygen mask on and wasn’t supposed to be talking so her friend told us that after Shelby’s previous visit, she wanted a dog of her own. Turns out she couldn’t have a dog, so she bought a big stuffed Golden Retriever…and named her Shelby!

Both Cindi and I were speechless, stunned, proud and humbled. I told her that’s about the nicest thing I’ve heard in a quite a while and thanked her. I teared up a bit and continued on with the visit.

We were at the hospital for about 3 hours and then on to Five Guys for peanuts, cheeseburgers and fries. When we got home Shelby jumped on her couch and fell asleep. As she was sleeping I looked at her and thought how blessed we are that she came to live with us.

under: Conversations with Shelby

What we’ve been up to

Posted by: | September 23, 2012 | 8 Comments |

We haven’t blogged lately ‘cause we’ve been really busy!

Shelby has been awarded her Therapy Dog title by the AKC. In order to qualify, she needed to visit Memorial Hospital 50 times on behalf of Paws for Healing in Napa. It took us a bit over 2 years but we completed the 50 visits in August.

In honor of a very special gift from Diane and John, parents of Bernard Bin Laden and Linda, and, the completion of her AKC Therapy Dog title, Shelby has new ride! After an exhaustive search, we found a pink wagon and added a few custom accessories.

First, her front vanity plate is the gift from Diane and John, it’s from a photo that John took and it’s our favorite Shelby photo!

Next, the placards on the side are keeping with the pink and white colors and accessories with some pink roses. 

 The rear license plate is the much desired California “Black Tag” plate.  You can see the “AKC” in the upper left hand corner, “Therapy Dog” above her name. And, “CGC” in the upper right hand corner for her “Canine Good Citizen” title.

Shelby is also styling with her new harness and accessorized with a lovely green and pink flower with matching leash.

More good news, Shelby, Cindi and I were asked to be the liaison for Paws for Healing, PFH, to Memorial Hospital. Besides being the contact between PFH and Memorial, we will also be the trainers for future therapy teams for Memorial. When a prospective PFH team wants to see what we do during a visit, the human part of the team will accompany us on one of our visits. They will be able to see what we believe Shelby was put here to do, to bring joy and comfort to those she visits.

After their visit, if they decide they want to pursue the training, Cindi and I will accompany them and their dog partner on the next visit. We are excited about this new opportunity to help others share in the amazing “power of dog”… And it’s her 6TH birthday on October 15!

We are so blessed that Shelby chose us to share in her life, we’re having a ball!

 The maid and chauffeur

 

under: Conversations with Shelby

Shelby, thank you…

Posted by: | June 26, 2011 | 10 Comments |

Today we accompanied the Petite Princess on her rounds at the Hospital.

Shelby led us through our usual stops, admissions, the information desk, intensive and critical care waiting area’s, so we would be warmed up for a couple of people she would lead us to meet.

We knocked on this gentleman’s door and asked if he would like a visit with a dog?  He certainly would he says, so we roll in and Shelby turns on the charm. As we chatted, he said he was 94 years old and moved to Sonoma County to be near his son and his family. As he was talking with us, Cindi asked where he was from, he mentioned a country in Europe and said he immigrated to the US in 1947. We said, Wow, that was right after World War 2. He told us he was a Holocaust Survivor.

As the power of that statement sank in, he said he attended college in his new home, America, and went on to have a successful career. With a smile on his face he told us how great America is and how there no other place in the world like it. He told us he doesn’t want to remember his time before he came to America.

We talked about dogs and family and how much he enjoyed Golden Retrievers. If I live to be 94 I hope I have half of his vitality and spunk. We said our goodbye’s and Shelby gave him one of her autographed photo’s and we were on our way.

We met an older lady who told us the story about a dog and her father. Daisy was the dogs name and she would go with her father to his workshop everyday and take her place next to his work bench. He created a space on the shelf so Daisy could watch over everything he did during the day. She said her dad would talk to Daisy as he worked and Daisy gave his every word the attention it deserved.

When her father died, Daisy followed him 3 weeks later. With tears in her eye’s, she told me how they wrapped Daisy in her fathers work apron and buried her next to her father. She told me how much her dad loved that dog and she knows Daisy died of a broken heart. 

With everything that’s on the news about how our great country is stumbling, taking wrong turns, and she is not what she once was, I needed to be reminded of what a wonderful place we live in and how there really is no other place on earth that’s like it. I also treasure the ability that Shelby has that lets people remember wonderful times in their lives and how very special the relationship between a man and his dog can be. 

Shelby, thanks again for taking the time to teach me life lessons

under: Conversations with Shelby

The power of “dog”

Posted by: | December 19, 2010 | 9 Comments |

Cindi and I escorted the Petite Princess to Memorial Hospital yesterday afternoon. We had one very special patiant to see before our visit would end.

We always start our visits by seeing the ladies in the admissions offices. They told us the hospital was pretty full so there will a lot of folks that could use a visit. We met and made 2 new friends before moving on to the second floor waiting rooms.  

In the critical care waiting room we met a mom who was waiting for her son to come out of surgery, Shelby lept up on the couch and laid down next to the mom and helped pass the time. After about 10 minutes Shelby jumped back into to her wagon and we made our way to the other side of the hospital.

We had been advised that a young woman around 20 years old had been struck by a car and had a brain injury. They let us know that she had responded well to other dogs that had come to visit her. This young lady who we’ll call “Amy”, was the main reason for our visit today.

When you do any kind of pet assited therapy one of the key factors to a successful visit is to monitor your dogs stress level. Before we visited Amy we wanted Shelby to be warmed up and ready to go. Cindi and I talked about the best way to approach the visit. We decided if at all possible we would get a chair so we could sit right next to Amy’s bed and I could sit Shelby on my lap so her head and front leg would be on the bed while I’d support her weight.  If we couldn’t do that, I would need to hold Shelby while we visited Amy. Holding Shelby while we visit is the last thing I wanted to do. Even thought she is is the Petite Princess, after a few minutes she doesn’t feel very petite!

As we walked up to Amy’s room, we saw an empty chair and the side of her bed was open, we had total access for a comfortable visit. We walked in and were greeted by Amy’s mom, aunt and sister. Shelby and I sat down next to the bed, I introduced myself and Shelby to Amy and as soon as Shelby got settled next to Amy, she reached out and started to stroke Shelby’s head.  The camera phone’s came out and everyone started taking pictures! I was watching Amy’s eyes and continued to talk with her while Cindi was chatting with the mom, aunt and sister.

We had been told that Amy responded well to dogs that had visited her before, but I was still blown away by how quickly and deliberatly Amy had reached out for Shelby. We visited with Amy for about 5 minutes or so when she fell back to sleep. Her mom apologized because she couldn’t stay awake longer. I assured her the best I could that we were happy to be able to visit her no matter how long or brief the visit was.

“Amy” is being moved to another hospital on Monday where we are not cleared to visit. Amy’s mom was adament about wanting the dog visits to continue. We told her when they get to the new hospital to tell them she wanted dog visits and the hospital would do everything they could to make it happen.

We had a total of 8 visits yesterday. Everyone of those visits was magical. The patients and their families enjoyed Shelby and we enjoyed spending a few minutes with them. We saw a family we had met 4 months ago,  their dad would be going home this Wednesday. Almost everyone we visited would be able to spend Christmas at home.  

Shelby put in a 2 hour day and brought a lot of joy to folks. We met and made new friends and it’s always so nice when you hear the nurses and doctors say, Oh boy, Shelby’s here!  We also passed out an autographed picture of the Petite Princess that John, Maximutt’s dad, had taken. Without fail, that new photo brought a smile or chuckle to everyone when they saw the new picture!

We have said it before and we’ll say it again, we firmly believe in the “Power of Dog.”

under: Conversations with Shelby

Older Posts »

Categories