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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

DSC_0783Here’s Hannah, very pretty!








Wyatt watching over the everyone, doing a fine job!











Linda and Bernie, in a quiet moment.










Corie, so sweet!






We had a ball, beautiful park, wonderful folks and amazing dogs!

Thanks to everyone for sharing a gorgeous day with us! the chauffeur

P.S. I have CD’s with all the photo’s I took on Saturday, if you want one let me know.

under: Tripawd Parties

AKC Title

Posted by: | December 9, 2012 | 2 Comments |

The letter came Thursday, the AKC has awarded Charlie, the world’s most handsome Cocker Spaniel, his Therapy Dog title!

He earned it by visiting the Healdsburg Public Library at least 50 times. Charlie is a “Reading Buddy” and children practice their “out loud” reading and Charlie listens. If a child doesn’t read yet they can show Charlie pictures in a book or tell him what color the pictures or illustrations are. Also, Charlie can listen in 3 languages, English, Spanish or Japanese. He’s working on his french.

Sometimes the kids might want help with a word or if they don’t know what it means, that’s when Charlie let’s me know it’s OK to help. It is amazing to see how much some of the kids reading and comprehension has improved

He has helped dozens of kids learn how to read and, as we know, reading opens the world. Charlie will be 11 years old in April and I don’t see him slowing down. The kids love him and staff at the library tell us he’s their favorite.

I’m awfully proud of my big brother, he’s pretty cool…sometimes.

under: My family

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

Coming Home

Posted by: | December 12, 2011 | 6 Comments |

Many of you know we took the P.P. to Las Vegas last weekend to meet some new folks and pawty, after all, it is Las Vegas. We took in the “strip”, photo’s to follow, went down to the Pawn Shop that’s on TV and of course the Harley and the BMW motorcycle stores.

We had a ball at the pawty, loved going to Red rock Canyon, loved taking a ton of pictures and when the time came, loved coming home.

We left Las Vegas last Monday morning at 6AM and started home. Shelby seemed resigned to the fact that she would be all curled up in the front seat for a long time. It took us 11 hours to get home.  We stopped a little more often to get her out and let her run amok. But I still got that, Gees, aren’t we home yet look.

As we got about a 1/4 of a mile from home, she sprang up in her seat and her smile came back, her tail was waging, as much as it could in the front bucket seat, and she knew we were close to home. I parked the truck went around to her side to open the door, as soon as her feet hit the ground, she took off running towards the front door. SHE WAS HOME and her big sister and brother were on the other side of the door!!!! She looked like, “C’mon dude, get this stinkin door open!!!!”

I opened the door and she flew into the house, she missed her big sister and brother, she ran, hopped, slid, took a couple of headers as she tore through the house, spinning, TRIPAWD Twirling, kissing her sister, and she even kissed Charlie??? She hit her water bowl 2 or 3 times for a splash and dash, and then ran right over and hopped up on her couch!

She was home, her sister and brother were here, her water and food bowls were here, the servants were here, the P.P. was HOME!!! All was right with her world!

I have never seen her so happy and so fired up as she was when she burst through the front door!  

It made the whole trip worth it, just to see how happy she was to “come home.”

the chauffeur

under: Uncategorized

Happy Birthday to the P.P.

Posted by: | October 11, 2011 | 10 Comments |

Well…the P.P. is going to be 5 on October 15th.

She has been in our life since April 4th, 2009 and we have packed a ton of wonderful “stuff” in that time.

She has met hundreds of people and brought joy, smiles and a few tear filled memories to almost everyone of them.

On her birthday we usually take her to “her” favorite In and Out hamburger store. Being the selfish humans that Cindi and I are, we planned a trip to the Sierra’s for fall colors and will not be here to take the P.P. for her birthday “cheeseburger and fries”, so…hopefully, she will forgive us and put on a brave face and try to have a good time when we take her to In and Out on Friday, the 21st. 

We are so blessed to have Shelby in our lives and so fortunate to have met and made so many friends through TRIPAWDS.

Here’s an early Happy 5th Birthday to Shelby, our Petite Princess.

the chauffeur



under: Uncategorized

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

A simple 4 X 6 picture

Posted by: | February 6, 2011 | 6 Comments |

Charlie, the worlds most handsome Cocker Spaniel, and I were at his twice monthly gig at the Healdsburg Library yesterday morning chatting with the mother of one of Charlies regular readers. She thanked us for “giving up” our Saturday morning and I told her thank you for supporting the public library and for letting Charlie hang out with her son for a little while. She looked on while Charlie, her son and I went over to couch and read “The Cat in the Hat knows a lot about that.” 

We carry 4 X 6 “autographed” pictures of Charlie with us and when the children finish reading to him, if they are a new reader, we always ask if they would like one of Charlie’s autographed pictures to use as bookmark, or if they are a returning reader, we have Skoo Be Doo, Thomas the Train or Barbie stickers? 

When he finished reading to Charlie, I asked which sticker he wanted? He kinda hemmed and hawed and asked for a Thomas the Train sticker and as he walked over to meet his mom, I could see that he wasn’t very happy. His mom came over and asked if they could have another picture of Charlie? She said he had taken Charlies picture to school for a show and tell type thing and when the teacher heard the story of how he came in 2 Saturdays a month just to practice his reading, she asked if she could post Charlie’s picture on a bulletin board at the front of the classroom?  He was so happy and a bit embarrassed, but he told the teacher, sure. 

The teacher used that 4 x 6 picture to reward a young man’s efforts to better himself and to let the other students know the program was available every Saturday of the month for no charge at a public library, but, Charlie was only there the first and third Saturday!

We are so happy we found the right job for Charlie, and it’s good to be reminded that sometimes it’s the small things you share that can create a “moment” for someone.. We thought having the 4 X 6 pictures was kinda cool and a novel way for the kids to remember Charlie. We had no idea what it would do for this one young man and hopefully his classmates.


under: My family

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

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