Norman Leafy Nellie Breeze Xavi Puffin Grace
I first started the therapy activity work with Dennis, Leafy and Boo. As the work bookings increased we definitely
needed another dog to satisfy all the very keen laps and participants of the sessions! So began even more reading and research
for me to find another ‘right’ dog for the work.
As we work with vulnerable children and adults, it was
absolutely essential that the new dog would be 100% trustworthy and for that reason alone I had to start with a puppy. Many
people ask us if the dogs are rescues – I am afraid that the risk of the unknown with a rescue dog is too great for
our work – so, with the exception of Leafy (she was only meant to be fostered for three weeks and stayed ten years -
I couldn't help falling in love with her!) - all the dogs were bought as 8-10 week old puppies and started their training
and work immediately - which at that age meant cuddles and kisses and falling asleep on peoples laps!
From Xavi on, all the dogs were chosen for their breed, temperament, intelligence, size and non-shedding’ness. They all
passed the puppy temperament test that I gave them and have all lived up to how I expected their characters to turn out. To
give you an idea of how important the choice of puppy is to us – it took us six months, numerous phone conversations
and several walk aways from litters of puppies that just weren’t right - for all kinds of reasons – just to find
Crowley. That story was the same for all the puppies.
We are probably the only people who work in this field, with
so many dogs together and who have bought and trained puppies solely and specifically for this work. Who else would be mad
enough to own seven, very busy, dogs?!
Xavi is a Maltese
x Bichon Frise - born 5/9/13 and is an amazingly sensible, sensitive and sweet natured boy. He is a busy, clever little
bee and I have yet to find something he can’t do. He has an ever increasing list of tricks and activities and he loves
doing all of them. Xavi is the kindest, calmest and most gentle dog I have ever known - he knows just what to do for hard
to reach people. He is very polite, has impeccable manners and always 'lets' people win in his competitive activities!
Puffin is a Maltese x
chocolate Toy Poodle - born 21/12/13. He has his own agenda of what he thinks needs to be done and when - which doesn't
always match mine! However, when you can get his attention, he is super keen to learn new tricks and skills and even adds
in some of his own. He plays the castanets and has many unique one on one games (competitive buttons, for example) that he
plays with residents - but he never lets them win! He is very clever, lots of fun and very naughty.....!
Breeze is an apricot Standard Poodle - born 21/2/14 and what a
summer breeze he is! He likes to squash his smaller 'siblings' when playing and sometimes it is hard to decipher
who is who in the bundle! He is very handsome boy with magnificent ears, but without
an ounce of co-ordination in his legs! Breeze is my hoopla dog and ‘helps’
people with any near misses. He is also the train driver when all the little dogs are in their 'wagons'. He
is best friends with Puffin and is the 'good boy' who is usually left with the chewed up shoe etc. -
having been framed by Puffin!
Grace is a Shih Tzu x Toy Poodle - born 4/5/14. She is a cute as a button and is constantly being stuffed into handbags and pockets in thinly
veiled attempts to puppy-nap her! It appears that she will not need to learn any tricks at all as it seems her cutie pie looks
will be enough to get her through life without having to try too hard! In fact, she has trained all her ladies to hold her
chew for her and to 'budge up' to let her sit beside them in the chair! Grace is definitely a lady who lunches - she
absolutely refuses to learn anything at all, despite the fact that her cross is made up of two very intelligent breeds!
Crowley is a Shih Tzu x Chihuahua - born 1/3/15. He is a massive 7lbs and
looks like a micro-lion with his unique hair do - and with his one blue eye and one brown eye, he is just irresistible. Crowley
has got a huge character, maybe too huge, as he has taken it upon himself to be the In Charge Top Dog! He is best friends
with Grace and they spend most of their time chasing each other or wrestling! He just loves a cuddle and will snuggle into
the crook of your arm, or neck, for a snooze! He makes the most perfect room visit dog as he will sit completely still in
bed with a resident and very gently touch their face with his face. Many a tear has been shed seeing him work his magic.
Nellie is a Chinese Crested x Chihuahua - born 17/5/17. She is a hairless breed, which provides
quite a unique cuddle experience! She is a one woman whirlwind of busy'ness - there is no resisting her kisses - at all
- even if you wanted to and her amazingly friendly
character has won over everyone she has ever met! She has just started her trick training and I think she is going to be quite
the acrobat - if running up your legs and leaping into the air hoping you will catch her - counts towards that! She is progressing
on the piano and I am sure will be up to Grade One soon. She also has a onesie for every occasion! Norman and
Nellie are a comedy duo when they play together.
is a Tibetan Spaniel x Chihuahua - born 20/1/18. He is the most laid back, easy going, happy-go-lucky chap
ever. Unlike the other dogs, he is a 'normal' hairy dog, no wacky hair-do's for me - just lovely soft,
silky hair and the gorgeous floofy ears! He loves everyone and everything - people, dogs, food, cats, chickens, shoes
etc. He loves his lap dog job, but is more often than not being carried round by staff and relatives! He is best
friends with Nellie, who is always leading him down the naughty path!
Norman has converted all the "I'm not really a dog person"
people, after a single cuddle!
My dogs are vaccinated, routinely
treated for fleas and worms and are also bathed before sessions. The
Poodle, Shih Tzu, Maltese. Chinese Crested and Bichon Frise are all non shedding breeds and so are potentially
suitable for people with allergies.
We very sadly lost Boo to cancer in June 2014
Our loss is great but the joy he gave to so many, for so long, was greater.
Bless that dog, one
of a kind – he waits for us at Rainbow Bridge x
15 years of bringing joy and dollies to people
died in March 2018.
Now running with Boo. We will forever miss that non stop wagging tail x
Leafy was, and always will be, the most courageous dog I have ever known.
She is remembered by everyone that ever met her.
rescued us in 2009 and gave us 10 wonderful years 2019.
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