Canine Cuddles and a Forever Home

Feb 1, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Lee Juslin, Pets

by Lee Juslin

Sandy and Izzie, a certified therapy dog, worked as a team to bring joy and comfort to seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They were even part of a therapy pet dance troupe that entertained the seniors. As a team, they were very closely bonded. So, when Izzie died, Sandy was devastated.

Several years passed, and though she had four cats, Sandy realized she missed that special doggie relationship. She missed canine cuddles. Linda, a friend, Scottie breeder and unofficial Scottie rescuer several states away in Tennessee, began urging Sandy to adopt another dog. After all, Linda knew there were so many homeless dogs who would just love to be Sandy’s cuddle-provider.

Then, one day attending a Bark and Park event in her home town, a local shelter told Linda about a Scottie they had. He’d been at the shelter for a while, but they were still hoping for an adoption because he was a pure bred Scottie and very cute. When Linda went to see the “Scottie”, she realized he was more Westie despite his large Scottie-like ears. “He’s not a Scottie,” Linda told the shelter staff, “but I know just the perfect home for him”. So, the Westie/Scottie went home with Linda as the first leg on his trip to a forever home.

There wasn’t much information about the little white dog except that he was found running down a five lane highway, was heartworm positive, about two years old and hadn’t been neutered. Linda notified Sandy that she had her dog, but that the little guy needed some care first. Linda began to clean up Ozzie; a name immediately selected by Sandy and started his heart worm treatment. Meanwhile she sent Sandy pictures and Sandy immediately fell in love. “I’ve never seen just a picture of a dog and fallen so completely in love, but I just knew he was mine”.

After about two weeks, Linda and Sandy made arrangements to meet half-way between Tennessee and Sandy’s home in Missouri, a trip of about one hundred and thirty miles for each. Unfortunately, about ninety miles out, Sandy had a blowout. She made arrangements to be towed to an area repair shop and then called Linda. No problem. Linda drove the extra distance to the repair shop and Ozzie met Sandy.

Ozzie at home

At home, introducing Sandy’s cats to Ozzie was not a big problem. Sandy has a two-story home and the older cats stay, for the most part, upstairs, but the younger cat seemed interested in making a playmate out of Ozzie, who has shown no aggressiveness towards the cats.

Ozzie’s heartworm treatment has continued and Sandy is hoping that he will be completely heart worm free soon. Then she can have him neutered. In the State of Missouri, neutering is free and there are discounts for other tests and procedures as well. Meanwhile Ozzie is proving to be very smart and a quick learner.

One hot summer day, Sandy was sitting on her back deck. She had put out a bowl of food for Ozzie. However, Ozzie seemed reluctant to eat, at least at first. Then, much to Sandy’s surprise, he carefully picked up the bowl of kibble, tipped it back towards him to avoid spillage, and carried it out to a shady spot under a tree. “That’s when I realized I wasn’t the smartest one in the family.”

Ozzie at play

Ozzie must have had a person who cared for him at one time because he already knew some basic commands, but Sandy has helped him learned some new tricks. For instance, when he fetches his beloved chicken toy, she will ask him for kisses. He then wraps his paws around her wrist like a hug and gives her a kiss either on her wrist or on her face. He has also learned that the old tricks are not enough, and when Sandy tells him to do something new and different, he figures out something on his own like adding a second part to an established trick.

Ozzie’s fame has spread beyond Sandy’s backyard as he is featured in a book about how to write a memoir of your pet. The author asked for information from other dog owners, and Sandy sent in pictures of Ozzie. He made the cut, and is featured in the book entitled: Write Your Pet’s Life Story in 7 Easy Steps by Mary Anne Benedetto.

Ozzie's toy box

When we asked Sandy about Ozzie becoming a therapy dog, she told us that he is young and still fairly excitable. “He’ll have to calm down quite a bit to become a certified therapy dog”. But can’t you just see him fetching and giving wrist hugs to a group of seniors in a nursing home?

Author’s note: Sandy and Izzie were my inspiration in getting involved in pet therapy work with my wonderful Nurse Frosty. Those years when Frosty and I visited in nursing homes, hospitals, and assisted living facilities and had all kinds of fun and interesting adventures are among the happiest in my life. Tails of a Therapy Dog. Frosty’s Story.

You can find more animal rescue, therapy animal, and other pet related articles in our pet section.

Want to know how to see your ad like this at the end of an article? Email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] for more info. 10% of all ad sales goes to animal rescue.

Lee Juslin is a free lance copywriter living in North Carolina with her husband, Scott, and her band of misfits: Tarquin, a Wheaten Scottish Terrier, and three handicapped cats. They can be seen on their website: Hampshire Hooligans. She owns I B Dog Gone, a small embroidery business and is the author of the Nurse Frosty books for children and Frosty’s Story: Tales of a Therapy Dog. She supports a number of national and regional terrier rescue organizations.


  1. Knowing Sandy and hearing all about Ozzie, this is a match meant to be. I hope this article will help others make the decision that they, too, can have such a relationship with an animal out there who needs someone to love.

  2. I don’t know who is the luckiest … Sandy or Ozzie. Together they will make a great team.

  3. Lee, I love Ozzie’s story. Izzie was an integral part of an online dog group Sandy & I belong to and the stories of Izzie are infamous. Perhaps magical is a better description. Thanks for writing about my friend, Sandy, and her two enchanting dogs. She is an inspiration.

  4. Loved this article about Ozzie by Lee Juslin!!! She did a great job telling Ozzie’s story. I’m so glad that he found his forever home. Sounds like it was a perfect match!!

    Maria Crocker

  5. Ozzie loves this! Thanks, Lee, for another great story – from a completely unbiased person of course.

  6. Heartwarming story of a dog and his owner finding each other!

  7. I’ve know Sandy for a long time from our online group, so I was lucky enough to know the wonderful one-of-a-kind Izzie. When Izzie left on his next journey, we were all so very sad. Who knew a person could get so lucky twice i their life! Ozzie is magnificent and also one-of-a-kind. I have fell even deeper in love with this little dog just reading this story.
    And what a face!!! 🙂

  8. Loved the story of Ozzie and Sandy! Ozzie is adorable!

  9. I would also like to add that Ozzie & Sandy were on a path to one another because of Izzie, who, btw, orchestrated the whole adventure. They were destined to be together. I hope their story will continue to be told in writing & I so look forward to reading all the enchanting adventures in detail of Ozzie & Sandy … so Lee, keep on writing about this dynamic duo!!!

    And, Ozzie, you magical boy you, you are a star, just like my Pearly Girl … just say’n

  10. Lee has hit the nail on the head again — I feel like I know Sandy, and her beloved Izzy -and now Ozzie has a special place – Thanks Linda for being there for both of them!

  11. Loved Ozzie’s story. A match made in heaven. Glad Sandy was able to love another dog after losing Izzie.

  12. What a charming, true story — typical of Kings River Life online and to which I subscribe – found it when I surrendered and support The Cat House on the Kings — yay, TCHOTK and KRL ! and all the king peeps who write and comment on it. Apricat.

  13. Wonderful story, Lee! Sandy and Ozzie are obviously a match made in heaven!

  14. I’d never heard of a dog giving wrist hugs before, but it sounds perfect for a person needing canine cuddles. 🙂

  15. I love the stories Lee writes. This is wonderful.


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