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Skippy: From Rescued Dog to Therapy Dog

IN THE April 6 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
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by Lee Juslin

When Jack adopted a little Boston Terrier from a local rescue, Boston Brigade Rescue, Peanuts, as he was called, was Jack’s third Boston. “I was specifically looking for another Boston, but I had to change his name right away to Skippy,” said Jack. “All my Bostons have been named Skippy, and I really like that name.” And, the name turned out to be especially fitting for the happy little dog.

Skippy

Jack, who is retired, was looking for some kind of volunteer work. “I needed something to keep me away from computer games, and I noticed how Skippy, when we walked the neighborhood, was eager to greet everyone including the folks in cars stopped at a stop sign. I had heard about pet therapy so I approached Paws’itive Teams. I knew they trained guide dogs and other service dogs, but I had learned they also had a program for therapy dogs. This would be something Skippy and I could do together.”

After Skippy III was certified as a therapy dog, he and Jack began regular therapy visits at Mission Bay High School, a school for severely handicapped teens. They stayed with the program through the school year, but then decided that Skippy’s particular talents of greeting and engaging with people were not being fully utilized.

After joining Love on a Leash, Jack and Skippy, together with other therapy teams, began visiting at a local VA Hospital, some area convalescent homes, and a Senior Center. Skippy was so good at his job that he often disrupted the planned schedule because he couldn’t pass a room without checking to see if he was needed. He relished the hugs and attention patients and residents gave him, and he didn’t want to miss any opportunity to spread his particular brand of joy.

One day on a visit to the VA, Jack and Skippy entered a quiet room. Following their usual procedure, Jack lifted Skippy up onto the bed so he could snuggle with the patient. The man reached out to Skippy and told Jack that he had had Boston Terriers. The two began to chat about the breed. As they left, a nurse outside the room stood in amazement. “You know, I don’t believe we’ve ever heard him talk before, he just grunts and points.”

“That made me feel good,” said Jack, “because that’s what it’s all about.” Jack and Skippy continued to visit the man regularly and talk about their dogs until the man passed away about a month later.

Jack and Skippy’s rescue group doesn’t know much about Skippy’s background. He was found wandering the streets scavenging for food, but, based on his condition and the welts on his back, Jack guesses that he was neglected and abused. Skippy spent about a week in veterinary care for his various issues before he was ready for adoption. Jack has a fenced in area to prevent Skippy from taking up his wandering ways again and has also put a GPS unit on his collar. “I’ve used it twice. After all, he is a terrier!”

At home, Skippy is alert to Jack’s moods, letting Jack know when it is time for walks, treats, or meals by jumping up into his lap and gently putting his face up to Jack’s by way of reminding Jack of his responsibilities. “I don’t know what happened to him in his early life, but whatever it was, he didn’t give up on people.”

You can find more animal rescue, therapy dog, 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.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathryn S April 6, 2013 at 9:15am

This made me laugh … my Grandmothers best friend Beulah raised Bostons … and they were ALL named ‘Bully’ — the girls because they were, and the boys because they tried to be! — she said it was really because they all looked alike. Always been one of my favorite breeds – happy dogs that always have a smile on their face.

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2 Nancy Coxwell April 6, 2013 at 10:33am

Lee`s articles inspire me. Dogs are so forgiving.

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3 Maria Ruiz
Twitter: @profile
April 6, 2013 at 5:56pm

What a nice story. Heart warming for those of us who adopt stray dogs.

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