Saturday, July 30, 2011

“Speaking of Humans” Leash Walking - From the Dog’s Point of View

This is just something from another site, but it is soooo true. Walking with our humans is supposed to be the most enjoyable experience for us dogs. It means more than 'just walking' or ' going out for a pee' for us. When we as pups learn to walk with our humans, we develop a strong bond (depending on how they walk with us). A confidant owner who does not pull the dog, trusts the dog, lets him sniff the place, lets him meet and play with other dogs; will never have a problem walking their dogs. I am one of the fortunate dogs who get to walk without a leash. Read this little piece on what we dogs really go through when our people do not understand our need while walking.

“Speaking of Humans”

Leash Walking - From the Dog’s Point of View

We called a few dogs together to discuss how they felt about walking on a leash with their humans. We got some interesting feedback from the other end of the leash.

“My dad is always upset with me on our walks. He keeps pulling on my leash while he’s yelling at me not to pull. And I’m like ‘hey dude...why don’t you practice what you preach?‘“

“She’s in a rush and drags me around the park every morning before work. I wish she would slow down and let me check my pee-mail once in a while.”

“I can’t seem to get it right. First they choke me, then they pinch me, and now they shock me. Do they think I know something? Honest, I don’t know anything. I wish I knew how to make them stop.” Puh-leeez somebody make them stop!”

“This is my pet peeve (ha-ha, no pun intended). She takes me for my walk while she’s on her cellphone!! She doesn’t even notice what I’m doing. I’m taking a pee, right? And she just keeps on walking and talking and meanwhile I’m hopping on one leg peeing all over the sidewalk...”

"The worst is when I see another dog and we both want to say hi. Our humans start pulling our leashes so tight we can’t even say a proper hello. And then we’re both so frustrated that one of us starts barking and lunging, and... ok I’ll be honest, it’s usually me.”

“Man that sucks. But guess what? I get to go out on a retractible leash. I can bark at all the other dogs and run up and scare people walking by. It’s a blast! I can get as far away as 20’ if I want to. And believe me I want to!”

People...are you listening?

To know more about therapy dogs of Animal Angels Foundation and our work, visit our site

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Therapy dogs of Mumbai

Many dogs like me are trained to pick up the newspaper from the front door in the morning. But how many dogs get to see their photo in the paper? I am one of the lucky ones who is featured in a leading newspaper ' Mumbai Mirror'. But its not just me, my other team mate, my fellow therapy dogs who are providing comfort to those in need, all through Mumbai are also featured in this article. We are Animal Angels Foundation - Therapy dogs team, Mumbai.

To read our article click here

I heard my mom (my human mom - Mrs. Srivastava) saying that she was proud of me and that she has kept the cuttings of all the articles that I have been featured in till now. I don't really see the point of newspapers, as we dogs just bark and or wag tails to spread the news and lick or sniff to get the latest news. My fellow therapy dogs - Coco, - a handsome Lab, Oscar - a gorgeous Golden Retriever, and Aekon - a dashing chololate Lab are also featured in the article.

Coco is one of our new team mates who has already worked with kids who find it difficult to read or adjust emotionally. He may seem to be a big dog, but he is extremely gentle. Like the paper says, he's also very intuitive about even the slightest emotional changes. Be it his owners or the kids with whom he works. If he sees you feeling low, he will snuggle by you can stick with you till you feel better. He has also volunteered as a reading buddy at some of our 'Tails of Joy' p. He surely is a promising therapy dog.

Aekon is now a senior therapy dog. He has been visiting the hearing impaierd children since the past three years. He can connect with the kids on a level where humans can't. Being dogs, we don't need language, words, phrases to communicate. We can understand a child who cannot hear or talks in broken words. He may be laughed at by other kids, but Aekon will always wag his tail for him. The emotional support and the environment of acceptance that Aekon provides this kids help them open up and enjoy their life. Aekon has also visited children with Cerebral Palsy. A great fan of fetch, Aekon never gets tired of running after and picking up the ball, even if the child is not able to hold the ball or throw the ball properly. Playing with Aekon encourages the children to use their hands and legs to their maximum ability.

I have heard of many owners who complain about how their dogs go crazy at the sight of a book or paper and tear it up. But have you heard of a dog who sits quietly in front of a book and who helps kids read?! Oscar the gorgeous Golden Retriever is our ' Reading Buddy' who visits book stores and schools and helps children with reading/learning problems. The best thing about reading out to Oscar is that he does not laugh at the kids when they make mistakes. The kids love to lie down on his belly and read. Some times Oscar puts a paw on a page to keep it from flipping over. He helps children read diffucult spellings or understand the meaning of a sentence.

If you are a dog, healthy and clean, if you love to be with people, love being petted, if you can understand people in need, if you never get tired of playing and if you have the ability to bring a smile on the face of every person who meets you, then contact me. We need dogs like you to spread love. You get to be with your family plus you get to make people in need happy.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Naughty Enough For 50 kidsNaughty

One of my friend Naughty turned 3 years old this 25th of December. Naughty - What a name! As pups we all are naughty, but with a name like that, you get a license to be Naughty all your life.

Contrary to his name, Naughty is an example of understanding and compassion. For 50 HIV-infected children who have been distanced from society or orphaned at a young age, he is a strong anchor.But he is no psychologist or counselor. Naughty, a Labrador mix is a trained therapy dog specially deputed at Manavya, a home for destitute and orphaned HIV infected children at Bhugaon on the outskirts of Pune.

Naughty was from the litter of Pune's first therapy dog - Sophie. She was a very loving and energetic Labrador. Naughty was the naughtiest of all pups and that's how Minal named him. All the pups found homes except for Naughty. Minal then decided to train him as a therapy dog for an orphanage. This was not just any orphanage. This was a place called Manavya where kids who were HIV +ve and who were abandoned by their families got a home. I have lived through the feeling of abandonment and know how terrible it feels. Especially when you need support and care. These kids had to grow up in a secluded place away from city, since society did not accept them. Though these kids got the needed medical and educational support, what they required was acceptance - unconditional acceptance.
Naughty went there as a therapy dog for about 50 such children. The kids were so excited with the prospect of having a dog of their own that they made teams with in themselves and decided on who will bathe his, how will feed him and who will take him for a walk. It was such a pleasant change for them, they finally had some one to call their own. They would all want to play with him at once. And true to his name, Naughty would run all around not letting any one catch him. He would sit in their classrooms (though he was not allowed in there). When their teacher would scold them, Naughty would hide under the table and the children would try to save him.

The biggest change he brought about was in the adolescent kids. They needed a companion with whom they could talk, complain about their supervisors, share their pain etc. Naughty was all that for them. A 16 year old boy who was very shy, would talk to Naughty and share his feelings. He also learned to train him and found self confidence. A young girl got very attached to Naughty. She was known to be cranky and attention seeking. She was also in a difficult age and the supervisors found her rebellious. She was then made in charge of handling Naughty. She was also taught how to give him commands, how to take him for a walk etc. Her whole world started revolving around Naughty. She found an outlet to her emotions and to her energy. Naughty was her constant companion with whom she could be herself. Later on Naughty had to be taken off the Therapy dog program due to administrative reasons. He was later adopted by Reena Ginwala and her daughters. Naughty now stays with them and is renamed Ziggy. The children from Manavya were heart broken when Naughty was taken away from them, but even today they wish him Happy Birthday every year. Naughty touched the lives of these children and showed us all a way to be 'positive' in life.

To know more about us visit our website

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