Stella’s life has taken her to some amazing places and done amazing things. She and her person put in countless hours of training to get to the point of being certified as a therapy dog team with Alliance of Therapy Dogs based out of Wyoming. Stella worked for an hour every week with the physical therapists at a local care facility. In this hour, patients would find joy in their time with the PT’s by playing games with her. These games would be simple things like throwing a tennis ball for her (helping them gain arm strength or arm/shoulder mobility); walking her outside (helping the patient with their balance); tying a scarf on her (fine motor skills) and then walking her to the next patient across the room for them to tie another scarf on her. Patients would go back and forth until all the scarves were on Stella. And then process would be reversed with taking a scarf off of her. Playing a type of “hide and seek” was fun so that a patient who suffered vision loss/peripheral vision would have to learn to turn their head in that direction to see better. We called this Hide and Seek. And on many occasions the PT would thank Stella for helping them get a patient who did not want to do anything to engage in some sort of exercise.
Another program Stella’s person started was a R.E.A.D. program at one of their local elementary schools. This is a program founded by Intermountain Therapy Animals in Utah. She would listen to countless stories read from books or even magazines by students that needed help improving their reading skills or overcoming their fear of reading out loud. What could be more fun that resting her head on a reader’s lap and listening to stories that took both the reader and the listener to many places. This would be one of the most rewarding things she and her person have ever done. (Besides her person raising two beautiful daughters.)
One of the other rewarding therapy dog jobs has been spending three days at a camp for kids of military personnel, multiple years in a row. At this camp Stella and her friends would greet the campers on check-in day, play ball and run around, be the snack fairies to each cabin full of kids and the best of all, getting lots of love from the kids and camp personal.
The days of working and playing hard have come to a close after suffering an injury a few years ago. Though those strong legs can no longer run fast like they used to, they still have a lot of heart left in them.
How do I know all this about Stella? Because I am her person. She is the one who has rescued me and my family from a pit of despair. She is the one to whom I could give so much love to that was still left inside of me after this tragedy. But I have to be honest. I do not consider it luck nor do I consider our story coincidence. I call it a perfect match brought together because of the One who loves me.
Perhaps you have a senior dog that means the world to you. Capturing those memories of them in photographs is a great way to cherish that pet who has loved you every single day. Contact me so we can can create some beautiful artwork for your walls or perhaps an album for on your coffee table. Click Here
This is a blog circle that will take you around the world, so head on over to Kylee Doyle of Kylee Doyle Photography, photographing one lucky pup in the greater Sacramento area.