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Remember those that have passed over
the Rainbow Bridge before us


  Oreo, beloved therapy bunny of Marcy Ellenbogen


Oreo was an amazing animal and awesome therapy bunny. He touched so many lives and people of all ages. I know his legacy will live on forever. He taught me so many things and brought so many smiles to everyone he met.

He has book and a website and I know will be remembered and cherished by many for many, many years.

On one of our visits to the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, the kids decided to draw Oreo and then wanted me to have the pictures. How awesome is that!!!!

It is amazing what this little 4 lb. adopted/rescue from the Santa Monica Animal Shelter did for 12 1/2 years. He lived well beyond his life span, I'm sure because of all the love he had with the biggest heart for a little furry guy and all the love he gave and received.

I'm glad that many of you were able to meet Oreo and see how amazing he was.


  Callie, beloved therapy dog of Rosario Rogasch


Callie was my first Therapy Dog -- sweet, gentle, engaging, and most loving. She was my pride and joy and my husband used to say that she was Mommy's Girl; we went everywhere we could together, like the best of buddies.

I first realized she might make a good Therapy Dog while I was undergoing home care rehab therapy after my knee replacement surgery. When I could walk as far as a mile with my walker, I thought of joining my husband and our 4 dogs in the canyons where they would jog up the trails. We would drive to a fire road in the canyons and he would drop me off about a mile away so I could walk to the fire road with my walker, and then wait in the truck until they came back from their run.

I ambled down the winding road and as I came around a bend to see the trail and our parked truck, I saw Callie sitting at the trail next to our truck. When she saw me, her ears perked up and she ran to me. My loyal, protective, caring Callie walked by me the rest of the way, keeping me herded to her left on the shoulder of the road. She did this every time. As much as I was averse to her being on the street side, she didn't want to come to my left side where she normally walks.

Even before that display of protective behavior, I was already getting many compliments about how friendly, sweet and loving she was. She would go up to anybody, tail wagging, genuinely happy with any attention she could get. One day, as I came out of the grocery store, an elderly lady asked if the dog in the back of the truck was mine. I worried that Callie may have startled her. Actually, she was so pleased that Callie greeted her as the she walked past the truck. It made her day. She wanted me to know that I had just about the sweetest, friendliest, loveliest dog she's ever met. It was then that I decided to look up therapy dogs, wanting to share Callie's big heart and big love and joy she can give with the world.

And that, she certainly did. I've made many acquaintances because Callie attracted attention. People couldn't help coming up to her or giving her attention, with her big smile, happy tail, openness. Yet, she was truest to me, her Mommy, perpetually at my side, looking up at me, eagerly awaiting my words.

Callie is now in Doggie Heaven, running with the wind, off-leash, like she enjoyed in life, hopefully keeping with me in spirit, still watching over me. She knows she's forever in my heart and thoughts.


  Bucky, beloved therapy dog of Susan Baribault


It was my privilege and honor to work with Bucky – our first golden retriever and my first therapy dog. We began AAT work in Mammoth Lakes, California at the Mammoth hospital. Both of us enjoyed the visits to patients and staff, Bucky made it so easy. We added Ronald McDonald House, Pasadena, to our schedule – Bucky and I made visits every week. We truly enjoyed our time with families and staff. He taught us how powerful the love and quiet attention of a therapy animal can be to patients, families and staff.

Bucky was part of our family to a greater extent than I realized. We all enjoyed just being with him – he loved the attention. He was quiet, loving, and always with us – someone wisely said "if you want your personal space, don’t get a golden" – how true! He had several favorite activities – any car ride, long or short; swims in lakes; digging and playing in the snow; hikes (especially if some form of water was involved); outings at the beach, and daily walks anywhere – and of course, anything that involved a tennis ball. Our family has been surrounded by so many FOB’s, or Friends of Bucky – not just family friends but also by the strength and support from the Mammoth and LA Chapters – amazing individuals.

It is strangely fitting that Bucky "changed worlds" on Valentine's Day. He touched and enriched so many lives with his unconditional, gentle love. I loved sharing him and watching how he transformed moods and feelings, all with his quiet manner.


  Denmark, beloved therapy dog of Barbara Hoelzle


Denmark came to Kaiser Permanente in 2001 as an eight week old Guide Dog in training for the blind. She changed careers and registered with Delta Society / Paws 4 Healing to start her career in Animal-Assisted Therapy.

Denmark worked with Psychiatrists to facilitate the recovery of a Postal Worker and a child who were attacked by dogs. She visited patients in the hospital, following some to skilled nursing facilities, and frequently visited patients on Christmas Day. She visited busy waiting areas, helping patients forget how long they had been waiting.

Denmark loved coming to work and would gleefully hug (rub up against) anyone who would allow it. In addition to the patients and family members, Denmark brought smiles to physicians and staff. She was always willing to offer her belly for a belly rub.

Denmark responded to commands in English, Spanish and hand signals. This was very entertaining for the children she visited at a local school while we were distributing books.

Denmark also worked with HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response providing comfort in times of crisis. She visited evacuation shelters and fire camps to thank the firefighters for their hard work. Firefighters had been fighting the Station Fire for four weeks with little progress. One firefighter in particular was noticeably depressed; he walked by us and did not say a word. He sat on the ground and signaled for Denmark to come over. She sat on his lap, with her head on his shoulder, as he wrapped his arms around her. He never did say a word but none were needed. The poster in my office depicting a firefighter on the ground hugging a dog, will be a constant reminder of the good work Denmark did.


  Clifford, beloved therapy dog of Claudine Singer


It is hard to lose one of our canine family members. The hurt is so very deep, I feel very lost without my Clifford.

Clifford provided me with the beginnings of my therapy volunteer work. After rescuing this golden boy, I knew he needed a job in order to keep him busy and happy. We started with Create-A-Smile in 2002 then on to Paws 4 Healing. In 2004, Clifford and I went through the HOPE AACR workshop and after a short time, we were deployed to the first train derailment in Glendale. After Hurricane Katrina, Clifford was there to greet the parents and children coming into the California resource centers. His journey continued at many of the Fire Base Camps and memorial services over the past several years. His last big call-out was the Chatsworth Metrolink Train Derailment, where he brought comfort to a woman for many hours by keeping her feet warm on a cold night, while she waited to hear the fate of her husband. This wonderful story continued over a year later when he met this woman again at another event and resumed his support by lying on her feet without any prompting.

Clifford lived his life to the max. He worked hard, played hard, ate with gusto, insisted at getting attention, was a bit of a trouble maker at times, brought you presents to make up for it, and was a big bundle of energy to the very end. Until you witnessed his difficulty walking, he looked perfectly fine. Stoic like no other. I miss him so very much! There is so much to learn from his short 12 years of life.

My Golden Boy!


Born: November 5, 1995

  Zeesee, beloved therapy dog of Judy Bin-Nun


Zeesee was the inspiration in my life to begin working in the field of Animal Assisted Therapy. I bless her forever for leading me on this path in life which honors the human-animal bond.

Zeesee was a Delta Pet Partner (retired at age 12), a member of Paws 4 Healing - Los Angeles Chapter, a R.E.A.D. Therapy Dog, worked on the People Animal Connection Team (PAC) at UCLA, the locked psyhciatric ward at the Wadsworth VA Hospital, OPICA, Westside Adult Support, Ronald McDonald House, many libraries in Greater Los Angeles and The Exceptional Children's Foundation. Zeesee was featured, when she was about 3 or 4 years old, on an NBC TV Show about Pets where she was followed at Exceptional Children's Foundation doing her amazing work. Zeesee was a wonderful and loving Therapy Dog and a beloved family pet.

She began her life with my funky male Griffy, Max C. Pupperton, and then helped raise (with lots of nips and nudges) Raizel Dazzle and Ketzel Korn. Zeesee and little Shepzel respected the differentiation of each other's space. From Zeesee (first cousin) came the line of Griffys Girls (sisters) from Carson City, Nevada and little Shepzel from Laguna Hills who became Delta Pet Partners like their big cousin.

Zeesee had many admirers and worked on therapy teams with many of her beloved dog pals who will be greeting her on the Rainbow Bridge. She will be sorely missed at home and will live in our hearts forever.

I dedicate this tribute in her loving memory and know her spirit is barking out warnings in our home, greeting me when I come home and doing her job to protect and serve those who love her!


  Chester, beloved therapy dog of Kelley Matthews


Chester started his career as a therapy dog in Colorado with Therapy Dogs, Inc. After his family moved to California, they joined Paws 4 Healing and became very involved with the R.E.A.D. program in several South Bay schools and libraries. Chester's quiet, gentle nature was perfect for encouraging children to read to him.

Chester fought a brave battle against cancer for six months, with the expected ups and downs. But aside from limitations in his walking range, for the most part he remained in good spirits and relatively good health.

Towards the end, he started to weaken, with a loss of appetite, and would only eat small pieces of ice. His breathing became labored and difficult, and it was obvious that he was very uncomfortable. It was his time, and he let us know.

Kelley shared their last moments with Chester: "When we were last alone with him and talking with him before the vet came in, he became very serene and relaxed, and rested his head in Kelley’s lap, and his breathing became calm. We had the chance to say good-bye in a tranquil setting, and he was at peace. We have a large hole in our hearts and will miss him. He was a central part of our lives for eight years, and we are very lucky."


  Reese, beloved therapy dog of Sharon Houston


A friend reminded me that dogs come into our lives to teach us something, either about ourselves or them or sometimes both…

Reese was rescued from the local shelter when she was 10 years old. With one look into her big brown eyes, our hearts melted and we knew she would be the one coming home with us. Over the years, I have tried to adopt dogs from the shelter that were older and may not get a second chance. With each new friend I am always impressed with what they have to give and how grateful the dogs are to have a new home. Reese was no exception.

She was the most self-confident dog I have ever owned. I was so impressed with her that I decided to pursue therapy dog work with her. We attended several obedience classes that were offered at our local park and Reese received her Canine Good Citizenship Certificate. One month later she passed her Delta Therapy Dog evaluation and later also was registered as a R.E.A.D. Dog. What a wonderful accomplishment for a dog that was now close to 11 years old.

We began to visit a rehabilitation hospital in Long Beach. Tail wagging and body wiggling with excitement, Reese walked the hallways of the hospital greeting people along the way. I was amazed at how many people thanked us for those few short minutes that we spent with them. More than once I heard the words "you made my day." The visits were truly rewarding.

Unfortunately Reese passed away unexpectedly. We woke up one morning to find that she had quietly died in her sleep. She will truly be missed by all of us.

A clipping that I have had on my desk for years sums up the lessons Reese taught me:

Things We Can Learn from a Dog
· Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
· Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
· When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
· Take naps and stretch before rising.
· Run, romp and play daily.
· Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
· Never pretend to be something you’re not.
· If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
· When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
· Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
· When you’re happy dance around and wag your entire body.
· Delight in the simply joy of a long walk.


Born: March 6, 2002
Weighed: 145 pounds
Favorite Toy: Water bottles
  Winston, beloved therapy dog of Nikki & Larry Conkings


Winston, beloved therapy dog of Nikki & Larry Conkings crossed the Rainbow Bridge on February 11, 2008.  Even though his life was short, he touched the lives of so many people that he will always be remembered.


Winston was affectionately known as, "Sir Winston", which fit him perfectly! At the age of one, he won the 2003 Big Dog Look-a-like contest at the Santa Barbara Big Dog Parade. He was also a contestant on "America's Top Dog" TV show in February 2004.

Winston became a therapy dog in 2003, making weekly visits to Long Beach Memorial/Children's Hospital. Being that Sir Winston loved kids, he made visits to local elementary pre-school classes for autistic children, and he was the mascot for the Kid's Camp of New Hope Grief Counseling group. He attended numerous camps over the past two years. Every year, Winston was invited to Career Day at the local kindergarten class to help explain all about pet therapy volunteer work.

Nikki said of Winston, "He was truly one of God's creatures and we always told him he was doing God's work. He will be greatly missed by all - we will love him forever!"

  Dixon, beloved therapy dog of Karen Kirchner

Dixon came to us from a rescue in July 2003 at age seven. We were head over heals from the get go. One of the first things he did when we got home was a running leap onto the cushioned chair in the corner of our bedroom. "I claim this chair", he was telling us. That’s where he slept that first night but then we thought the kitchen would be the perfect sleeping quarters from there on. WRONG!! By the second night of our kitchen trial he had lobbied successfully and convinced us that anywhere in the bedroom would be just fine. We bought him a new crate with some fleece blankets and the rest was history.

Dixon was not trained at all when we adopted him. We knew we had quite a task at hand to try and get a stubborn seven-year-old dachshund properly trained. We wisely opted for the slightly pricier obedience class, which would allow us to repeat as many times as needed at no additional course costs.

As time passed we knew we had a special little guy, but when my cousin mentioned one day at a family gathering that he felt Dixon, with his "soft" smooth coat and his calm demeanor, would be a good therapy dog, that really got us to thinking. Dixon got his Canine Good Citizen award and then passed the Delta Society Therapy Dog evaluations. Karen and Dixon volunteered at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and Henry Mayo Memorial Hospital in Santa Clarita for two and a half years. They earned the Presidential Service Award two years in a row.

We enjoyed many fun times with Dixon. It pained us greatly when his health turned this past fall. He developed some neurological problems in his spine and we visited all potential remedies to try and help him in his recovery but it got progressively worse and we lost him early in 2008. We loved him and miss him dearly.


This webpage is dedicated to our Paws 4 Healing animal partners who have gone before us.

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Updated: June 2014