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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
· 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
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
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.