The Paw Street Journal
by Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc.
News From the World of Therapy Dogs September, 2010
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Canine Assisted Therapy is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization and relies solely on donations from the community for support. Your donation will help us to provide support, training, education and mentoring to those interested in dog therapy programs. Please help us to continue our service to those in need by donating generously today.

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Volunteer Tips


- Use your talents and skills. Find a project or program that fits your particular interests.

- When you identify a project or program, interview the people in charge. Make sure it's a good fit.

- Think about how you'd like to serve. Are you more comfortable in large groups (renovating a community center) or one-on-one (teaching someone to read)?

- Don't take on more than you can handle. You know your limitations. Only pledge the amount of time with which you are comfortable.

- Consider who is being helped and know that they need you.
Find opportunities to volunteer with your family.

- Be open to learning from the experience. Volunteering can open your eyes in too many ways to count.

- Find the joy in service. After all, it's not work!























Content by C.A.T. Co-founder and Executive Director -
Debra M. Berger


Contributing Editor -
Charlotte R. Fee

Pet TravelBy Susan Smith - PetTravel.com

Finally, the summer heat is beginning to wane and there is a hint of coolness in the air. Fall is a great time to load the family in the car (including the family pet) and take off to enjoy the scenery. Here are some great tips for bringing your pet on your trip so that everyone will have a safe and happy trip.

If your pet is not accustomed to traveling in the car, take several short trips several weeks ahead of your travel. Go someplace fun like a dog park so your pet will associate car travel with a positive experience.

Make sure your pet is healthy. Check with your vet, and renew any shots that are due.

Be sure to give them a treatment of flea and tick medicine as some areas may have parasites that are different from where you live. Also necessary is a treatment of heart-worm medicine if your vet thinks it is a good idea. Mosquitoes can infect your pet so it is better to take precautions.

Check your pet's supplies: (pack all of your pet stuff in one small bag where you can get to it):
  • Sturdy leash and collar
  • Pet name tag (hopefully it has a cell phone number on it)
  • A picture of your pet in case your pet gets separated from you
  • Bottled water, and a water dish (preferably the kind that does not spill)
  • Supply of their pet food, a dish and maybe a spoon, and don't forget the treats
  • Any medication that your dog is taking and the phone number of your pet's veterinarian
  • A few chews and a toy or two
  • A pet restraint device (carrier, crate, or harness)
  • Plastic Bags for picking up after your dog
Feed your pet a light meal several hours before you depart and then take them for a long walk before you start your trip.

GETTING THE CAR READY

Create a place where your pet can ride safely and still see out the window, while still being able to be touched by you. Sitting in your lap while you are driving is not the best idea. Pets can cause distractions to both drivers and passengers and cause accidents if not properly restrained when the car is in motion.

Whether your pet rides in a carrier, crate, or restraining device is up to the size and temperament of the pet. Remember that it is more important to keep your pet safe than allow them to move about the car freely.

A blanket or a soft pet bed would be great so they feel at home. If your cat is traveling with you make a place for the kitty litter. First lay down a piece of plastic (a trash bag will do).

TRAVELING DOWN THE HIGHWAY

Chances are, when you are on the road, your pet will sleep ninety percent of the time when they are not looking out the window or getting pets from you. Break up the driving every two to three hours, especially for smaller animals. Always leash your pet before taking them out of the car.

NEVER LEAVE THEM ALONE IN THE CAR

Modern cars are virtually air tight and a pet left alone in a car is at risk of not getting enough air, or suffering from heat. Even though the air temperature is only 70F (20C) a car in the sun can get hot very quickly.

OVERNIGHT IN A MOTEL

Hopefully you checked Pettravel.com and booked a pet friendly hotel or motel online. If the hotel/motel charges a pet fee, pay it; don't try to hide your pet.

When you arrive, ask for a ground floor room near an area where you can take a walk with your pet. The center courtyard is not the right place. Be sure to pick up after your pet so that the hotel/motel will remain pet friendly.

Most accommodations ask that you do not leave the pet alone in the room for obvious reasons. You may have to order take out or room service, or you may even find a pet friendly restaurant, look for places with outdoor seating areas like sidewalk cafes.

YOU HAVE ARRIVED AT YOUR DESTINATION

Show your pet around their new home, where you have placed their food, water, and bed. Take them outside and let them get familiar with their surroundings. Be sure and watch them closely until you are sure they are comfortable.

Having your pet with you while on vacation can make the trip more memorable for everyone. There is no reason to leave your best friend at home if you do a little advance preparation.

Susan is the owner and president of PetTravel.com, the oldest and most comprehensive website on the internet for traveling pet owners.

Anna Sokoloff and Cosmo
Anna and Cosmo Spotlight

C.A.T. Volunteer and Board Member:

Anna Sokoloff


Advanced Certified C.A.T. Dog:

Cosmo

aka - CH. Sunshine Best of Both Worlds C.G.C.

C.A.T. Member Since:
October 17, 2009





C.A.T.:
Please tell us something memorable about a time that you volunteered for C.A.T.

Anna:
"I have numerous memorable moments volunteering for C.A.T. There are so many facets of volunteering; visiting facilities, fund raising, education, temperament testing of new recruits, and promotional awareness to name a few. Having been a member of C.A.T. for almost one year, there have been many first time experiences.

The children will always touch my heart, but this year I had one member of the staff in the facility I visit be very fearful of dogs. She avoided Cosmo and spoke to us from afar. Her family wanted a pet very badly but was vetoed by Mom. She was terrified! So after much convincing, this staff member finally touched Cosmo, then practiced stroking him every visit, (from the rear at first). The terror has been alleviated, and she now has a beautiful Boxer puppy at home which she helps care for. She always calls Cosmo into her office for some special loving.

There are too many memorable moments to relate when Cosmo and I have visited with the children at the facility. Often when the visit is over and I am settling Cosmo in the car, I realize the enormity of suffering these children endure daily. Then, once in a while I allow myself to shed a tear or two.

One first experience for us was the sweet child in the wheelchair who has a smart and lively brain but could not move anything but his hands, which were unnaturally twisted. His eyes lit up brightly and he gave a huge grin on seeing Cosmo. He immediately asked if he could walk Cosmo up and down the corridor. I hesitated for a second as Cosmo had to perform this task safely without being run over, as the smiling child waited I placed Cosmo's leash in his hand. The case-worker and I were beaming at the child's cries of delight as Cosmo proudly, yet gingerly, trotted in front of the wheelchair. We have performed this now with different children many times since, but I will never forget that first time!

Sometimes the doctors will ask us to sit next to a child as they are given injections. The child will stroke Cosmo with his free hand and smile at him through their tears of pain. Cosmo does a good job of distraction. He even sneaks in a lick or two. I often have to tell him, "Keep your licker in your mouth Cosmo", which amuses the child to a giggle.

It has been a year of 'firsts' for Cosmo also, and he has handled the unusual and sometimes noisy equipment in the clinic with no problem. He will sit with the children on the loud ventilators until they fall asleep. The siblings of the children being treated also attend the clinic with their families. Many times we all sit in a circle in the corridor and as Cosmo is performing tricks and being petted, I try to educate these children on how to love and care for a dog. I have to be very mindful that some of the little children have no knowledge of how to behave around animals and poor Cosmo sometimes receives some heavy prods and pokes from the rougher children. Cosmo has been amazing and has made me so very proud as he loves all the attention the children shower on him and offers much love in return."

C.A.T.: How has becoming a C.A.T. Team changed you?

Anna: "Volunteering for me is rewarding but also a humbling experience. It has reminded me how fortunate I am to bring a smile to a child's lips or comfort to an adult who may be having a stressful day. All this takes place just by being there with my dog! I am very grateful to have met some wonderful and genuine people in the C.A.T. Team world. My dog, Cosmo, is like Velcro and loves to be close to me at all times. I had been looking for some time to find a therapy group who are what I like to call 'Full Service'. C.A.T. evaluates dog teams, places them in an already vetted facility, and accompanies the volunteer on first visits. For a new volunteer it is a dream scenario. No other therapy group in this area takes time to be so involved.

Because of my working mainly out of the county for so many years, I had not been able to be part of the community life. C.A.T. allowed my dog and I the opportunity to give back to the community together. I do not know that becoming a C.A.T. Team has 'changed me' as much as it has enriched my life and given Cosmo and I a new sense of purpose and a reason to be positive and happy every day. When I volunteer for C.A.T., with or without Cosmo, it is always a positive experience and I enjoy that feeling. I feel lucky I found C.A.T.!"