Saturday, April 9, 2016

CHAMP to the Rescue!

CHAMP to the Rescue is a rescue dog program run by CHAMP Assistance Dogs.  Selected dogs from local animal shelters receive 8-12 weeks of training in basic skills and house manners, giving them a "second chance" at a forever home.

Last week another "CHAMP to the Rescue" happened...  
Triad School District's Silver Creek Elementary School unexpectedly found themselves without Therapy Dogs for their much anticipated Family Reading Night.  Special young readers, through their hard work, had earned the opportunity to read a favorite book to a furry, 4 legged listener. With the event only days away, Triad teacher Andy Frey, along with CHAMP Therapy Dog Program Coordinator Liz Aurbach, put out the call to Illinois CHAMP Therapy Dog Teams to fill the need at Silver Creek Elementary School.  In addition to being a great teacher in the Triad School District, Andy and his dog, Bentley (Cairn Terrier) are a great CHAMP certified Therapy Dog Team!  (Andy in blue shirt, center, below).      
CHAMP Therapy Dog Teams and Therapy Dog friends
joined forces at Family Reading Night!
Two and 4 legged alike had a wonderful time at Family Reading Night!  Magnum (below) learned about Bossy Pigs, fishing and how to make sand castles!  But most of all he, and all his Therapy Dog friends, loved to meet and listen to the young readers at Silver Creek Elementary School.
Magnum listening to his new friend read her book!
As I reflect on this evening, I am proud to be a part of such a selfless group.  The joy, professionalism and camaraderie present with these Therapy Dog Teams is a privilege to be a part of.  Thanks to the CHAMP Trainers for training such a wonderful group of dogs (and their people!).   And thanks to Liz Aurbach, Therapy Dog Program Director extraordinaire, who keeps track of us all and coordinates the many requests for CHAMP Therapy Dogs.

Last, but not least, "Thank You" to Silver Creek Elementary School for allowing us the opportunity to share our wonderful dogs with your wonderful readers.

Miss Carol

Monday, March 7, 2016

Assignment - St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Victim Services Unit!

Smiles for the kids at the Carnahan Courthouse!
At the end of 2015, Magnum participated in a pilot program at the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Victim Services Unit.  Victim Advocate Caseworker, Becky Schulz, is a believer in the Power of Pet Therapy.  Through her Social Work Masters Program at the University of  Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), Becky sought to evaluate the ability of specially trained Facility Dogs to help victims, primarily children, as they seek justice in the Court System.

Her results – nothing less than wonderful!  Not all victims were willing to participate in the pilot program.  (This is always a factor, no matter how impactful the study – a certain percentage of people will choose to not participate.) However, for those that did participate, the results spoke for themselves.  These results were not statistical, but they were demonstrated in smiles, calm demeanors, gentle touch and voices lifted as they told their stories to the Prosecutors and to Magnum.  While the people of the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office are sworn to obtain justice for their young victims, Magnum serves in a different manner.  His job is to bring the children (and their families) unconditional love, comfort and joy. 
Even baby Magnum plays a role.  He can snuggle with kids both in the Courtroom and at home!
Magnum + Victim Services Unit.  It is a powerful combination and one which surely will make a difference in the lives of children and adults alike who pass through the doors of the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office.  We are thankful for this opportunity to help crime victims and look forward to many smiles ahead!

Miss  Carol