MP-23+

IMG_0346b.JPGHi guys and girls! Another update from the office. In between Sky’s lessons and my agility classes, I still try to go to the Mission Possibles. The Howlidays and Agility had interrupted my schedule a bit as well but I think I’m pretty much back on track. The last one was at the end of January. Several children R.E.A.D. some pawtastic stories to me.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin

The above is not totally true as you can live many lives in your head, I know I do, but you get the drift. Wished I could get mine all on paper. It would make communication with da humans so much easier.

Benji

MP-22+

I almost forgot to tell you about another successful mission I fulfilled at the library just before the holidays started. It must have been Mission Possible (MP) 22+ (we may have forgotten to post a couple of missions).

This time, four boys, three girls, and one teacher R.E.A.D. to me. Parents are always there too so there wasn’t a dull moment. I seem to have more repeat customers these days.  The teacher has read to me several times in hopes of starting the R.E.A.D. program at her school. For some reason, there is some resistance at her school. Can’t figure that one out; who would not want a real Dogtor at school?! Anyhowls, the nice teacher read to me from a nice book with lots of large pictures. I love those. This time we read a book about Christmas. I was a tad bit distracted as we had moved to another office. This is the third one. A new office means new sounds and distractions to get used to. Even though it’s a small library I can guarantee you that there is lots going on even on a Saturday. I guess everybody wanted to get books for the holidays.

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Hope you’re ready for a new year,
sit tight, we’re counting down,
Benji

Recert and MP-21

And yes, we are back in business in the animal therapy world as well. It took a while as M had surgery and was not supposed to do much of anything for way too long. It meant that I was super busy lending a helping paw. I followed her around like a puppy and lay down next to her to make sure she got enough rest. Man, let me tell you, you can get tired from lying down all day.

I also helped with chores. In the morning I had to make my own bed (yes, I do have a nice soft comfy blanket on my bed). I already put my toys away every day but now I had to pick up stuff M dropped on the floor as well. Yes, she can be quite messy. The good news is that I made a lot of treats for my treat account with all my extra helping. Maybe I should make this into a side business to keep the treats flowing.

IMG_8999b dIn addition, I got recertified for animal therapy a couple of weeks ago; this has to be done every two years to make sure we can still dot our i’s and cross our t’s. As an official R.E.A.D. partner, this was, of course, no problemo. Since all was deemed in order, we were able to visit the library together this morning for the first time in what felt like ages. Children R.E.A.D. to me while they petted me. It’s a nice way to start the day.  Hope y’all had a good start of the weekend too,

Benji

MP-20

You must be thinking by now, what’s up with Benji. Well, lots, just not enough time to write it all down yet. Last Wednesday, was probably the most exciting day of my career so far. I went to the famous MagLab! You know the one where they developed the world’s most powerful superconducting magnet!

I went to the MagLab to talk to 16 SciGirls. They were visiting the Lab to learn about a wide range of science disciplines. I was invited together with a cockatoo and four other dogs to show the girls what therapy animals can do for people. Below you can see a summary of my talk.

DgBenjib.pngThe equations I came up with for the occasion were well received. Before I knew it, my wisdom was spreading like wildfire among the scientists and being shared with the larger public. There is even talk that there might be a Nobel Treat prize in my future. Now I can’t stop thinking about how many yummies in the tummies that would equate to. Maybe I can ask for an advance payment.

Dg. Benji 

 

MP-18 and MP-19

You probably wondered if we’re still alive. I’m happy to report that is still the case. We are just a bit behind in the blogging world. My human got busy with other stuff so blogging was put on the back burner. I know, what could be more important than doggy adventures?!

Rest assured, I haven’t sat still. On April 19, I went to a CCI outing with my assistants-in-training buddies. We encountered lots of wildlife in the big city, seriously that is no joke. Manatees were hanging from trees and dolphins could be seen splashing in front of buildings. So WEIRD! The next day I had some Dogtoring to do at the Homeless and At-Risk Veterans Stand Down event. This is an annual event to help homeless and at-risk veterans. Several people asked if I was up for adoption. WOL, of course not! On Saturday I went to the library to help children read. That was my fifth time. I even had two repeat customers.

Happy wanderings, don’t forget to smile,

Benji

MP-17 and Such

Hi, hope you’re enjoying your Saturday! We went to the library for a R.E.A.D. session. I got lots of reading, petting, and reversed Reiki in. Afterward, we had to get some fertilizer for our fruit trees. This is supposed to help grow fruit in abundance. Not sure why we bother as it always takes fur-ever for the fruit to appear. Once the fruits finally do show up I’m supposed to leave them alone; I can’t even nose the fruit for a daily progress check. On top of that, last year Bear ended up with most of the persimmons. We ended up with less than 10 of the 100+ that were on the tree before the bear was let loose. That’s less than a 10% return rate. While I did get some of the 9 tiny! apples that showed up, 0 persimmons ended up in my tummy. So not a good investment if you ask me.

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Again, why are we feeding the trees instead of me?

I heard that if you want apples, you have to shake the trees. Maybe I should follow that advice this year because I definitely want me some apples. Yum!

Benji

 

MP-16

This morning I volunteered for the third time to read with children at the library as a R.E.A.D. companion.*  I like going to the library; everybody is always so nice to me! The children pet me while they read aloud to me and I even get yummies for my tummy. I  favor books with pictures. Especially when they show animals; that’s when I pay close attention. I think I’m ready now to take a nap after all that volunteering. I didn’t know that reading can make you feel tired.

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At the library with my R.E.A.D. gear

* “R.E.A.D. companions are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries, and many other settings as reading companions for children.” (Intermountain Therapy Animals)

Benji

MP-15 and CCI

Yesterday was another busy bee day in the Life of Benji. In the morning I helped children read at the library. The children were ranging in age from 2.5 years to about 11 years. Some of them were a bit intimidated by my size. I tickled their hands with my whiskers to break the ice. When they felt how soft I am, they were hooked and couldn’t get enough of me.

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In the afternoon, I went sailing with CCI buddies Adonis and Flint. It was their first time out on the water so I showed them the ropes. They seem to catch on fast. Don’t be surprised when we are soon sailing all by ourselves.  That should be easy as we don’t have to ask the humans for any keys. Flint is a new recruit. You couldn’t tell that he is only four months old; he behaved so well.

Lights were turned off around 6:00 PM, that’s when we all got sleepy. After a good meal, I went to bed satisfied and content knowing that my missions went well.

Benji

MP-14

Yes, I did it; I turned another Mission Impossible into a Mission Possible! Last Saturday, I read with the kids at the library and decided that it was a lotta fun. They stroked my ears, those are definitely my sweet spots, my back, and even my belly while they read to me. I had two incognito sessions at the library before I officially opened my office. Next time I will ask my photographer/ driver/ butler/ whatever-I-need-person to take a photo of my office. It has cute monkeys on the wall, even though we are not supposed to monkey around.

Here is a photo of my new outfit for the R.E.A.D. program.  I use it together with my favorite blanket that states: “In a perfect world every dog has a home”. Ain’t that the truth.

Benji

R.E.A.D.

IMG_5030b.jpgLately, I have been reading a lot. Why, you ask? Well, I am enrolled in the R.E.A.D. program. The program helps young readers improve their literacy skills.  Today we had a practice run at a library to show me the ropes and my office. Although now I come to think of it I didn’t see any ropes, just rows, and rows of books. And people sitting at long tables. They were reading quietly until I showed up, then all heads turned my way and people started to talk about my brindle stripes and such. I guess I was a bit of a distraction. Maybe that’s why I will have my own office. Gotta go, I haven’t finished my book yet and I want to know how it ends.

Benji 

MOM!

Man O Man (MOM), look what I and my CCI buddies found during a training session the other day. Maybe all skeletons should be left in the closet instead of barking about them but who can resist such a thing?

Wishing you a wagging weekend without any skeletons,

Benji

MP-13

Today we turned another Mission Impossible into a Mission Possible. It was the 13th visit so what could go wrong, eh? We went back to the adult care center. This time I was the only Dogtor so I was a busy bee and I don’t even have wings. Everyone was pleased to see us again. We chatted our heads off with the folks for about half an hour when I heard rumbling noises. It was faint at first, well not to me but those with shorter ears seem to be less sensitive to sound; it definitely got louder over time. I looked at M and we both figured that it was time to go home before it would catch up with us. It was good that we did. As soon as I jumped in the car it started raining cats and dogs. Lucky for us, we did not get a visit from that fellow Harvey that caused havoc way west of us. He is a bad, bad, guy from what I’ve heard. Lots of people and animals got themselves into a pickle. Some even died because of Harvey;  so sad. Our thoughts are with everybody in that area. If you would like to help with the animal disaster relief efforts visit https://www.houstonpetset.org/hurricane-harvey-relief-fund/

As we drove away from the adult care center, the sky got brighter the closer we got to headquarters. Maybe the noisy pickles got scared by Ms. Zulu’s Border Collie stare. I don’t blame them, she can be pretty intimidating at times. Maybe barking helps too. I wouldn’t mind taking the lead on that sometime. OK, gotta run. I have a playdate with my CCI friend. After the playdate we will go shopping and meet more CCI friends in the city!

Let the sunshine in,

WOOFFF!

Benji

MP-12

I know, I know, we are way behind on updating you but I had a couple of busy weeks so thought I would chill on my sofa with live television before I got back on track. I’m happy to report that on Wednesday another Mission Impossible became possible. I went to a youth center where I met teenagers who are enrolled in a non-residential counseling program. It was a new place for me so I met lots of new people. I worked the crowd together with one of my colleagues, a Great Pyrenees. He is a great guy literally and figuratively speaking. We learned that he has been in the business for more than 4 years. That’s twice as long as I have been on this planet! The guy was very calm. I guess that’s what happens when you have done this a million times.

The kids at the youth center are a hoot. They wanted to know everything under the sun about me. Their greeting ritual is a bit different from mine as they wanted me to shake their hands over and over again. I got rewarded with treats so it was no problemo. I even put in a couple of spins for good measure. Afterwards, we stopped at a cafe to cool down. It’s hot here, 102 degrees Fahrenheit, so we ordered drinks on the rocks.

Stay cool and have a pawbulous weekend,

Benji

MP-11

IMG_2204c.jpgHi guys! Another update from the field. Yesterday I went on a new mission. This time I was asked to go to an adult day care center. Understandably, I was a bit nervous at first. I shouldn’t have worried because the people were super nice. They all sat in a circle and my buddy Dg. K and I worked the room from opposite ends. That way we made sure that everybody got the attention they needed. A sweet lady said that I reminded her of one of her doggies from long ago. She gave me two big kisses for it. Isn’t that nice?!

The visit was different from my other therapy visits. I thought I had seen and heard it all, but no sirree. In this place, there were lots of noises and commotions too. Wheelchairs and walkers that seem to have a mind of their own kept rolling towards me. Chairs scraped on the laminate floors, canes fell, and sensitive feet that I had to avoid popped up out of nowhere like mushrooms after a rainy day. At one point even a high pitched siren went off. My instinct told me to bark but I knew I shouldn’t so I gave the source “the eye” like a real Border Collie. It worked like a charm because the noise stopped. I sincerely thank my big Sis for showing me how to do this. She often practices it on me and I have to say, she knows her stuff. Her stare will stop you dead in your tracks and make you think twice about your next move.

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My Sis and I

As a reward for all my hard work,  I got to play with my buddies at the doggie center. Once home I got dinner, played some with my stuffed buddies, and then went to bed. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Have a great weekend, 

Benji

MP-10

Wow, today was our 10th Mission Impossible that became Possible. It’s amazing how all these little steps add up towards a significant milestone. With ten visits under my belt, I can apply for the AKC Therapy Dog Novice title. It seems like yesterday when I got my training wheels, passed the prescreening exam, passed the real exam, and then several months later went on my first mission.

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My first training wheels (10 weeks)

And here are the numbers: During the animal therapy training sessions I have interacted with 72 people. And on my missions, I’ve interacted with 146 people. This brings the total of interactions with NEW people since I was adopted to 602! Yes, you read that right, that is 602 new people. That means meeting more than one new person per day. The total number of interactions with new plus familiar humans is much, much higher. That’s a lot of pawshaking and sitting on my behind, I can tell you that.

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One of my first animal therapy training sessions

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Practicing in the field 

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Training with my CCI buddies

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My first real mission

We celebrated today’s milestone with doggie ice cream and topped it off with some frozen carrots for another Popeye boost. Yummy!

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Let’s celebrate; we’re ready!

Hope you had a wagnificant Father’s day and all, 

Happy Monday,

Benji

MP-9

Another Mission Possible is behind us. This time I got the early Monday morning shift in the ER. It meant that I had to get up super early.  I was also the only Dogtor on duty. At first, we seemed to be off to a rough start as our usual parking spot was taken by a big truck. The truck was not only big but also made a lot of noise. Turned out that it was a mobile shredding truck. I guess secret missions require the shredding of lots of papers. Luckily, my magic harness, Dogtor bandana, in combination with frozen carrots hand delivered to me at the exact right time, gave me Popeye strength. This helped me to make it past the truck and into the building without further ado.

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Today, the waiting room was nearly empty and there were not that many patients in the ER. It made my job a lot easier and I was pretty much single-handedly able to keep everything under control. Those things that are not patient related are not always easy to circumnavigate though. For that reason, I’m always looking out for unusual things. This time there was a garbage cart out of control. All of a sudden it came flying towards me from around the corner at the nurse’s station. Its speed was dizzying and the human it had in tow was practically centrifuged into the air. Thankfully a handful of frozen carrots gave me another Popeye boost and imminent danger was easily averted.

Once we got the junk out of the way and the patients were taken care of, I had time for the nurses. I love the nurses as they always enjoy my reversed Reiki therapy so I tried my best to give them my all. After we completed my ninth undercover super-secret-mission, we had to make two more stops in town before we could drive home. At home, I almost immediately fell asleep and practiced Zuluism for inner balance and Zen.

Yours truly,     

Benji    

MP-8 and Mail

On Tuesday we had another Mission Possible made possible by Dogtors without Borders. Yeah, I know it’s a shame that Ms. Zulu can never join me on these trips, but she probably likes her naps at home better anyway.

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Waiting for the mail person to pick up the mail

There was lots of stuff going in and around the ER this time. Ambulances were driving up, people were wheeled in with all kind of devices, even on brancards. I hadn’t seen the brancards before. They were impressive I have to say. The nurses were quite busy and could use some of my reversed Reiki afterward. The carrots and other yummies kept me on my feet. I was thankful for the sweet teenager who kept feeding them to me.

Once I got home I got to take a nap. Next, I wrote two posts about my adventures for my blog, and a postcard for Kosmo my pal in faraway Finland. Kosmo’s mom always has interesting stories to tell about Finland. Can’t wait until the postcard gets delivered. Wondering how long it will take this time. I looked it up on Google Maps and it tells me that it takes about 16 hours to fly to Finland from here…  That’s a mighty long time!

Have a great week guys and girls, remember to take lots of naps,

Benji

B-day

Wow, another busy week this week. Am sure happy that we got in some extra Zen over the weekend.  It started with M’s B-day. We celebrated this with, I’m sure you would have guessed it, pie! This time, Ms. Zulu and I had blueberry-banana-yoghurt-ice-cube pie.  It’s a mouthful, I know, and deliciously mouthwatering too. I could have eaten the whole thing… How you make ’em? Look here.

Because it was a B-day, we all went on a canoe trip together. Those canoes are a bit tricky especially with two people and two canines. Just try it sometime. You are not supposed to rock the boat, but what if it rocks you? I learned that headquarters only uses canoes that have an un-rocker. Not sure how exactly it works but it seems to be situated at the stern of the boat. So it doesn’t really matter when Ms. Zulu and I both lean to the right (or left) together, automatically a counterweight shifts to the opposite side. Isn’t that cool? It has come in handy on occasion; on this trip too. So far we have always kept our butts dry. And that is a good thing in my book as you know I don’t like to get wet.

There was lots of excitement on this canoe trip. It seemed like we were crossing a manatee highway. Manatees were showing up under, besides, in front, and behind the boat. They are very curious animals. Passive observation is the best according to FWC viewing guidelines. This means that Ms. Zulu and I have to sit quietly too.  M forgot yummies for our tummies so we got them after the trip for our “good boy and girl” behavior.

Tomorrow I will tell you all about my MP-8 trip. Oh, and before I forget, Thursday is Bacon’s interview with me! Next week will be Ms. Zulu’s interview. I will share the interviews as soon as they are published.  Gotta run, I have to write and mail a postcard to my anipal Kosmo in Finland, it’s long overdue.

Benji

Dogtors with Borders

As promised, here is the new addition to my uniform. Ms. Zulu assisted me while I posed for the first time with the new scarf. So this time it was Dogtors with Borders. Yes, Ms. Zulu is at least 50% Border Collie as far as we can tell. If you would like to know more about my Dogtors without Borders work then go to my resume page. We updated it recently.
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As you can see Ms. Zulu and I took our job very seriously and we were very focused throughout the photo session. This may or may not have anything to do with the treats in front of us. You be the judge.

OK, gotta run, I have a farewell party to attend to say goodbye to my best buddy Capone and hello to a new CCI friend in training. Yeah, Capone is leaving us in 1.5 weeks to start professional service dog training in South Florida. We will miss him for sure. I (well maybe one of my dedicated assistants) will try to capture some nice photos so you can see Capone one more time and to introduce the new CCI puppy. I’m sure you will get to see more of the newbie because when Capone is traveling to South Florida we get to babysit the new 9-week old pup for four days. That oughta be fun.

And remember, be dedicated and thou shall be rewarded,

Benji

MP-6

Wow, another mission accomplished.  I visited the emergency center again. This time I went with another Dogtor. Her name is Katrina. She graduated at the same time I did and she is already 15 years old.  That is 3+ years older than my big sis and 10 times older than me! Isn’t that something?! Katrina is very calm. She loves to lie down whenever there is a chance. I rather sit and smile at people.

I’ve noticed that people seem to recognize me more and more. They call my name and want to say hi. They even want to take pictures of me. I got lots of practice at headquarters sitting still for a photo plus treat, so I always say “no problemo” [ed. as long as there are treats].

When we were done with all the Dogtoring, M and I went to an embroidery place. I went inside to say hi and gave them my blue bandana that will be embroidered with our logo. I will try to remember to show you the result as soon as it’s done.

Next on our agenda was the Pet Supermarket.  Yeah, we needed more treats and another bag of food. M says that’s because one being in our household eats at least for two three. I can tell you that ain’t me because my tummy always feels like it could hold lots more yummies.

More pictures were taken at the Pet Supermarket too. This was nicely balanced out with treats. Thanks to the friendly lady assistant at the store who did notice that I could use some more. At the cash register, one of the shoppers asked if I was up for adoption. M didn’t know how fast to say no, pay, and practically drag me outside. I guess that’s an affirmative NO.

To sum things up, it was a productive day and I can rest assured that my forever home will be forever, ever after.  How’s that for a good ending?!

Night, night and sleep tight,

Benji