accomplishment ACE Adopt the Internet Day advocate AKC ALIVE Andrea Arden APDT attention aversives Be the Change for Animals beagle beds Bianca bibliophile birthday blessings blog hop BlogPaws board and train Boston Terrier bullied by the blog C-WAGS C.L.A.S.S. call to action CCPDT CDSP certification Certified Pet Dog Trainer change chapter 1 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Christmas Cincinnati click and treat clicker expo clicker training coming when called commitment common sense communication competion coupon cpdt CPDT-KA craft crisis response Dads Daisy decisions dog shows dog training dominance Easter economy emotions empathy equine Face of Crisis facebook family focus food Fortunate Fido Frames of Mind fraud Gardner giving goals group class harness holy week house guest humanity Husker Ian Dunbar individuals instinct integral internet Jade Jean Donaldson joy K9 Chaplains K9 Comfort Dogs Karen Pryor Ken McCort Lake Township Lana Mitchell learning learning theory leash aggression life experience lifestyle training living positively mama beagle Meagan Melissa Alexander minature horse Morgan Specter Mr. Chewy mule Nevada Humane Society Never Shock a Puppy normal Northern Illinois University Open House openminded opportunity pack theory Parents of Murdered Children party Patricia McConnell peace personality pet blogger challenge Pet Blogger Hop Pets without Parents Philadelphia polite greetings POMC positive reinforcement positive reinforcement clicker training precious priorities product review puppies puppy class Rainbow Bridge Rally Obedience relationships relaxing research review rewards routine safe versus dangerous service dogs SPA sports stress success Sue Ailsby Sweet Spots Doggy Ice Cream TDInc. teacher technology The Clicked Retriever therapy dogs thinking time tools tornado toys training plan training tip travel tricks twitter unconditional love video work in progress

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

K9 Chaplains, part 2

We spent last weekend in Cincinnati with our dogs and the national crisis response group, Extra Mile Ministries K9 Chaplains/Comfort Dogs, at the annual national conference of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC). I love the K9 Chaplain group and the work that we do! When I am with them, I feel at home, in tune with God's will, and able to do almost anything.

We spent most of our time in a common area of the conference just being available for the conference participants and staff. We listened, we talked, and we listened some more. We shared our dogs, their unique personalities, and their miraculous ability to help the healing process. We tried to understand things we will never understand, we tried to show the light of Christ in things that are so dark and evil that mere man cannot begin to comprehend. The people at the conference are family -- family brought together by tragedy, but family nonetheless. They opened their hearts and their arms to each other, to us, and to our dogs.

We met many, many people outside of the conference too. Staff and other guests at both the conference hotel and the hotel we stayed in, the people attending the WWII Air Force Reunion at the hotel where we stayed, people on the streets of Cincinnati, the young man we talked with at dinner one evening, the wait staff and the clerks in the stores and restaurants we "invaded" with 7 dogs and 8 people! We realized almost right away during the trip that we would go nowhere fast -- we were stopped all the time by people wanting to know what we were doing, why we were there, and if they could pet our dogs. We, of course, always obliged and we all benefitted from the interactions.

While I somewhat dread the next crisis or tragedy that will bring the group together again, I also look forward to seeing these wonderful people and dogs again. I also am very much looking forward to attending next year's POMC conference in Philadelphia. If you want to know more about either of these wonderful groups, please contact me and I will be happy to share with you. Blessings!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

K9 Chaplains

In February 2008, a lone gunman fired shots in a crowded auditorium at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb, Illinois and changed countless lives forever. I was 400 miles away at my house in Ohio when it happened, but it was an event that changed my life forever.

I am an NIU alumni. I watched the news coverage both on television and the internet about the shootings, the aftermath, and the recovery efforts and process. While watching, I found out about a faith-based group of people and their dogs who were on campus helping the students, staff, and community cope with the situation. Without hesitation, I knew I wanted to be a part of this group!

Soon after, I contacted Chaplain Ralph to find out how I could get involved. We had several wonderful conversations and the wheels were set in motion for me to be a part of this wonderful team of people and dogs. I knew then, as I know now, I had found the ministry of my heart.

We have done many things for Extra Mile Ministries K9 Chaplain/Comfort Dogs Crisis Response Team since that first contact. I have worked on various publications, including their newsletter and maintaining the Facebook group (K9 Comfort), and we were blessed to be able to return to NIU with the team in February 2009 for the anniversary of the shootings.

This week we are preparing for a response in our own "backyard" at the National Parents of Murdered Children Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is exciting to be working together again and a little stressful as I wonder what it will be like. This is something I have never done and I don't know what to expect. What I do know is this is my calling and that Daisy and I are up to the task. God will figure out the rest! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers this weekend!

(for more information about this group go to

Monday, August 10, 2009

Personality and Dog Training

I have been reading some information lately about aggressive people having aggressive dogs. I find it very interesting and plan to keep reading about it to learn more. I haven't quite figured out how to work it into conversations with dog owners who complain their dogs are aggressive -- but I am hoping with more knowledge comes that revelation as to how best to do that.

Personally I have been dealing with a lot lately. It has gotten me to thinking about the aggression connections and whether other human characteristics "spill over" into our dogs. Do thoughtless, uncaring people have thoughtless, uncaring dogs? Do people who do things without considering the consequences have dogs who do the same types of things? Do compassionate people have compassionate dogs? Do people who serve have dogs who serve? Etc...etc. I don't know -- it's definitely a rhetorical question. But I think it might be a question worth exploring a little more.

I have to wonder if teaching people how to train their dogs really requires an ability to "pull out" of people who they really are so that they can better train their dogs? If it does, I hope that is what I am doing for these families and their beloved canine companions.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Puppy in the House!

We have had a houseguest for the last 4 days -- a 12-week-old Boston Terrier puppy named Georgie. She has been a delight and a challenge to have in the house and we have loved every minute of it!

How quickly we forget all the work that goes into having a puppy in the house -- the things they get into, the house and crate training, everything going into their mouths, the warm, tired body taking a nap on your lap, puppy breath, puppy squeaks, and the unbridled joy with which they live life. We have truly been blessed with the opportunity to have a puppy in the house and will treasure the memories of this time we had together. While Georgie may come back to stay with us again, she will never be this age again and it has been wonderful for us to marvel in it.

Thank you Skaff family for sharing your puppy with us!