Ken, Gaylene and Katie
Katie, (Twin Cedar St. Pauli Girl) came into our lives as a 3 month old bundle of fur and energy... Marge informed us at the time of purchase that Katie was bred to be a high drive dog and would need a job.
It was hard to imagine that this energetic fur ball could do much other than play and chase a Frisbee At 6 months she and I managed to flunk the Canine Good Citizens (CGC) test mainly due to her exuberance during the meet and greet with another dog.
During these months of training she made it perfectly clear that obedience was not her bag. However, our second attempt at the CGC test was successful. When Katie was 6 months old, a friend of mine was placed in a convalescent home after a severe stroke. She loved dogs and had two German Shepherds. I decided to take Katie in for a visit unsure of how the “wild child,” as we call her at home, would react.
Much to my amazement she became a different dog during the visit. She was still very animated and curious but also calm and gentle with a great sense of her surroundings. Nothing bothered her, IV stands, wheelchairs, strange sounds etc. Despite the fact that we had just flunked the CGC test she was very obedient.
We had found Katie a job – a Therapy Dog. Shortly after her first birthday Katie passed her test through Therapy Dogs International (TDI) and became a certified therapy dog.
Joanna Tedder along with Paija, Katie’s mother, and Ranger, her half brother, had been doing therapy work with mentally and physically challenged kids in the Calaveras schools and graciously invited Katie and me to join her during the visits.
It became perfectly clear that Katie had a very special affection for kids – lots of kids.
In recent months Katie has become a certified Hospice therapy dog visiting terminally ill patients. Despite her high energy level she is amazingly quiet and gentle with these fragile patients.
We have been accepted into the Hospice Grief Busters program dealing with kids in crisis situations and look forward to this new adventure. Currently, Katie is the only Hospice approved therapy dog in the county.
Recently the Twin Cedar Therapy Dog Team was formed. An average of 7 – 8 dogs visit 4 residential facilities and a convalescent home. The reaction from both staff and patients has been amazing. The visits are heartwarming as the patients are so responsive.
As for team members, we all have a great time together and come home with tired dogs!
Back at the ranch, Katie is a high powered pup who loves her toys. She is a Frisbee nut, loves her coonhound, Monty, whom she plays with relentlessly and enjoys a long run in the vineyard with her friend Puka the pit bull.