Monday, October 01, 2007

Luna & Harvey: Congrats to Rupert

We know our Moms think we're the greatest dogs on the planet, but their friend Catherine, who works on the tv show, The Dog Whisperer (which rejected Harvey.....long story), has a dog named Rupert who is a children's therapist. We hope you'll enjoy reading Rupert's amazing story.
Rupert, who celebrated his 8th birthday at the end of September, works with his caretaker providing happy distractions for hospitalized and disabled men, women, and children as a part of Love On 4 Paws, an animal assisted therapy organization. The canine volunteers help to combat loneliness, promote self-confidence, and improve the quality of life for the sick, developmentally delayed, or otherwise handicapped.

Adopted from a Southern California animal rescue at 9 weeks old, Rupert first donned the green vest of the LO4P volunteers 4 years ago, after a co-worker suggested that with his mild temperament, he would make a top-notch therapy dog. The man was not wrong. Though he never saw graduation from obedience school, Rupert’s mellow disposition allowed him to breeze through the rigorous screening process that all therapy dogs must pass through in order to qualify for the job. He has been known to sleep through the rush and the din of a Code Blue in the Intensive Care Unit. He is a registered volunteer at 3 different city hospitals, and has worked with hundreds of ill or infirmed children. He is, in the words of his caretaker, “all business” when he’s on duty – loving and gentle, with the patience of a saint. For the older patients, he is a quiet companion and confidant, and with the younger patients, he is a living plaything; a dress-up dolly, a rocking horse, and a living, breathing teddy bear. At physical therapy, he catches the stuffed animals that the children throw to improve their hand eye coordination. And he weathers the constant love and attention like a pro.

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