Archive for the ‘Caring Creatures Teams’ Category

AHF Therapy Dog with Cancer Received Petco Grant

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

“Rock star” Therapy Dog Gets Sidelined with Cancer
Jane Horsfield and Dan Balza of Fountain Valley, California, adopted their dog Kiss at six-months-old when her previous owner no longer had time to train her for flyball. Through the years, Kiss’ super energetic nature has made her a perfect participant in flyball, agility, and nose work competitions as well as in recreational dock diving and K9 Disc.

Named after the rock band Kiss because of her black and white face, her outgoing nature also made her an ideal candidate for pet therapy work. As part of the Animal Health Foundation, an affiliate of Pet Partners, Horsfield and Kiss started visiting adults and children at local hospitals as well as elementary schools where children practiced their reading skills with Kiss sitting by their sides.

“There is not a person she doesn’t love to meet,” says Horsfield. “She loves everyone, and everyone loves her.”

As a “rock star” therapy dog, Kiss also gets invited to special events around town to raise awareness and money for skin cancer awareness through the local Rotary Club. It was during an event that Jane noticed some swelling above Kiss’s front left paw.

“At first, I thought it was related to her athletic activities,” says Horsfield. “So, I put some ice on her leg when we got home, and it looked a little better the next day.”

The family had been down this road before

But a week later, Kiss’ lower front left leg still looked swollen. Her veterinarian, Dr. Wayne Kopit of Brook-Ellis Pet Hospital, biopsied the lump and called Horsfield the day after Thanksgiving with the results. Kiss had a soft tissue sarcoma on her leg.

He decided to refer Kiss to Southern California Veterinary Specialty in Irvine, California for the cancer treatment.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to be cancer,” says Jane. “The news struck terror into my heart.”

That’s because the previous Thanksgiving, the couple also had received cancer news about their dog Sheila. She died seven months later despite extensive surgeries and treatments to save her life. Unfortunately, the heartbreak doesn’t end there. The couple has lost four dogs to cancer through the years.

“My veterinarian says 50% of dogs die of cancer these days, and that none of the cancers my dogs have had have been related,” says Horsfield. “But that doesn’t make the news any easier when it’s your fifth dog with the diagnosis.”

New treatment delivers the right stuff

When Horsfield contacted the Animal Health Foundation to let them know about Kiss’ diagnosis, they told her that Pet Partners had grant monies from the Petco Foundation’s Pet Cancer Awareness campaign to help therapy dogs with their cancer treatments.

A $3,000 grant provided help with Kiss’ surgery and chemotherapy. “We had already spent thousands on Sheila’s treatments, so we really needed this support to help Kiss,” says Horsfield.

In the past, doctors might have amputated Kiss’ leg because of the difficulty in removing the entire tumor. But a new therapy combined surgical removal of the tumor with chemotherapy beads implanted directly into the tumor site. “The beads dissolve over four to five weeks releasing chemotherapy drugs to where it’s needed most,” says Horsfield.

So far, the results are good. The tumor hasn’t grown back, but Horsfield checks the leg daily, since if it returns, it will come back in the same spot, doctors say. She and Kiss are making therapy visits again, and Kiss is participating in some of her favorite sport activities on a limited basis.

“She won’t officially be out of the woods for 18 more months,” says Horsfield. “But in the meantime, we’ve got our sassy girl back. I am grateful for the help in saving her life. I never had kids, so my dogs are everything to me.”

 

Kacey is Retiring!

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Thank you Kacey and John for being a great Pet Therapy Team and bringing smiles to so many people since 2009.

Kacey was born in January, 2008 and was adoped by the Smead family from the San Clemente shelter.  Kasey loves to fetch toys and chasing sea gulls at the beach. Kacey has 2 yorkie brothers and a papillon sister (who is in charge!).

John and Kacey started their therapy team journey in 2009.  They have been visited assisted living homes, CHOC and most, recently, the Juvenile Drug Court group sessions with adolescent boys.  John was so committed to the latter that he went back to school for his PhD to be able to participate!

Meet New Pet Partner Team Diane and Benny

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

benny-head

Hi! My name is Benny and I am a Golden Retriever. Everyone says I am a happy and fun loving boy! I enjoy playing with my toys, going on adventures, meeting new friends and swimming. I am really smart and can do some tricks. My birthday is January 6th. I will come running if you call my name because I can’t wait to meet you!!

 

Meet New AHF Pet Partner Macy!

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Macy ComerBreed: Golden Retriever

Adoption date: December 18, 2010

Partner: Daleen

Macy was rescued from Taiwan as an adult dog in October, 2010. After hip surgery, she was adopted by her new family in December.  She became a therapy dog in October, 2011. Macy loves visiting people of all ages.  She is a “reading dog” and helps children practice their reading skills every week at school, by listening quietly as they read aloud to her.  She lives with another Golden Retriever and a Persian cat. Her favorite foods are apples, string cheese, and sweet potatoes.  When she is not visiting her friends at schools and senior centers, she enjoys long walks or naps on the couch.

Welcome Nala to the AHF Pet Partners Program!

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

NalaBreed: Boxer Mix (rescue)
Birthday: Unknown
Handler: Val

Nala became a registered therapy dog in August 2016. She is an older dog who is young at heart who still loves to chase rabbits, run up and down the hallway squeaking a new toy and play ball in the backyard. Although lively and active at home, she has a sweet, loving, calm demeanor around children, adults and seniors. She leans her body into people looking adoringly at them with her huge beautiful eyes. A cancer survivor, Nala brings her story and her sweetness wherever she goes

Welcome New Pet Partner STAR

Friday, July 29th, 2016

STAR BoersmaSTAR
Breed: Australian Shepard
Birthday: Fourth of July 2009
That’s why she is named Star!

Handler:  Bari Boersma

Star is a rescue dog and came to me when she was 4 years old. She does reading programs and various types of visits and also runs agility  because it is fun! Most of all Star loves people and wants everyone to feel special and make thier day! One of Star’s unique features is her blue and brown colored eyes! Star loves belly rubs and her favorite thing to do is be patted by you!

Thank You Mocha and Paisley

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

There comes a time when every handler knows that it’s time to retire their Pet Partner.  It is a very difficult decision to make but, for whatever reason a good handler knows their dog and understands when it’s time

We want to thank Mocha and Paisley for giving love to others over the years and wish them both lazy happy days ahead.

And, special thanks to Mocha’s partners Rita and Don Tayenaka and Pailsey’s mom Laurel Schuman for sharing their wonderful furry family members with so many!

Both teams, however, have another dog they are training to continue in their older siblings’ work.

Soon we hope we will be welcoming Higbee Tayenaka and Cooper Schuman into our AHF Pet Partners family, knowing they both will continue to bring tons of smiles where their siblings left off!
Mocha

Paisley2                            MOCHA                                                                                                  PAILSEY

 

Meet newest Pet Partner Team Member – Zoe Lanni

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Zoe LanniBirthday: October 11, 2010
Weight: 3.7 lbs
Nickname: World’s Tiniest Goat!
She likes all types of food, including
Brussels sprouts! Zoe loves to be
snuggled and curl up in my lap. She
travels with us everywhere by bicycle,
car, train and airplane! When we
are packing, she sits in my suitcase,
ensuring that she is going too! Her
favorite places to be rubbed are behind
her neck and her belly.

Jane and Kiss named Volunteer of the year

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Kiss at OCMC page 1Jane Horsfield and her wonderful border collie, Kiss, were named Volunteer of the Year at Orange Coast Medical Center!  Congratulations Jane and Kiss!

AHF and Adams Elementary School Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday in a Novel Way

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Seuss EventOn March 2, 2016, Dr. Seuss’ birthday, the tables were turned on seven Adams Elementary READ teams when the handlers helped the school celebrate the birthday by reading stories to the students, with their dogs in attendance.  John Adams Elementary in Santa Ana, CA, has had AHF teams in their classrooms for eight years as reading dogs, with additional teams participating in the Adams monthly Saturday library program.  On March 2, a combination of weekday and Saturday handlers brought their dogs to school and read books to the students. The participating teams were Gretchen Scott with Luna, Tammy Heider with Gracie, Suzanne Davidson with Juneau, Daleen Comer with Macy, Jim and Dorothy Taylor with Stryker, Geneva Comer with Bonnie, and Jane Horsfield with Kiss.

During the entire school day, 8:30 – 1:30, dog teams were on campus going to different classrooms for 20-minute sessions, during which the handlers read stories to the students, and allowed time for all the students to pet the dogs. Throughout the day, 24 classes of students were visited by the dogs and their partners. The dogs were in the spirit of the event, wearing Seuss fabric bandannas made by one of the members of the group. The books read by the handlers varied: some chose childhood favorites, some selected books their own children had loved, some picked dog-themed books, and some read the new Dr. Seuss book, “Which Pet Should I Get?” The students appreciated seeing the handlers in a more active role, and the dogs enjoyed the novelty of visiting multiple classrooms during their visit. One teacher commented, “Besides having the dogs in their rooms, the students were so excited to see the different dogs walking around the campus.  If you all felt as good about it as we did, this definitely needs to be an annual event.” The READ teams agree!