October/November 2017

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!! I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

I have tried my best to schedule lightly over the holiday season, but we still have quite a busy calendar. October went very quickly and I have been a bit busy with family business, so I am combining October and November Newsletters.

October: 

       We had our usual visits scheduled, with the exception of Camp Good Grief! We had a great day with the children, staff and other volunteers. This was our second year to participate in this special event and we look forward to participating next year! Thank you to our volunteer teams that day, Beverly Nichols with Mandy, Sandy Knight with Bella, Leigh Windham with Robert and myself with Mini and Spike. Penny McCullough sent out certificates, with thank you notes, to all who participated in this wonderful event! I believe that this event will be scheduled for October in 2018, due to the weather being much better than in September. 

      We are back on track with our visits to Lee County Transitional Learning Center/humane Education and things are going well. I sometimes run into some of the children from our past classes and get nothing but positive feedback from them. This makes my heart happy and we are thrilled to continue this program. Please share if any of you have any topics that you think would be important to share with these children.

       After speaking with Phoebe Sumter Administrators and Phoebe Volunteer Services, it was decided that beginning in November we will begin visiting Phoebe Sumter on Mondays rather than Wednesdays. Our visits were often preceded by other visiting team/teams and we feel that the hospital, patients and staff will benefit more from our visits and our mission if they are more spread out. Please check the calendar for these changes and we hope you will consider joining us on our visits to Phoebe Sumter, we always feel so appreciated by the staff, patients & community.

      The Youth Detention Center visits were canceled and will not be rescheduled at this time due to internal concerns. 

November: 

      I have posted the calendar for November and we sure could use some participation from as many teams as possible. This is a very busy time for all of us during the holidays. It also can be a very rewarding time to visit with folks, not only those that may be lonely, but also this joyful time with all of our special needs folks, after all, being gracious and giving is the reason for the season!!     

      We are quite excited that Paws Patrol will participate in the Albany Christmas Parade, “The Splendor of Christmas”.  This will be our second year and we are working hard on improving our presence in the parade. We are planning on having a small float that will be pulled by a person. The parade is taking place on Saturday, December 2, from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM. We have to have all teams in place by 5:00 PM. I will go early and check us all in and then we can meet at our place in the line up. We will have a small lit sled and a reindeer. There will be enough room in the sled to put a couple of smaller dogs, if we can get them to cooperate. I also have another wagon that we can take and let the larger dogs take a break if they need to. The parade is approximately ten blocks, or one mile long. It moves pretty slow until the end and then it picks up to a fair pace. We will need teams to participate in this event, but out of respect for Pet Partners we will not put the dogs in costumes, but we can decorate their vests and put Christmas collars on them. The handlers should all dress as elves and I have some elf hats, attire and shoe covers to help with this. We will need some volunteers to help hand out goodies bags and carry our banner and it would be great if they also would dress as elves. Please let me know if you know of anyone that would be interested in helping with this fun event. Last year Betty and Bill Livingston had some of their friends help us and they were great! We are also having a pizza party after wards for all participants. Meg and Max Farris have been so gracious to offer there home for the pizza party, they have a big fenced in yard and our furry friends are welcome! I have added the parade to the calendar, so please sign up or let me know if you want to participate and I will be happy to sign you up for this special event. I have a map that I will email prior to the parade to everyone who signs up. 

       We have been invited to participate in a special program on Friday, December 8, at the Lee County Library. They were given a grant to help impoverished families over a few weeks, with special initiatives and they would like to feature Paws Patrol on the above date, to have the children read to our dogs. I will be adding this to our calendar and once again am asking any teams available to please sign up to participate in this very special evening.

       Beverly Nichols with Mandy and I with Mini represented Paws Patrol-Pet Partners to the Albany Kiwanis Club last week. We shared our history and mission with the group and were very honored to be invited to speak. 

       We have scheduled evaluations for Sunday, December 10 th, from 12:30 until 4:30 PM. Please check your expiration dates and sign up if you need to be renewed.

Our Spotlight Volunteer Team for this newsletter is Becky Mills and Mosby: 

            

         To paraphrase a Bible verse, specifically from the chapter of Luke, ‘To whom much is given, much shall be required.’ God blessed me with a sweet, loving dog who seems to intuitively know who needs his attention. Pet therapy seemed to be the perfect way to give back.

         We joined Paws Patrol over two years ago so we could make the giving back part official, but Mosby’s therapy work actually started when he was 11 weeks old. After I picked him up at the Atlanta airport, I walked into my Daddy’s house with him and Daddy who was recuperating from open heart surgery, broke into a huge smile. Mosby continued to make Daddy smile, and charm his sitter, then his fellow residents at two different assisted living facilities, until Daddy died in August 2016.

        Next, we turned our attention to reading therapy at the Calhoun Library in Edison. Young people who were too self-conscious to read to other students opened up to Mosby and read book after book.

       Right now, my seven year old partner and I are on what I hope is a brief sabbatical from therapy visits. My work as a free lance ag journalist takes me, and my four legged editorial assistant, out of town frequently and makes scheduling visits difficult. In addition, Mosby and I also compete in retriever field trials and that ties up quite a few weekends.

      Hopefully we’ll be back at the library soon, even though we’re on the receiving end of the blessings from those visits. 

Please keep Barbara, Richard and Charlye Harden in our thoughts and prayers and also Virginia Gray and her family during these difficult times. 

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