Tagged: “therapy dog”

STRAY DOG BECOMES “KISSER THERAPIST”

STRAY DOG BECOMES “KISSER THERAPIST”

Carmen: Stray Dog Becomes “Kisser Therapist”

By Debra Malinics, adopter of ADLA alum Carmen, the “kisser therapist

I have owned neurotic dogs, psychotic dogs, crazy dogs, but never one as wonderful, sweet, smart, and loving as Carmen, a sato adopted from Amigos de los Animales through Wag on Inn in Oakhurst, NJ.

Carmen the kisser therapist

When my husband and I walked into the pet store to meet her, this little ball of fur ran right into our laps, licked us and next thing I knew, she was coming home with us. We had found our dog! and she was perfect from the start.  We named her Carmen in honor of her Spanish heritage.

At that time, I was on the board of a non profit planning a fashion show fund raiser. I suggested we add a dog or two to the venue, and three weeks later, Carmen stole the show wearing a Burberry coat accessorized with a brown and green braided leash, and behaving absolutely flawlessly.

Carmen on the catwalk with her Burberry coat

Carmen on the catwalk with her Burberry coat

On the way across the stage, I dropped her leash, put her is a sit stay command, and kept moving onto the runway. Carmen sat perfectly still, looking out over the audience, her eyes wide with wonder. She was perfectly poised and calm. While I whirled and twirled, Carmen remain seated, looking chic in her outfit. I picked up Carmen’s leash on leaving the stage and we walked off together to the audience’s delight and applause. Many attendees came to ask me how she was so well behaved and what was my secret…I said simply, Los Amigos de los Animales.

Friends kept telling Carmen should be a therapy dog because she emits such love but I didn’t have the time to take her to classes. “She doesn’t need classes,” friends insisted… she’s perfect already! She’ll pass without trying, repeated a friend and bet me $20 that she would. I couldn’t resist.

Carmen giving Debra's late husband Bernard some kissing therapy

Carmen giving some kissing therapy

I took Carmen to the next available Therapy dog certification class without any usual classes or preliminary training.  Do you have your good citizen papers the woman asked when I registered her.  Clueless, I said, “No, no, I’m a citizen.”. Looking at me oddly, she said, “I mean for your dog.” “Oh, she’s a citizen too,” I replied, “she was born in Puerto Rico.”  The woman just shook her head and asked me to fill out a form to begin. Carmen was perfect. I lost the bet, but Carmen won the class. Out of 14 well trained dogs, three passed the test and Carmen was one of them. I was so proud!

As a therapy dog, Carmen brings joy and love to children, students and adults. Everywhere I go, people fall in love with her and on her therapy visits, they call her the “Serial Kisser” because she spends her time kissing everyone in the room. Some colleges arrange their schedules around Carmen’s schedule. She has magic and when I look into her eyes, it seems they see into the universe.

When people say how lucky Carmen is to have us, I say, “WE are the lucky ones.” There are so many wonderful ways to share your life and your love and sharing it with an animal is one of the best. Animals make the world a better place for all.

When my husband was ill, Carmen was at his side 24/7, and after his death, she gave her love and support to me when I grieved. Carmen is an ambassador for all good things and I wish the world had more Carmens to set an example for us, the people who need it. Thank you Amigos de los Animales for bringing her into our lives. Now if I can figure out how to clone Carmen…If they did it with Dolly, surely they can do it with Carmen, my kisser therapist.

Carmen posing as a jungle princess