The first creation of blogging with my furry friends. We want you to know how much GOD loves you and how very special you are to HIM! We look foward to many days of blogging with you.
Andrea and "The Perdue Zoo"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Smiling Eyes

A few weeks ago Nanuq and I entered our favorite Psychiatric Hospital. We were asked to visit a different group of individuals. This group of people are lower functioning and in the midst of their disease processes.

As we traveled down the hallway to our destination we passed a lady speaking ugly words. Mom told me to "heel" and we continued to walk. We then entered the room that would be our destination of service for the next hour. After entering, Mom and Dad realized they needed to simply stand back with us and wait.

As the minutes passed the people became calmer and calmer. Soon Nanuq and I were being petted by each of the humans who once seemed upset and stressed. Each of the patients were gentle with us; they petted with such ease.

Midway through our visit one of the staff members asked Mom if she would take me to a special room. Mom and I left and crossed the hallway stepping inside the doorway of an empty room to find our patient curled in a fetal position in the far corner. This special room is used to keep patients safe when they become uncontrollable. The staff member introduced us to the lady and she lifted her head and smiled with her beautiful dark eyes. Neither Mom or I will ever forget her beautiful eyes.

At the close of our visit on this day the staff thanked us over and over again. Monumental progress was made on this day and I am thankful Nanuq and I can make a difference in the lives of humans who are critically ill. Mental illness is a disease and it plagues many people. Thank GOD our parents are not afraid to allow us to be used in this and many other facilities.

Woofs and Wags,

Monday, December 29, 2008

Therapy "Everywhere"

Saturday, December 27th, 2008 my parents and I went to Stoney Point Fashion Mall, Richmond, Virginia. Dad needed to exchange something at Dick's Sporting Goods.

As soon a we entered Dick's Sporting Goods we were surrounded. Mom told Dad to go ahead and she stayed with me as I allowed many folks to pet me. Each person was fascinated with my size and obedience; they had many questions for my mom.

I heard one lady tell Mom I was the therapy she needed. I am thankful my parents follow GOD's lead. I am a "big" guy and alot of work for my mom. I try to be a good boy, but I can still be a handful at times.

GOD gives Mom the strength she needs as she continues to follow HIS will regarding dog therapy.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Woofs and Wags,

Therapy Starts at Home

Recently my brothers (Nanuq and Trouble), sister (Macy), and I realized our mom was going to become ill. We always stay close by, but we felt we needed to be even closer. My brother Nanuq and I do not normally sleep with our parents because we are big and furry and it gets too hot in their bed, however, Trouble and Macy always sleep with them.

On this evening Nanuq insisted on getting into bed with Mom and Dad and then he, Trouble, and Macy laid as close as they could get to Mom all night long. I laid in the floor right beside of her. Mom didn't feel well when she awoke, but continued to prepare for her day as usual. Mom left with Dad to run errands and take care of some necessary business.

While away from home, Mom became very ill. Dad brought her home and helped her to bed. Mom was very weak, seeing spots, and experiencing a severe headache. Dad wanted to take her to the doctor, but Mom is stubborn. She just wanted to lay down. Mom said, "I am too sick to go to the doctor...I can not even sit up....just let me lay down." Dad reluctantly agreed.

The next day, Mom was much better. We knew Mom did not feel well, but quite often our parents do not listen to us. They know we are very sensitive, but sometimes I think they forget how sensitive.

Woofs and wags,


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Say Cheese

Each week my brother Nanuq and I visit Central State Hospital. During our visits many of the patients enjoy having their picture made with us. This is a visible remembrance of our time together. Our photo's become a tangible form of encouragement when we are unable to be with them.

We are thankful GOD opened the door to this facility and look forward to many more visits.
Woofs and Wags,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Trains and More

One Christmas my parents traveled through Blackstone, Virginia and stopped by a local hardware store (Bevell's Hardware). My Dad knew a large portion of the store would be set up with trains enticing people to travel from many different places to see them. One of my Dad's friends is the owner. Dad told Mom he wanted to stop and wish him a Merry Christmas, as well as witness the ever changing and growing Christmas village of trains.

Upon arriving Mom dressed me in my therapy vest and told me to "heel." Shortly after entering the store I met a young handicapped man. His family apologized as if he were in my way and my Mom quickly assured them of my willingness to be petted. The young man was quite handsome and seemed to enjoy our time together.

Mom took a few steps closer to the village of trains, but quickly realized she was "surrounded" by adults and children needing a furry hug and love. Mom and Dad answered questions as I rolled around on the floor with lots of unique and special people.

While I was working in an unlikely place Mr. Bobby, the owner of the Hardware Store and Engineer of the massive train collection watched quietly. He later told Dad how much he enjoyed watching me work. My parents and I are thankful Mr. Bobby was kind enough to allow me to enter his business and reveal GOD's love to the people of Blackstone, Virginia.

Sometimes GOD uses us in unlikely places. My parents and I are willing to stop in the midst of "our" plans and readjust to "GOD's" plans! We love our journey and look forward to the next adventure GOD has for us.

Woofs and Wags,

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Overcoming Fear"

In September 2007, I spent two days in Blackstone, Virginia. I was invited to be a part of The Blackstone Arts and Crafts Festival for petting and to bring awareness to "Dog Therapy." Upon arriving, my parents and I found our place in the children's area between the baby chicks and the alpacas.

Many humans of all ages, sizes, and conditions came by to see me. Some folks told my parents they had seen an article in the local news paper (Courier Record) about me and came just to see me. Each human I met was unique and special. However, one precious little boy will always have a special place in our hearts; his name is Josh.

Our day was over and Mom began to walk me while Dad loaded our SUV. During my walk Josh ran up to me and I quickly put myself in what my parents call "gentle down." Mom dropped to her knees as she often does when a small child wants to pet me.

As Josh began hugging and laying on me, Mom noticed scars around his mouth and face. Josh's mom watched him carefully as her eyes filled with tears. She began telling my parents about his injuries.

We learned Josh had been attacked by a dog and flown via helicopter to MCV. During Josh's recovery he received over 300 stitches and multiple cosmetic surgeries to repair his mouth and face. His mom said, "after the attack Josh has been terrified of dogs and would scream when he saw them."

Josh and I became friends. God used me to allow him to realize not all dogs are bad. At one point during our visit Josh actually laid backwards across my neck resting his head and neck on mine. God gave Josh the ability to trust again using an unusual source.

God often uses unusual or unique vessels as His source of healing in our lives. I am thankful once again He chose me, furry ole Sitka to be a living vessel for His love.

Woofs and Wags,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

God's Special Plan

When I was about 8 or 9 months old my Mom was asked to give the childrens sermon at our church (BUMC, Richmond, Virginia). She agreed and began to pray about the content or bibical lesson GOD would have her share.

As she prayed GOD revealed His childrens sermon to her. He told her to use me to explain to the children about HIS special plan for each of their lives. She prayed again and again, but GOD was clear. My Mom obeys when GOD tells her to do something even if it makes her nervous and this call definately made her nervous.

During the childrens sermon my Mom explained about GOD's call and His plan. She told the children of my training and how it would prepare me to fulfill my call. She shared with them how GOD has a special plan for each of them and told them, "God always prepares the way for you when He calls you to do something."

The children loved me and I enjoyed being with them. They were so cute and they listened to my Mom very attentively. Each child left the childrens sermon with a sparkle in their eye and a smile on their face.

As my Mom feared there were some folks who were not happy about my visit. Most thought I was wonderful, but there were complaints. It was a difficult time for my Mom and Dad, because they knew they were following God's call for my life and their own.

Through the months and years since this childrens sermon GOD has faithfully renewed and reassured my parents of HIS call on my life, as well as theirs. I am excited to continue my journey with GOD and my parents.

Woofs and Wags,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"He made me feel better!"

Today began a new day in our pet therapy journey. Nanuq and I were invited to visit patients who exhibit more serious psychiatric symptoms during a daily class at our favorite hospital. We were excited to visit and make new friends.

Most of the patients warmed up to Nanuq and I very quickly and we saw a few of our friends from our night visits, too. Frequently one person draws my attention and today was no different. I met a very withdrawn black gentleman. I use the word "gentle" man, because his spirit seemed to reflect the title. He was a tall man with very strong hands yet his every movement slow and calm.

At first, my friend sat quiet and still with head down. I thought he was asleep and I'm sure everyone else did, too. His Nurse/Therapist, whom we will calm Ms. N.T. encouraged him to touch me and helped him gently put his hand on my head. I sat patiently and when he moved his hand back to his lap I slid into a "gentle down" beside him. I stayed by his chair until I was needed in another area of the room.

Later during our visit my new friend rose from his chair and slowly made his way over to me. As I sat in front of him he began to pet me. While petting me he began to smile and talk with Ms. N.T. During my visit another staff member whispered in mom's ear, "I've never heard him speak before."

As time passed and we visited with others, my new friend once again came close to me. He stood near as other patients spent time with me and before we were to leave, he looked down toward me and then held his head up and said, "he made me feel better."

A man of few words spoke volumes. Dog therapy was medicine for this "gentle"man's heart. I hope to spend more time with my new friend on future visits. My parents, Nanuq and I thank GOD for the glimmer of hope and happiness we brought during this special visit.

Woofs and Wags,

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Visiting the Psych. Hospital

Most Wednesday nights my brother Nanuq and I spend our time at a local state psychiatric hospital. One of their employees met us at the Blackstone Arts and Crafts Festival where my brother and I spent the weekend being petted by everyone who needed "furry friend" attention. She asked if we would serve as therapy dogs for their facility. My mom filled out all the paperwork and sent them the verification for our certifications and we were quickly approved.

Each time we arrive we are excited to see our new friends. There are so many needs among this group; each person is special and unique. Sometimes it takes a while for my friends to realize we are there to help them, however, my brother Nanuq smiles with what Samoyed owners refer to as "a sammy smile" and I howl in my native malamute language and they just can not resist.

Our visits are never the same and lives are always touched and changed. The staff and doctors, as well as our parents stand amazed each week as they witness GOD use us. As therapy dogs we visit many different facilities, but this one has become our favorite, because the needs are so great.

The diversity of people and needs in psychiatric facilities seems to scare some therapy dog owners and other humans, too. Nanuq and I are thankful our parents heard and accepted GOD's call to enter without fear into a place of great need. We are both honored to have been chosen by the staff and doctors as therapy dogs for their facility. We take great pride in serving this community of hurting people.

Woofs and Wags,

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Time To Be "Touched"

In February of 2006 my Mom and Dad took me to Virginia Beach, Virginia. Having never seen sand before I enjoyed digging and thrashing around. My parents and I went for long walks on the beach and boardwalk and visited with many people.

One morning we awoke to lots of rain. My Dad decided it would be a great day to take us shopping. He knew I love to go shopping and Mom doesn't mind either. We all dressed; they wore warm clothes and I wore my red therapy vest.

After a couple of stops at some of Mom's favorite shops we decided to visit the local Pet Smart. As we looked around, a group of kids asked my Mom if they could pet me and after telling me "gentle down" she said, "OK."

My Mom noticed a small child with his mother in the buggy nearby and asked if he could get out and pet me. At that very moment the mother burst into tears. She began taking her 4 year old son, who was deaf and just learning to walk out and placing him on the floor. The little one dropped to his bottom and I rolled into his lap. He smiled and rubbed me and we stayed in the floor together for almost an hour.

During my time with my new little friend his mom began to tell my parents about his life; he would soon undergo his 28th surgery. She continued to fight back tears as she explained about taking him to the grocery store and other places and how he would reach out and touch people. She said, "most people would become offended and make rude comments." Even after explaining that her son was deaf and touch was his means of communication with everyone around him it seemed people did not want to be touched or around this precious child.

My parents and I could not understand how anyone could treat such a gentle, loving child of God in this manner. After cuddling for a long time on the floor we all needed to go. I will never forget this special little boy. We promised to pray for Ryan and began getting ourselves together.

Ryan's Mom thanked us over and over again for asking if he could pet me and my parents assured her the blessing was ours. Ryan will forever remain in our hearts as we continue our journey reaching out to others.

Woofs and Wags,