Saturday, December 30, 2017

You are what you eat, Canine Nutrition with Paula Smith

Paula Smith and Kylee

"You are what you eat."

A phrase often used by grandma, that rings true for all of us, especially our pets.

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian and an animal advocate.  I admire her very much.

In a interview I recently watched she explains why nutrition is so important for our pets, stating, "Dog and cats are naked, they don't wear shoes or socks. Their environmental burden is much heavier."  Toxins are absorbed into their system through the feet and unclothed skin.
Dr. Karen states, "As long as a pet is cellularly well nourished detoxification mechanisms kick in and they are able to kick out some of those toxins out." When a pet is not given the proper nutrition that is when toxins build up and cause disease.  Sadly what we may think is good food for our pets may not be. Most dry pet food is processed in a manner that depletes it of the nutrients our pets need and even sadder creates known carcinogens.

How can we keep our pets properly nourished? Educate yourself, on how to incorporate fresh foods and clean unprocessed whole foods in the proper balance. When my 7 year old dog Cheyenne was diagnosed with pancreatitis I started an independent study on nutrition, which thankfully allowed her to live to 15 years old.

My good friend Paula Smith is also studying nutrition, and I am thankful that she is sharing her experiences and knowledge with us.

Reluctant Journey into Canine Nutrition
by Paula Smith

Paula with Kylee Pepper and Eli bottom right 
Kylee is a beautiful active border collie that I adopted 8 years ago and is estimated to be about 10 years old. She changed my life when I adopted her because like a typical border collie, she is incredibly smart and more high strung than my golden retriever I was blessed with previously.

This spring my life with dogs changed again.  It started when I noticed a lump on Kylee’s belly that looked and felt like just another fatty tumor. This summer when my vet aspirated that new lump and said she didn’t like what she saw in the cells. So while shedding a few tears, I scheduled Kylee to have that lump (and two others) removed.
A week later, my vet called to tell me that the new lump was a Mast Cell Tumor. A what? This was cancer. The good news is that they were able to get it all. Nothing else could be done except to be diligent and watch for new lumps.

I began to learn everything I could about Mast Cell Tumors.
We lead a crazy life style, so (like many) I was perfectly happy to be able to scoop little pellets out of a bag that can be on the shelf for over a year into my three beloved companions’ food dishes twice a day. (…and I ran through a fast food drive through for myself!) It was good quality and expensive kibble, so I thought it must be good for them. But once I started researching how to help a body fight off cancer I quickly learned that the kibble had to go. By its nature it is very processed, dry, and full of carbohydrates that the body turns into sugar.  (Sugar is apparently cancer food and helps the tumors grow.)

Once I was over the shock of the cancer diagnosis and able to talk about it, I reached out to friends that studied the affects of food on their dogs’ bodies. The biggest thing I learned is that good, quality foods, helps dogs maintain optimum health.  To prevent and fight cancer, we can boost the immune system through food and natural supplements.

With the help of many friends that I have made through dog sports and rescue work, they helped me channel my feeling of helplessness into a feeling that we can fight this cancer!   
This journey has just started for me, but I hope it not only makes me a better dog guardian, but helps be take better care of my own body and those I love…human and canine. I am not a doctor, just a dog lover who wanted to share what I recently learned with as many people as I can.  Each day we can only do what we can afford in time and money to do for ourselves and best friends. If you would like to learn more about canine nutrition, I suggest reading Canine Nutrigenomics by W. Jean Dodds, DVM and Diana R. Laverdure

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. ~Brian Tracy

OH the greatest gift of all.... UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! I have received this gift from my "greatest gift" that I rescued, my dog Odin J. He returned the favor by rescuing me!

When I think of the words "unconditional love" I know animals have much to teach us on this subject. Odin has so much to teach me on this subject.

Have I or any of us, humans actually ever given true unconditional love?
Can any of us TRULY say you have loved unconditionally?  If you can say you have never said in anger, or silently in your head," I hate you", then I admire you.  You are an enlightened zen master and I have as much to learn from you as I do from our furry friends.

I feel these angels with fur are here as "Teachers and Healers" and "Guides for the Soul" as one of my favorite authors, Susan Chernak McElroy, so appropriately describes them.
Have you ever seen your pet actually show hate? I love analogy  that asks,  if you lock a man and your dog in a trunk of a car for 5 hours, when you open it up, who will be the only one happy to see you?  The dog, of course, will be wagging, his tail happy to see you!

Odin is my greatest gift of all, but I was prepared for another dog to care for. I was committed to keep him in my home for the rest of HIS life. If a pet  has fears we should be prepared to help them learn how to cope and not turn them into a shelter for someone else to deal with. When you take in a new pet I believe they are a family member and not disposable. When you bring them home, please be ready for commitment.  There are more pets, that are Christmas puppy or kitten gifts, surrendered to shelters six months after Christmas than any other time of year. During the holidays, I always feel obligated to send out a gentle reminder. Please remember that cute snuggly Christmas puppy you are tempted to give your kids or your grandma, will be a grown dog soon with puppy energy that your kids will forget to take out or grandma can't handle, six months later.

Now that I have written the obligatory disclaimer my heart insists I write, I can get to the good part. When you are ready, and prepared for an approximately 10-17 year commitment, there is no greater reward as the love of a pet.

I want to express my gratitude for my soul dog on his Thirteenth Year on this earth. I could not ask for a better gift this holiday season, or EVER!   I don't know his exact birthday, but we celebrate it November 2nd, All Saints Day. The older he gets the more I want to celebrate and appreciate our time together. I strive to make little things special for him. This year he celebrated with a few of his best furry and his two legged people friends. There were five dogs and they had a real birthday party. It included party hats, which were hard getting them all on at the same time for ONE PICTURE!!! There were dog toys for everyone. And finally what is a birthday without a birthday cake? It was a homemade heart shaped apple doggie cake with peanut butter and yogurt frosting. It was a great tail waggin time.

"Saving that one dog (one cat or one horse) will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever." We make a Christmas wish that all the homeless pets and those in shelters will have their world changed for the better. We hope they find their perfect fur-ever home and never feel lonely again.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday, from Odin J., Raven Roo (kitty) and myself. We hope it is full of furry unconditional love, the greatest gift of all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Helping your furry friends age with grace

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog. -Sidney Jeanne Seward
Odin J. on his throne in the woods

How did my buddy Odin that was just a young whipper snapper just a minute ago , become my old boy? The years of joy we spend with them just seem to fly by too fast. As our pets age they can have some senior moments just like humans.They also can become more demanding and insistent about what they want. These moments  we contend with can go from heartbreaking to  frustrating to quite humorous.

When my fox like little lady Kashmir was 15 years old, she started with arthritis and had a hard time with the stairs. She was only about 35 lbs. so we would pick her up and carry her up.  She would stand at the bottom of the stairs and bark for assistance. I started her on glucosamine and that did wonders. She was flying up the stairs in no time... that is when no one was looking. If anyone was in sight she would bark for her ride again, and of course get it.  She would sometimes proceed then to run back downstairs and back up, it became her ol' lady game.
 Sweet Kashmir

 It seems often, when our dogs get older they all seem like they cannot get their fill of food, especially treats and garbage.

Years ago, I would throw stale popcorn on the bushes for the birds. Looking out the window I saw Cheyenne, my shepherd mix, 'climbing' the bush. After that day know the bush was known as "Cheyenne's popcorn tree" She also decided not only to get into the trash in her senior years, but actually try to push you out of the way if you were standing in front of the sink. She would give you the look that said, "What are you going to do, I am old?"

Cheyenne by one of the popcorn "trees"


Odin, now that he has reached the age of about 12, has totally forgotten manners. He had them, he really did. Recently, I put the dehydrator out on the deck, dehydrating liver for Odin's treats. He started by going out on the deck and coming back in the door way and giving me the "please" look. He proceeded to get more demanding from a low growl talk to an all out bark, as if to say, "Hey don't you see me here, and those treats there?" It progressed to going right to the source and barking at the dehydrator it self randomly throughout the day.
He also lets you know if he wants more treats by getting out his kong or puzzle toys and not so gently tossing them your way or on your head,if you are on the floor, with his "HEY don't you get the message?" bark.
Odin "not begging "

Odin bringing me on of his treat toys, saying , "fill er up"
Sadly Odin has always has some oddly shaped back legs and I hoped as he got older,  glucosamine would be enough for him. Sadly I was correct. I am a researcher and have learned many ways to help my boy and other seniors as they age. I want to help them age  as gracefully and pain free as possible.
Please see some ideas that may help your dog at :

Recently I have incorporated some things in Odin's regimen I want to pass onto you .

Odin (and I) use Copiaba two times a day. It is an essential oil with anti-inflammatory properties.
I put a drop on my hand and rub on his sore spots. Fur, acts as a straw and draws it down to the skin. Contact me via info below for more info on this.

I am so thankful for my wonderful, open minded kind and caring  Veterinarians and staff from Companion Animals Clinic, Dr Heather Headland, and Dr. Wendy Headland. They take time to explain and weigh options. I trust them with all my heart. Recently they took the time to help me decide if I should add Adequan intermuscular injections to Odin's regimen. I am thankful we decided to go this route. I have seen a definite improvement in the way Odin gets up and down, and how much more he can do.

Before Cheyenne passed away she  taught her brother Odin how to fish, she was the fishing queen

Odin keeping active

Hoping this information helps your furry friend age more gracefully.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Memories of Rebel by Kimberly Becker

"Left with memories of Sunshine in your fur, squirrels on roofs, your head on my pillow as I pet you to sleep."

I would like to thank Kimberly for being my guest writer this month. I was for fortunate enough to have her share her story of Rebel. She also allowed me to honor Rebel  by making pieces fashioned from photos of his paw print his markings . His ashes were lovingly fused inside. Below is a beautiful tribute honoring him with love.

I am the definition of a crazy cat lady.  I keep cat food in my car- just in case, I'm HORRIBLY allergic and up until recently I had one. He was my I-love-you-enough-to-put-up-with-all-the-sneezing-hives-watering-eyes-and-runny-nose baby. He slept in my bed and was a total blanket and pillow hog, he'd often greet me at the door, and give kisses when I asked (usually).  He was my baby, and I've found it difficult to explain to people that haven't loved a pet this way the gaping hole he's left behind.

Kimberly says, "That was the mattress I slept on the majority of the 7 months he was sick.  I got up, and he immediately moved to that spot.  I used the towels because I'm allergic, so I could swap them easily since that was a common thing. (when he wasn't laying just perfectly in the middle of the bed/on all the blankets.) "
I named him Rebel and it was a name well deserved. He did what he wanted, when he wanted, how he wanted -even if it was an inconvenience.  So he was a typical cat.  But even though that was the name on his collar, to me he was Boo.  As a kitten he wasn't very coordinated, often running into walls chasing after things. And I, being a "new mother" was constantly checking him for boo-boos.
Kimberly says, "After him being there a while I realized I had beef jerky in there. He was a very nosy little guy, run by his nose/always following scents."

When we found out he was sick with CKD I became that fawning mother again. I was fortunate that my job was only a 5 minute drive from where he was (he lived with my parents) and I was able to spend my lunch breaks with him.  My once a week sleep over visits turned into a blow up mattress on the floor that I slept in every night, just to be near him.  I spent most of my free time with him covering him in blankets, making sure he ate, giving him IV fluids, everything I could to make him comfortable.  And in those following months he was. He was himself. He was happy.  It wasn’t until his last week that he really seemed ill.
Rebel and Kimberly

I often find myself thinking of that week, remembering the ache in my chest as he got worse. He had always been an indoor only cat, due to an inability to be vaccinated. But I found a pet stroller and was able to take him for a walk around the neighborhood. (Like I said, crazy cat lady)  I like to think he really enjoyed it because staring out windows was one of his favorite things to do.  We found out the next day we had to let him go.  I was so grateful I was able to take him out that once, wishing there had been more.  I remember that morning he wouldn’t eat so we offered him chicken.  He started to purr as he ate a few pieces.  We always joked he’d be on his death bed but still come running for chicken and when the vet told us his blood oxygen level was so low he didn’t know how he was still alive we knew that was true.  That was the hardest day of my life. Hearing him cry as they brought him in the room I forgot to breathe and I didn’t think I’d ever stop crying.  All I thought about is what more I could have done. When you love this much, nothing short of everything seems enough.

Time has helped. Knowing he’s no longer in pain or afraid of trips to the vet, and the wonderful jewelry Jodi made me have also made it a little easier.    Sometimes I watch videos of him to remember before he got sick.   I remember the quirky things he did, like leaving fly heads -just the heads- on my pillow. Which I hope was because he loved me and wasn’t a warning. Or the time he rubbed his butt from the litter box down the hall and in a huge circle in my sisters room leaving a poop streak the entire way. He loved carrots and shoes, you had to hide them or you'd come back to them covered in cat hair and drool.  He’d come running if you said “chicken” and we had to start locking up the trash because he’d find leftovers.  He once broke a small rock carving I had in his likeness and ate half of it.  He was so weird and I loved him for it.  I live with the grief his death has caused but he was and is such a light in my life.
Rebel with his shoe

Rebel has always been odd and well deserving of his name. We quickly learned of his affinity towards stinky shoes, especially those that had been around dirt, and root vegetables - specifically carrots. He loved to roll, rub, hug, anything to transfer the scent to himself. He often left carrots with his white cheeks turned orange. Which made it such a surprise when we discovered he also loved dryer softener sheets. One morning while cleaning what I thought was a hairball, I noticed it was not hair, but solid... a used dryer sheet that he had eaten. We quickly learned to immediately dispose of them to prevent them from sitting in laundry he could reach. Because what cat doesn't love to lay in freshly cleaned anything?  But Rebel being a rebel, found his way  to an unused one and unbeknownst to us, he ate it. He got very sick, very quickly.  I remember sitting in the vets office, covered in his purely ammonia pee, crying to my father. "Use my college fund and savings account, I don’t care. We have to save him." The emergency vet wanted $3000 to keep him 3 days, on an IV full of meds to clean out his system and hydrate him. When we brought him home he slept the majority of the next two days, in his bed that we moved to the bathroom to be near his litter box. We were told to watch him, and bring him back if his condition worsened. Even after my mother told me not to I stayed on that bathroom floor laying next to him those two days. Not knowing what to do, I sang just one verse of "You are My Sunshine" on repeat. It became our song. Anytime he didn't feel well I'd sing it, begging my sunshine to get better. I sang it those 2 days and often in his final months. And he returned the favor, any time I was sick he would lay with me until I was better. That is why I chose the metal piece with "my sunshine," because he was my sunshine.  I chose the amber to match his coloring, and the triangle shape to represent his ear.  He would often walk over and rub the back of his ear against my face, giving me "kisses." So the shape, color, and writing that make up the beautiful pendant Jodi made me all represent something that reminds me of him.
Paw print stone made from a close up of this photo of Rebel's paw

Friday, June 30, 2017

Listening to the Animals, an entry dedicated to our friend Murphy

Our neighbor and friend Murphy

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.”― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I have used this quote in past but this is on of my very favorite ones worth  being ‎re quoting.

What is anthropomorphism?
The definition  reads : the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object.

Some people think this is absurd and that animals are things that do not feel like we do. Great scientists such as Jane Goodall and Marc Beckoff have proven otherwise. I also agree with one of my heroes, Ms. Goodall that animals do feel and love as humans do. Actually I believe they actually have larger hearts than most humans and love unconditionally.  I enjoy watching their antics and quite honestly can say I hear what there voices may sound like in my head. I can also imagine word bubbles popping up over their head and what might be in those bubbles.

My kitty Raven has a french accent. Black Lab Grandpuppy Cash, sounds like Goofy from Disney. My buddy Odin has the voice and demeanor of Winnie the Pooh. He does nothing fast and is just content looking for another smackeral of honey or whatever he can get his paws on. Golden retriever neighbor and buddy Murphy has the voice of Foghorn Leghorn.
I wanted to have all these voices in place in your imagination before I proceed with my story.
Cash Odin and Raven 

Happily Cash has sleepovers with us quite often. Not too long ago she stayed for the weekend and we went for a walk in the woods. In the past Odin and I would come across a grouse that flies straight up and can certainly startle. Odin could care less, just like Pooh, being in no in particular hurry. On this day with Cash present  a grouse popped up and I could instantly hear Cash's word bubble say in her Goofy voice, "Did ya see that, did ya... did ya? Odin did ya seeeeeeee that? (her retriever instincts kickin in) Odin that was the coolest thing I have ever seen." Odin got a little pep in his step and you could hear him say in the most excited Pooh voice he could muster, "Oh bother, I'll be a little excited with ya Cash."

Raven and Cash's relationship could best be described as Raven 'tolerates' Cash. Cash just wants to please and be eternally happy, hoping Raven will throw her a crumb. When we returned home that day, Raven was waiting at the door, giving Odin the normal sniff of ears and feet and saying in her French accent.  "Ju may pass Odin." Cash giving Raven a good three feet comfort space tried to get in the door but Raven had to take her one intimidating step forward, with her eyes glinting knocking un confrontational Cash back almost in a somersault. Flouncing her imaginary french tu tu hopped to the couch word bubble popping up saying "You is ze stupid." as she curls up to sleep.

Cash wants to be buddies so very badly, waits till she is fast asleep. In slow motion one, quietly one inch at a time puts one paw up, then another, until finally her whole body is on the couch, word bubble saying,  "You like me, c'mon ,(one paw)  you like me, please like me.(the next paw)" Raven slyly opens one eye "In-grade" Cash barely moves slow mo curls in a tight ball, and as she falls blissfully asleep one last word bubble, "you love me."
Cash hoping for a morsel of love from Raven

Aren't they just so sweet and fascinating to watch?

When we go for walks or paddle boat rides , we happily run into our neighbor Murphy. When walking Murphy will run up to me in the Foghorn Leghorn voice you can hear Murphy's word bubble loud and clear, "Well well boy, Hi Odin Hi Odin, Jodi, you got a treat? How bout another treat , and another and another. "As he happily shoves his whole  nose into my treat bag circling us tail waggin. When he is in the house or one the dock when we paddle, Odin and Murph call out greetings of joy to one another. There is no hesitance with Murphy he is just happy and joyfully full of exuberance swimming and strutting his tail feathers with pride.

In the past I have mentioned Odin is the best of dogs but has some fears. He would rather just go off to his own honey tree and be left alone when scary things, especially when children come his way. I believe it is always best to NOT set your dog up for failure when you know a situation is just too much for them. When six year old step grandson comes to visit Odin has to go to the bedroom behind a baby gate. Raven does NOT like the fast movement and hides on her own. On the other hand when twenty year old step grandson comes Odin AND Raven are overjoyed, he is one of their favorite humans. I have one of those gates that will keep Odin in but holes big enough for gate for Raven to chose to be in or out. Even though it is best for Odin to be in there, you can see his word bubble silently pleading," PLEASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSE let me out, please." Raven on the other hand says, "Thank you for ze gate" as she saunters through swishing her tail, "Ha ha you silly little human child, I will not allow my velvet fur coat to be ruffled by ze dirty paws." She  waits until the very second the youngest's head hits the pillow, peaks her head around the door and pops out from behind the gate looking for the slow moving one that knows how to honor such royalty. When the coast is clear Odin is let out and also goes in search of his buddy knowing he will get loving and a smacekeral of some kind of honey goodness.

Odin and Raven snuggling safely behind the baby gate 

These stories lighten my heart and I hope they do yours. I wanted to bring some humor to this month's story because the story has a bittersweet end.

Recently looking out onto my beautiful lake,  I saw my handsome Murphy and his  moms on the boat sweetly gliding along and it made me smile. Shortly after I received a message that said, Did you see Murphy? We wanted to take him on one last ride because that is what he loved to do. My heart broke in two. It was time for Murphy to go to the rainbow bridge the next day and his Moms wanted his last day to be perfection of all his favorite things.

With a saddened heart but also a toast to a celebration of beautiful life I want to dedicate this article  with love in memory of sweet joyful Golden Boy Murphy. May you fish,swim, run, and fly on golden wings until we all meet again.
A tribute to Murphy

I have included a wonderful story by Murphy's mom

For saying "no, we can't handle a puppy 2 weeks from our daughter's wedding", to his 1st couple months laced with health problems, we quickly came to love our Murphy boy.  In spite of him shredding every toy of Maude's he got a hold of, eating sticks non-stop & wandering off occasionally, he was a good boy.  He always treated Maude with the utmost respect. Always staying back until she got the treats first, let her eat before him, even choose her place to lay.  After Maude passed 4 years ago, he has been nothing but the best Golden boy!  New babies entering his later life, he has never snarled at one.  He would fish for hours, or play fetch with a stick, and then chew up the stick at the end of play.  He couldn't stand anyone to swim without him, and always had to be in the lead.  We made him learn to climb the ladder on the pontoon boat after several 'excited' overboard leaps after fish, turtles or bobbers,,,  folks were amused & amazed seeing this!  I'll miss my trips into the kitchen with you close behind, sharing my toast & sandwich crusts with you, & always the last bite of whatever I had.  Murphy has been sick since December.  After several vet & specialist visits his sinus tumor grew tremendously these past 3 weeks, closing one eye completely & moving to his lower jaw.  The laborious breathing that he is suffering thru would have only gotten worse with the upcoming heat & humidity.  Last night, with our boat still on the driveway to be cleaned, neighbor Bev offered her boat for one last cruise around the lake.  He had so much pep in his step getting to the lake!  We cruised past all his favorite spots that he would normally cry & tremble to have us stop the boat so he could swim.  Turtle Bay, the Sand Bar, the Eagles 🦅 Nest.  No excitement, as if he knew whats going on.  We got rained on, but continued on, last glances at the Eagles, like it was all part of a plan,,, 

He touched the hearts of many.  Neighbors Bev & Jodi both stopped by to give him his last love. 

We'll miss you, our Murphy boy.  You AND Maude have shown us what wonderful furbabies Golden Retrievers are.  You'll live on in our hearts ♥️ forever,,,

Friday, June 23, 2017

A true hero making a difference

Ashley and Wade Marr's dog Skye
Photo Credit Kim Perry

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.~ Christopher Reeve

Ashley Perry turned thirteen years old this May. For such a young girl, she has given back with her whole heart, more than most people accomplish in a lifetime. She has a huge heart for people and animals.

Ashley has had 20 surgeries and every three weeks has to go into the hospital for the day to receive IVIG infusions that have side affects that resemble chemo. She has a very rare disease called Turners Syndrome that only affects 1/2000 young women.

Ashley and Wade Marrs
Photo credit Kim Perry

Overcoming obstacles like this and giving back as much as she does has made Ashley a true hero in my eyes. She is someone to admire that I believe is a wonderful role model. I am apparently not the only one that has recognized the greatness in this young lady. Wade Marrs, an Iditarod musher, I also admire, has also seen and admires her courage. Wade lives in a cabin with no running water or electricity. His life is loving and caring for his dogs. He works very hard to accomplish his goal. He has said that Ashley inspires him in his chosen fight. Wade inspires Ashley in her fight that she has no choice in.

The two have formed a bond. Ashley met Wade through Providence Children's Hospital, who contacted Ashley. A  sled ride was donated for Opening Ceremonies. It was donated to the hospital from a Pediatrician they lovingly refer to as Dr. Greg. Ashley rode with Wade in Iditarod Ceremonial Start in 2013. Once that was over his "commitment" was done. However, according to Kim Perry, Ashley's mom, "Wade truly has a heart of gold." He started asking the Perry family to his kennel to mush and then also invited Ashley to the Musher's banquet and the friendship grew. Ashley told me, "Wade is amazing, like a brother" to her and her two sisters and brother.

Wade is now racing to promote Turner's syndrome awareness. He has invited other girls from Alaska out to his kennel for rides and to socialize with each other so they know they are not alone.
Ashley and Wade
photo credit Kim Perry

This is one of Ashley's projects is to help others with Turner's syndrome know that they are not alone. They need to be able to support each other. She also wants the kids in the hospital to be able to forget they are sick for awhile. She works hard to get visitors to come to the hospital to bring joy. She has had Wade (of course) visit with fellow Iditarod Musher Aily Zirkle, country stars Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood and more. Ashley is always on the hunt for more volunteers. She has contacted her local mayor and is installing blessing boxes in her town. She is now reading to dogs in shelters.

Not too long ago, I wrote about getting a program started locally to do this. Reading to dogs in shelters allows children to spend time with the dogs in a loving, innocent non judging manner. This helps a very scared dog or anti-social dog become more adoptable and less likely to be returned. For children, especially those struggling with reading, one of the biggest challenges of learning to read is the embarrassment and fear of making mistakes. One of the most accepting, non-judgmental creatures in the world are dogs. Young students who read out loud to dogs improved their reading skills by 12 percent.

Life got busy, and I hadn't quite done it yet. Ashley's determination and spirit inspired me to get moving faster. I decided a girl with that much determination was the role model I wanted for this program. The program is to be called the "Ashley Perry Shelter Reading Program." I feel Ashley will be a beautiful inspiration for those struggling to achieve greatness. This program will take place at Muskegon Humane Society located in Muskegon, MI.

I hope Ashley inspires you, as she has so many. If you live locally, and would like to be a volunteer for the reading program, or get your child involved, please contact me via facebook or For Ashley I would also like to share this information to get the word out. Please feel free to contact me if any of these apply to you. I will get the information to the Perry family. She would love more cheer brought to her hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. Ashley wants others to know just because you have Turners Syndrome it doesn't mean that it  defines who you are. It's just a part of you.  The more sponsors for her dear friend Wade, the better. Ashley has told me he has done so much to bring awareness to Turners syndrome and joy to her family, she would like to help return the favor.
Ashley in her first sled dog race
Photo credit Kim Perry

This would be great advertising for Dog related business to be involved with the Iditarod. If you don't live locally, we both would love if you would be interested in getting a sister shelter program going in your area. I would love to get the information and assist you with that. One by one we can ALL collectively make a pawsitive difference.