The Mac to My Cheese

Rita, you are the mac to my cheese!

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Ok, so we are a few days late celebrating International Friendship Day (8/6), but in honor of the wonderful friends in our lives, Margarita and I ran the Virtual Run Events Friends Forever 5k.

 

It certainly wasn’t our fastest race, (at least it was faster than our first 5k together!) but it was time well spent together – and for a good cause! 15% of each registration for this race is donated to Soles4Souls. Since 2006, Soles4Souls has collected and distributed 26 million pairs of shoes to those in need in 127 countries around the world and all 50 states in the U.S!!
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Rita’s total race miles: 12.45 miles

Who’s the mac to YOUR cheese?!

Margarita’s First Day of School

Those of you who have been following along know that Rita became a registered Therapy Dog.  My school district decided to start a Therapy Dog program, and Rita was one of the first dogs starting the program!

My students were super-excited! They made welcome signs, and we marked the calendar for her first day of school!

Students created posters and centimeter cube formations to welcome Rita to our class:

Ready for her first day of school with her Paw Patrol backpack!


Rita did very well with the kids, and the students enjoyed having Rita by their side as they practiced multiplication facts.

Rita was quite exhausted after her first day with the students, and napped her way through my Prep period.

Rita’s first day was a success – what a great program this will be for the students!

Paws for Art

On April 2, 2017, Rita attended the Wheaton Arts Paws for Arts to volunteer as a donation dog with her Fiance, the very handsome Mr. Spock, for Pointer Rescue, Org (PRO). All cash that Rita collected was donated directly to PRO.

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The Paws for Arts event partnered with the Cumberland County SPCA  for a free community event that brought pet owners and their dogs on site for a day of art and fun.

Highlights from the event included:

■ WheatonBarks Dog Show and Parade

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■  Several Animal Rescue Groups in attendance

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■ Obedience Demonstration

■ Pet Supplies, Treats, Clothing

■ Dog Activities such as Paw Prints, Bobbing for Tennis Balls, and Pumpkin Pie, Photo      Booth

Rita got her paw print done and I was able to pick it up in June, after they fired it in the oven!

■ Search and Rescue Demonstrations

■ Agility Course

■ Animal Themed Glassmaking Demonstrations in the Glass Studio

■ Pet Themed Kids’ Hands-On Activities

Double Nickel Brewing Company; Pennsauken, NJ

Double Nickel is a craft brewery located in Pennsauken, NJ, and is super dog friendly!  This brewery is located in the town I grew up in, so I was very excited to visit and do a tasting!

We enjoyed all the beer we tasted!

This brewery was definitely worth visiting – we will be back for sure!

Eclipse Brewing; Merchantville, NJ

Eclipse Brewing is located in Merchantville, NJ in the town’s former EMS building.

I was excited to try this Brewery, as it is located in the town where I attended elementary school! 

The tasting room had a great atmosphere – and had a World, United States, and NJ map where you can pin the location you are from!

Getting Medford Lakes on the map!

The owner is a 27-year homebrewer, and has some very tasty selections!

I liked each of the four beers in my tasting – and so did Brian.  We stayed for a glass of our favorites.

 

We will definitely be visiting Eclipse again soon!

Rita’s 1st “Gotcha” Day / Rita’s 7th-ish Birthday!

Today is a very special day, as this date marks one year since we met Margarita, and brought her home as “Penelope / Penny,” our GSP Rescue of New Jersey foster dog.  Although we didn’t officially adopt her until April, We picked March 4th – the day we met her – as Rita’s “Gotcha Day /Bday.” During her initial evaluation last year, it was estimated that Rita was 6 years old, which makes her approximately 7 years old now!
Unfortunately, Rita, found as a stray, had a bit of a rough start to life. She went through some health issues and operations during her first month with us – she was underweight, had to have 9 teeth pulled, a lumpectomy, was spayed, had “happy tail” from being in a crate, and treatment for Anaplasmosis. However, Rita was a trooper, and has had quite a healthy and active first year with us!
I promised myself that because Rita didn’t have great experiences in the first part of her life, I would introduce her to as many good things as possible, finding what activities make her most happy, and continuing to have her participate in those events. During our first year with Rita, she has been on 15 camping trips, and visited 8 new states including, DE, IN, IA, MD, NH, NY, OH, PA, and VA. Rita has even been out of the country (Canada) as well! She has visited 4 wineries, 5 breweries, 3 restaurants/bars, stayed overnight in 2 hotels, and shopped at Cabela’s and Lowe’s. Margarita has participated in 5k races, Barn Hunt, Nose Work, Lure Coursing, swim lessons, and agility. Margarita also completed training and is a registered Therapy Dog with The Alliance of Therapy Dogs, and has begun her “official” Therapy Dog visits at assisted living facilities and a local library’s children’s reading program. Most recently, Rita and I have earned our registration as a Reading  EducationAssistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) team!
Brian and I were quite content with the size of our pack before meeting Margarita. However, Rita has filled an emptiness that we didn’t even know our family had. Not only has she been a great playmate for Hooch (who often was excluded by Cello and Lager during their play sessions), she has brought the utmost joy and love to Brian and I, as well as everyone she meets. People stop us continually and ask to meet her everywhere we go. My students at school – who have never met her – love her and talk about her constantly just from looking at her picture in my classroom. There is definitely something very special about this sweet soul, and we are extremely honored to have her as a family member!
Thank you to all of you who love and support Margarita both in-person, and from afar – we can’t say enough how much we appreciate it!!
Happy Gotcha Day, Señorita Margarita, we love you!!
Link to the public photo album of Rita’s first couple of weeks with us:
Link to the public photo album from Rita’s 1st Gotcha Day/7th-ish Birthday:

Registered R.E.A.D. Team

Not long after Margarita and I passed our test to become a registered Therapy Dog Team with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, I learned about a great program called R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs). I decided this would be an excellent opportunity for us, so I began to study for the written test.  One day before Margarita’s 1st Gotcha Day / 7th-ish Birthday, we received the great news that I passed, and we are now officially a registered R.E.A.D. team!

“The mission of the R.E.A.D. program is to improve the literacy skills of children through the assistance of registered therapy teams as “literacy mentors.”

The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to an animal. But not just any animal. R.E.A.D. companions are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.

R.E.A.D. is the first and foremost program that utilizes therapy animals to help kids improve their reading and communication skills and also teaches them to love books and reading. It’s been growing around the world since November of 1999 when ITA launched it here in Salt Lake City. More than 3,500 therapy teams have trained and registered with the program and are going strong!

Today, thousands of registered R.E.A.D. teams work throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Finland, France, Sweden, South Africa, Slovenia, Spain, Netherlands, Norway and beyond. “

~Intermountain Therapy Animals

We are very excited to be a part of this wonderful program!