Retha

“My 7 year old poodle mix dog is such a sweet lovable and cuddly dog. So many days when I come home from a stressful day at work, she is so willing and available to love on and hold while I feel my stress disintegrate. What tremendous therapy such a well adjusted, sweet, furry friend is to our family. Why should we be selfish and not share this gift with others?

I have very much enjoyed taking our dog Retha on pet therapy visits to assisted living homes, nursing homes and schools. Sure, we could do it by ourselves, and sometime we do, but it is so much more fun to join friends with their pets as we go around the entire facility. We give people the opportunity to enjoy dogs big and small, with short hair and curly hair – all the textures and sizes!

Love on a Leash is an amazing organization, both locally and nationally. Locally, visits are arranged and we can join in as time allows. It makes it so easy! Amy Sloan is so amazing with all the hard work she puts into it. Our local organization is part of a national umbrella that makes us more of a sought after, legitimate organization. Whether we are able to go on a scheduled visit with the group or go somewhere on our own, we are still representing the organization and are covered by their insurance and commonly known name as well as great reputation. Watching a person’s stress disintegrate as they hold and love on my dog makes it so rewarding to be a part of such a fine organization as this.”

Alice Emberton, DVM (and Retha)

Teddy

My daughter Ellie (14 years old) wanted nothing more than to have a dog of her own! She begged, pleaded and prayed for years, but it wasn’t the right time in our lives. Well, 1 1/2 years ago we were blessed to rescue a sweet Australian Shepherd mix, Teddy.

Teddy has enriched our lives beyond measure! We quickly realized he has a gift to make others feel loved. We don’t know his story, but know he was left along and abandoned, but her has plenty of love to share.

Six months ago, we began the process for him to become a therapy dog through Love on a Leash. We have just started making visits but love being able to brighten other’s days through the love of our sweet dog.

Tressa, Ellie and TeddyScreen Shot 2019-01-29 at 12.40.28 PM

Why I Do It

“My husband and I do therapy visits with our two Border Collies, Comet and Graci. I am proud to be a founding member of the Music City Love on a Leash chapter.

I found Love on a Leash several years ago however, at the time, I did not have a dog with the right temperament. When it came time for us to get another dog, I searched for the right dog for us to do therapy work. I was sure that was my calling in life. My husband’s job took us to England and 8 years ago Comet came into our lives. On the way home from the breeder (a good friend), I told my husband I finally have my therapy dog. We came back to the USA (Labanon, TN) and first thing, I had Comet in classes to test for Love on a Leash therapy. He passed with flying colors. At the time, I was most interested in visits to the Veteran’s Hospital in Murfreesboro. With Music City chapter, we found ways to serve and visit all types of places and give back to the community. Amy Sloan, our chapter leader, works constantly to find places such as colleges, assisted living homes, the VA hospital children with special needs, and schools. Just to name a few.

I am so proud of the teams that go out every week and take their dog or cat to give back.

Through this program and this chapter has given both my dogs, husband and I more joy and happiness than I can express in words. I have made lasting friendships, given countless hours of joy, smiles to people that need a moment in time that only therapy pets can give them. It is like watching magic when Comet lays his head on a lap or lays in bed with an older person that is bed ridden. Or when Graci comforts a child that just wants to hug her. That moment is between my dog and the person needing love and understanding.”

Diana Kindred, with Comet and Graci

The Importance of Forever

Tallons_TaleBy Music City LOAL volunteer handler Kayla Eastman

I’ve always been a firm believer that there is a kind of soul-level bond between humans and their animals. Anyone who has fostered a pet can recognize this… some animals you have little problem sending to their forever home, others you know are yours forever.

When I first met Tallon he had been found wandering through the woods in Nashville. The nice people who found him only spoke Spanish, so I went to pick him up so I could translate. They had kept him on the porch because he had “pulgas”. Turns out his “fleas” were actually over 120 ticks, which had to be carefully removed his first night with me.  Understandably, carrying around so many parasites had taken a toll.

Tallon was tired and weak most of those first few weeks. He didn’t eat much, didn’t drink much, mostly just slept. Slowly we coaxed him into eating regular meals, and his personality started to emerge. I now joke that this is when I started to realize Tallon was smarter than me.

Your heart will let you know when a dog is meant to be yours. I knew Tallon was mine. I also knew he needed a job. He was so well-mannered and loving from the start,

Screen Shot 2018-05-26 at 7.13.35 PMeven when he didn’t feel the greatest, that I knew he would make a fantastic therapy dog. So we worked, we trained, we shadowed, and eventually we became a certified therapy team.

Now Tallon LOVES visiting as many people as he can to share the love and joy he uncovered by finding a forever home. It’s taken a lot of time, effort, commitment, and dollars to get him to being a happy and healthy dog, but I’ve promised him forever, and he will know that promise for the rest of his life.