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Spike as a puppy

Our first litter of shih tzu puppies was born in August of 2007. Four pups, one of which was a darling black and white boy. I grew very attached to this litter as I had to be their mom starting at 2 weeks of age. Because of my connection with these puppies, we decided to keep a couple as pets. The black and white boy was one of them -- we named him Spike! He was such a sweet puppy and loved attention. While his sisters were off playing and exploring, Spike was content to sit in my lap and be cuddled. The ultimate “snuggle bunny”.

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When Spike was about 7 weeks old, Mary Jo Hill contacted me about one of my other dogs for sale. She was wanting a dog to use as a therapy dog. After a week of consideration, I decided to tell her about Spike. She and her husband were interested and came out to visit. We talked more about Spike’s temperament and disposition, and after meeting them -- and them meeting him -- we decided that Spike had a future career as a therapy dog. It was with a lump in my throat and more than a few tears shed, that I sent Spike off to his new home -- knowing he would be loved, and hoping he would live up to our expectations.

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Fast forward a year and a half….. After periodic updates on how Spike had been doing, I received the following email:

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Hi Gigi,

You would have been so proud, as I was today, on Spike's first visit as a Pet therapy dog. We went to the Parson House, which is an assisted living facility. Our companions were two jackapoos (Jack Russell terrier-poodle) The companions were brothers and quite likeable and cute, but no comparison to the small Shih-Tzu, Mr. Spike.

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All visits went extremely well and Spike acted as if he had done this kind of work his whole life. Very well mannered and quite lovable. Two of the women we saw wanted Spike to stay behind with them but unfortunately I had to inform them he was my baby and he had to come home with me. We are invited back next month on the last Saturday.

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I am also going to another assisted living facility on Wednesday, which will also be a once a month visit. It seems like there is a real demand for the dogs to do this kind of work and I am so happy Spike is so ready and willing to do so. He is an ol' pro at it already. As you can tell I am quite proud, as I should be, because he is truly one special dog.

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I am going to think seriously about pictures on our next visit. I hope the pictures will bring you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, because I know how much you loved the little guy.

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I couldn't wait to let you know how proud I am and how proud you should be of our little "Spike". Keep in touch and hopefully I will be sending pictures soon.
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Mary Jo

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Spike making friends at a kids cancer camp (left & center) and visiting at the VA hospital (right)

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Here is Spike helping with a reading program at the Sorensen Library in Omaha. 
He is enjoying having the kids read stories to him.

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Well, you can imagine how wonderful it was to receive that email and to hear how well Spike was doing in his “chosen career”. What a blessing that little guy has been to so many people! I still get tears in my eyes when I read about how well Spike is doing and how much love he receives!

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I would like to express a HUGE THANK YOU to Mary Jo and her husband, Brad. They have been the ones to nurture, train and love Spike for nearly 3 years now. While I have missed him greatly, I have never regretted selling Spike to them and it is especially rewarding to know how much joy and love he brings to the folks that he visits as a Pet Therapy Dog!

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Spike at home with Mary Jo

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