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  • Welcome to Our Blog!

    We are Becky & Dave Bishop! Thanks for stopping by our blog! This is where we update on the events, activities, and adventures here at Crystal Creek Farms, home of Puppy Manners, located in beautiful Woodinville, WA!

    "Dig" around and explore! Maybe you'll find a helpful bone or two! Either way, we'll "treat" you to some great information including dog training tips, puppy help, and how you and your canine partner can become certified in therapy!

    We'll also be sharing videos, photos, and stories---both personal and professional---that will be sure to entertain!

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Reading with Rover, D.R.E.A.M. (Dogs for Reading Assistance Education and More)

I wrote this article for a magazine recently and thought I’d share it here. For more information on Reading with Rover, please visit the website HERE.

Back in 1999 I received a phone call from MeiMei Wu, a dog loving librarian working at the King County Library in Bothell Washington. Summer was approaching and with that, as usual the kids section in the library would become a ghost town. Seems that in the summer, along with a school break kids take a break from reading as well.  MeiMei.  asked me if I would like to help her change all that. Because I’m a dog trainer and I have therapy dogs Mei Mei thought I would be a good contact to help set up reading sessions where kids read aloud to dogs. I was not so sure about this idea, “won’t the kids see right through it? It’s like we are tricking them to read? “  On the other hand I thought it would be “cute”, “sweet”, my dog would love it, but nothing that would really have any long lasting benefit to the kids. Of course this ended up that MeiMei had a great idea and boy, was I wrong.  I think not only did we change the summer reading population at the library, we may have changed the world!  Ok, maybe a stretch but I do think time will tell! Only a few weeks into the summer and several news organizations came out to film what we where doing, “Reading to a dog? Helps kids? What?” One of those news organizations was CNN, national news. Next thing we knew, we had gone what we call today, “gone viral!”  I had clients calling me from airports, seems our story was being promoted as a human interest story so it was being seen by a lot of people from all over the world.  It  was becoming obvious that because dogs are non judgmental creatures, they are the perfect reading buddy for a child with challenges. 

Reading with Rover dogs also visit hospitals, brightening up the day of someone who needs it.

 

The line of children at the library became so long that we actually had to make appointments for the kids to read to the dogs. My friend Dottie Snow, who also had therapy dogs and I started recruiting more teams to meet the demands that summer.

I would be lying if I did not say that my motivation in the beginning was slightly selfish, I thought from dog training business perspective  “what a great way to market what I do, get my name out there!” but that all changed when Animal Planet sent a production crew from England to Seattle to film our Reading with Rover program at Woodmoor elementary school. This was going to be part of a two hour Jane Goodall special called “When Animals Talk”   During the interviews, one of the kids, Kassidy who had leukemia since age two made this comment “I think it’s the dogs job to make you feel safe” and this comment was like an arrow that pierced through my heart because I knew what Kassidy was going through so the thought that our reading dogs could create a sense of “safe” feelings for her was remarkable. Reading with Rover is about feeding the heart and soul of not just our community of children but it’s a huge part of our lives, the handlers of the dogs as well.  That summer Kassidy died of leukemia. Her experience with our dogs changed not only my life but our mission. Today we not only help children with reading challenges but autistic children, children with cerebral palsy or other physical limitations. Any child with a special need can benefit from the experience they are having with one of our D.R.E.A.M dog teams. Not only are these dogs special, I have to say the dedicated people that hold the leash and sit back and let the magic happen are special as well.

Reading with Rover has grown from 3 reading dogs in a small library in Bothell Washington to over 120 ready teams, helping kids all over the Puget Sound. Since our segment aired on Animal Planet seven years ago I to this day get emails from all over the world, India, Germany, Australia, England, Mexico. There are now reading dog programs nation wide and also in Europe as well. Their groups have different names but it’s the same concept, dogs helping children by offering some non judgmental humane interaction.  All want to know how to set up a program like Reading with Rover in their community. Amazing isn’t it!  So are we changing the world? I think we are, one tail at a time.

 

Meet my new puppy!

I realize this isn’t actually a photo of me and a puppy, but this is my “human puppy” and granddaughter, Reagan, age three. The comparisons between my little human puppy and a real puppy are amazing. For your convenience, I’ve put together my Top 10 list of similarities:

  1. She’s almost house broken. If I withhold liquid after 7PM, she can make it through the entire night without an “accident.” However, if she has a bit of Root Beer (or “Beet Brr”, as she likes to call it), I can guarantee she will need a “wee wee pad”, aka “Pull Ups”.
  2. She doesn’t eat the furniture, but I have caught her chewing on inappropriate objects. For example, pencil erasers, paper clips, and pennies.
  3. She’s a bit of a “resource guarder,” as she doesn’t like to share her HPGs (Hard Plastic Guys) and/or her “Chickens”, aka “chicken nuggets.” She actually growled at me the other day. I thought about squirting her with a water bottle but we thought a timeout would be more effective. It was.
  4. She doesn’t drink out of the toilet, but I did catch her splashing in it the other day. When I found her, she exclaimed rather bluntly, “I’m playing in your toilet!” Thank heavens for liquid sanitizer, although I have caught her drinking that too.
  5. Right now, her recall (“come here” command) needs some serious work. When she’s in the yard and I call her to come, she runs the other way. Eventually, I resort to shaking a bucket full of HPGs (again, Hard Plastic Guys) and she cannot resist and comes running. Like a cookie to a puppy, positive reinforcement is often the best solution.
  6. Something she’s getting better at on every outing is resisting the need to greet strangers because, as I have explained to her, not everyone loves being greeted with sticky hands or being licked on the face. On the other hand, I don’t want to squash her friendly spirit and sociability. There’s a fine line between keeping them social and not letting her end up someone else’s little puppy.
  7. A tired three-year-old is a well-behaved three-year-old. Sure, she gets a little cranky. But that doesn’t last long and then she falls asleep, usually in the middle of chewing on something, like a “binky” (pacifier) or, as I’ve mentioned, an HPG.
  8. She loves to jump on the bed and when you say “off”, she won’t do it.
  9. She loves to play with other puppies but she’s often guilty of having “third dog syndrome,” otherwise known as the peace keeper. She doesn’t like conflict, although that doesn’t apply within the context of her toys (see #3, regarding resource guarding).
  10. Above all else, the biggest similarity I’ve found between her and a puppy is her undying love, devotion, and loyalty. She truly lives in the moment, doesn’t care about the future, and doesn’t look back. I wish that would last forever.

Reading with Rover Segment / Feature

This is from last night’s airing of Evening Magazine! Tell us what you think!

February 24, 2011 - 4:25 PM

Susan S. - We watched Evening Magazine last night and really enjoyed the piece. We love the Reading with Rover program and loved seeing Becky, Annemarie and the dogs in action. We also noticed, Heather, Nate and True as well. It’s so sweet to see the kids and dogs so relaxed and enjoying each other’s company. Even though we’ve moved on to the Jr. High, we consider ourselves a Woodmoor family and loved seeing the students, dogs and handlers in action. It’s a very special program and I’m so glad Woodmoor is lucky enough to have the Reading with Rover team. You all did a great job!

Feature / Wooley

Our foster dog, “Wooley Bully”, needs a home!

“Wooley” came to us from a good family but sadly, like many dogs, her “Dog Ma” just didn’t have the time with her busy career to give “Wooley” the time she needed for training and exercise. Wooley came to us at 82 pounds and is now an athletic 60 pound Doodle! She is available for adoption to any family that has kids older than 14. She’s great with people and if anything, she’s the dog who “loves too much”, so we worry in a home with young children, she may accidently barrel them over. She is four years old and since living here at the ranch, has received tons of obedience training. She’s now ready to make the transition to her forever home. She loves to fetch, hike, and is a good watch dog too. She would be best as a single dog. On occasion, she will play with other dogs but it’s people she is mostly drawn too. She would most likely be fine with an older male dog who would let her be queen.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in “Wooley Bully” just email us at info@puppymanners.com. “Wooley” has lived here with us since January and we are just now putting the “woof” out about her. I have personally taken her shopping with me many times and she’s easy to shop with and has great leash manners. And let’s face it… With a grin like you see above, what’s not to love?

September 25, 2011 - 5:46 PM

Veronica - There is absolutely a lot to love. Sounds like a great dog and potential companion. Best of luck and I hope you have already found a home. Cheers.

Tomorrow on King 5's Evening Magazine! / Feature

A couple weeks ago, we were privileged to have Kim Holcomb from King 5 visit us here at the Puppy Manners’ ranch to film a special feature on dog therapy testing. Our friend, Diana, and her mushy-faced Beagle, “Frodo”, volunteered to be our “testers” and did a fantastic job showing the world what a therapy test looks like. Tomorrow night, the feature will air on Evening Magazine at 7PM PST. If you can’t watch it tomorrow, no worries! You can check it out on their Website after this Wednesday. We can’t wait to see how it turned out! Be sure to leave your comments if you watch it tomorrow! We’d love to know your thoughts!

Here are some photos* taken during filming. We’ll start with our “star” of the day.

*Photos taken by Carly Chaney.

T w i t t e r