It's a Dog's Life
As most regular readers of our column know, I am the director of Marley's Mutts' community outreach, education, and therapy dog certification program, also known as "Miracle Mutts". Zach and I started the program just over three years ago, and it has evolved in leaps and bounds ever since. I've been very fortunate to have almost limitless creative license to develop and expand; to innovate in alignment with the program's natural inclination to "face the sun" and grow.
Our program has many different facets. Under the Outreach banner are visits to countless organizations' staff, clients and residents, to simply bring love and smiles to friends who need a little extra. Among the places we visit are The Pointe at Summit Hills and The Village at Seven Oaks, both assisted living facilities; New Advances for People with Disabilities (NAPD), and Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center (CBCC).
The Education component of Miracle Mutts includes classes, assemblies, reading endeavors, addiction recovery, and vocational skills training for children, teens and adults. We work closely with the Mission at Kern County, offering life skills through dog handling courses, as well as a therapeutic canine component to some of their Twelve-Step work. Our Barks & Books programs at Beale and Tehachapi libraries have been a consistent favorite of the children and families who participate, as well as the reading assistance dogs and their handlers.
Most recently, we've rolled out our newest program, the "Mutt Militia Youth Corps", which is an online fundraising campaign for classrooms, or other youth groups, with collective community service goals; and who wish to see their passion for animals realized in a tangible and meaningful way.
Of course, none of these awesome activities or programs would exist were it not for our team of precious therapy dogs, who earn hours toward their certification by doing these varied and wonderful jobs in their neighborhoods and communities. Through their own "education", we watch these dogs grow, heal, and become the best versions of themselves as they provide their loving service to others. Their work fulfills them, and makes them feel proud of themselves. We also couldn't be prouder of them, or more grateful for their involvement.
If you have any questions, ideas, suggestions, or simply would like more information about any of the programs I've mentioned, feel free to email me! Liz.email@example.com.