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By Liz R Kover
Animal Assisted Activities Director Marleys Mutts Dog Rescue 

Up To So GOOD!

It's a Dog's Life


Karen Karr and her pit-lab mix, Abby

Tehachapi, I hope you'll indulge me as I revel in the waves of good news that we at Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue, with help from all of you in our "Mutt Militia", are ushering in these days!

While Zach was recently off in Washington building an animal shelter, "Extreme Makeover" style, the wonder-women of MM (Jackie, Amanda, Erin, Cindy, Kim, Traci and Andrea) were in Las Vegas, networking and taking classes at the Best Friends Animal Society conference. In the meantime, our dog rehabilitation specialist and trainer, Lisa, has begun teaching classes at Cesar Millan's Dog Psychology Center! Our incredible adoption and foster team are adopting out dogs like there's no tomorrow (which indeed there wouldn't be for these dogs, were it not for our staff, volunteers, fosters and supporters). Our Northern CA chapter is off the ground, thanks to Jason and his trusty sidekicks, Bubba and Paloma. Our county-funded spay and neuter project is enabling us to run two low cost clinics a week, at which we are fixing dogs left and right. And the list goes on! Meanwhile, I just finished a Master's session at Bergin U. of Canine Studies, where we delve into all kinds of cutting edge research on canine learning, cognition, communication, evolution, health, and all things service dog related, in pursuit of an M.S. In Canine Life Sciences.

All the while, back in Bakersfield, our Miracle Mutts program is evolving as well. MM's own Julie Meyer, and her dog Mama Sophie, have been working extra hard to reach their goal of the 50 community service hours necessary to claim AKC's official THERAPY DOG status! I am so proud to announce that, as of last Friday, they did it! Along with our other volunteer teams, Julie and Soph visit kids at HEARTS Connection, Beale Library, The Mission, and other groups around Kern County, brining joy and comfort.

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Marley's Mutts has become the first dog rescue ever to be recognized by the American Kennel Club as an official therapy dog certifying agency! While we are not (yet) listed on their website as able to certify dogs outside our "inner circle" -- which includes Miracle Mutt volunteers' personal rescue dogs -- we are able to facilitate our teams' earning the AKC therapy dog title, and that is a big deal!

Not only does this say a lot for us, but also for the AKC. I know people will likely have conflicting opinions about the "marriage" of dog rescue and an organization famous for increasing the popularity of pure breeds and show standards. THAT SAID, the AKC has come a long way, in that they do now accept non-purebred dogs as AKC registrants, and they are accepting us -- a dog rescue with MUTTS right in the title -- under their therapy dog certification umbrella! I for one think that is a major accomplishment on all fronts, and something to celebrate!

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