We Made It!

beg of milford

Hardest thing I've ever done (voluntarily!), and the most rewarding. Here's just a few photos from our adventures on the Milford Track, South Island, New Zealand. Our group had a total of 15 people, only 6 of us from the US, all good and true friends. Here we are on Day 1, after a 2.5 hour bus ride, an hour long boat ride and a short mile hike to the first lodge: Matt, Becket, Jim, me, Kelly and Meg. After the photo we went on a 2 hour hike with a great guide to learn about the flora and fauna. It was fascinating (and our only walk without backpacks, what a joy!) We walked 10 miles the next day, Day 2. They call it the "Easy Day." We called it stunningly beautiful, and not always such easy walking, up and down hills, over some very tricky rocky areas. Day 3: When they call it Read More

Give a Dog your Heart – Children’s Book

japmaplehouse11-24-08

There's a new book out for children that is designed to help them cope with the death of their dog. It's titled "Give a Dog your Heart" and is written by Aubrey Fine, Ed.D., a child psychologist who has been using dogs in AAT as long as anyone. I'm not completely objective, Aubrey and I co-authored a chapter in his new Handbook of Animal Assisted Therapy, and I found him to be kind, compassionate and a joy to work with. Still, if I didn't like the book I wouldn't post a note about it. The book is beautifully written and designed, has break your heart photos of a black lab, and a wonderful section at the back for children to use as an album and a journal. Hard as it is, pets are such a good opportunity to help children learn about how to wend your way through the woods when you are Read More

View from Titirangi, Seminar Notes

titirangi view

About to meet up with some dear friends, and leave for a visit to a Gannet colony, nature center, vineyard and sheep farm, but here's a photo from the Shangri La where Jim and I are staying for a few nights. Ummmmmmm, yes, it really is this gorgeous. Can't wait for the Gannets and the sheep farm, hoping to meet some "Heading Dogs" (a NZ Border collie derivative--do you Kiwis agree with that description?) and Huntaways, an exclusively NZ breed that moves sheep 100% differently than BC's, lots of movement and barking.) Last comments about the seminar: Thanks Karen for bringing me over and being such a great host. And thanks to the participants--what a great group. There were some truly great observers in the audience, we had a truly interesting and fruitful time with the demo dogs, and Read More

New Kiwi Friends

seminar friends NZ

Couldn't resist... here is a flock (should I say mob?) of some of my new Kiwi friends. What a great day we had together! (And thanks Karen for that yummy NZ lamb dinner and for all the good company. Looking forward to tomorrow.... Read More

Wooo Hooo! Made it to NZ

cornwall

Sheep sheep sheep! Hardly surprising, since there are something like 70 million of them in New Zealand, but still fun to see them, even in a city park, like this one in the middle of the city of Auckland, Cornwall Park. Auckland, by the way, is a gorgeous city, surrounded by water with lots of dormant volcanoes creating hills and valleys everywhere. Karen, my host at Learning About Dogs, took Jim and I on a perfect 3 hour walk this morning with two of her good friends (the human kind) and 6 happy dogs.  We walked in a beautiful forest and along a black sand beach (the sand is "recycled" lava). Here's Rupert, Karen's English Pointer, that she rescued a few years ago. All six dogs, a pointer, 2 English Setters, 1 Gordon and 2 Giant Schnauzers, ran themselves silly, and loved Read More