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The Villages
Sunday, May 19, 2024

‘Dynamic Dogs Around the World’ a blast for visiting grandchildren

Catherine and Hobie
Catherine and Hobie

One of the highlights of the visiting grandchildren’s Camp Villages experiences took place Monday morning at the La Hacienda Recreation Center as Susan Feinberg and Trish DeLeo coordinated this summer’s “Dynamic Dogs Around the World.”

Children were given passports and held onto their passenger seats as they traveled around the world by learning about 17 different therapy dogs with origins from various countries.

Representing the first country, Australia, were hybrids Murray, a Goldendoodle, and Hobie, a Labradoodle. Murray and Hobie make perfect therapy dogs for those who prefer dogs that do not shed, because both are hypoallergenic. Moreover, their obedience and loyalty also make them great therapy dogs.

Nine-year-old Maggie, a Chocolate Labrador Retriever, represented Canada since her roots originated from Newfoundland, Canada. Transitioning to the next country, China, handler Dotty Crain introduced her tiny and fluffy Pekingese, Lollie, as an “imperial dog.” Lollie makes a wonderful lap dog; after all, she does inherit her regal ancestors’ trait of sitting.

Christian and Maximus
Christian and Maximus

It was not only a special day for the kids, but also for Dakota, a poultry herding Havanese, who was celebrating her seventh birthday. Dakota’s breed is the only breed to come from Cuba, the country that she represented, and her fur, which is actually hair, is hypoallergenic as well.

Three dogs hailed from England and were all dolled up to look like British royalty, which entertained the kids. Maximus, an English bulldog, is described to be “very loyal” by his handler Susan Feinberg and comes from a line of champions.

The two other dogs, Bentley and Ellie, are both King Charles Cavalier Spaniels and wore crowns to prove their royalty. Handler Darlene Bandoly said that Ellie actually came over from London and was the Dynamic Dog Club’s first registered therapy dog.

Nathan and Connie Lumpkin with Blue Moon Sara
Nathan and Connie Lumpkin with Blue Moon Sara

Unlike the other dogs, Ellie relies on hand signals to perform tricks and commands because she has been deaf since she was 3 years old. Another formidable dog that endured a lot of injuries and relies on only one eye was a Black Goldendoodle named Keeley, who proudly represented the United States and was adorned in patriotic accessories.

The children were taught not only facts, but also each dog’s responsibilities as therapy dogs and READ dogs. For example, Riley, a poodle terrier, does not only visit nursing homes, but also colleges and libraries to help students for their exams as a part of being a READ dog. Bogie is a little Maltese with a big heart that helped handler Linda Goldsmith’s husband endure his 8 surgeries, by being his therapy dog throughout each procedure.

“Dynamic Dogs Around the World” continued to feature dogs that represented Egypt, Germany, Malta, Mexico, Scotland, and the last stop, United States. Following the presentation was a vigorous performance from the dogs to show off their special tricks.

For instance, Dave Silva and his Greyhound, Blue Moon Sara, impressed audiences as Silva played the harmonica and Sara sung along with him in ‘woofs.’ Munchkin, a toy poodle and the youngest of the group attempted to pick up flowers and give them to her handler Joanne Myers.

The Dynamic Dog Club
The Dynamic Dog Club

Children were also delighted to see Chloe, a Golden Retriever, fetch an invitation and hand it to Maizie, a Cockapoo, in which Maizie actually bows down to read it!

The program also allowed for children to interact with the dogs for the last 30 minutes. Nancy Wahl of De Allende brought her 8- year-old great niece, Lilly Parrado for her third year at the camp. Lilly enjoyed holding a hula-hoop for Dracula, an energetic Chihuahua, so that he could successfully jump through it.

Harry Lumpkin of the Village of Hadley brought Nathan and Connie Lumpkin to their fifth year of  Camp Villages and expressed that this part of the camp had always been a favorite of theirs.

All dogs were registered Therapy Dogs Inc., which Feinberg says is “a national organization recently renamed Alliance of Therapy Dog.” After an eventful morning with the friendly dogs, all the children left with anticipation for next year’s program.

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