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She Rescued 4 Shelties, Now They Help Others Through Therapy Work

Discussion in 'Rescue Chat' started by ghggp, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

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    Ok, I was surfing the web and came across this beautiful story... I have no idea how old it is but the story and images were so heartwarming I wanted to show it to others who may not have seen it either.

    There’s just something about a Sheltie! That’s why, after adopting her first Sheltie from a couple that was divorcing, Debbie Benningfield of Houston, Texas, has owned a total of six, all rescues.

    She currently own four darlings: Emmalea who is 14, Sophie who is 10, Oliver who is 5 and Celie who is 7.

    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.png 8.jpg
    http://iheartdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/image120-1024x593.jpg
    FROM LEFT: CELIE, OLIVER, SOPHIE AND EMMALEA. IMAGE SOURCE: DEBBIE BENNINGFIELD
    Why rescues?

    “All animals are great, but rescue ones are the best,” Benningfield told iHeartDogs.com. “To see how much unconditional love they give is heartwarming.”


    The “Pawsome Foursome” Bios:

    • Emmalea is 14 yrs old and she has had her since she was 6 months. She is from the Dallas area.
    • Sophie is 10 yrs and she has had her since she was 1.5 yrs old. She is from the Houston Sheltie Rescue Sanctuary.
    • Celie is 7 yrs old and she has had her since she was around 10 months old. She is from a Kansas City, KS Sheltie rescue group.
    • Oliver is 5 yrs old and she has had him for 4 months. He is from the Houston Sheltie Rescue Sanctuary.
    Emmalea, Sophie and Oliver are certified as pet therapy dogs and make lots of people happy during their visits to hospitals, hospice and children’s facilities. Celie is not certified because of a medical condition, but she brings joy to Benningfield on a daily basis!

    http://iheartdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/image510-938x1024.jpg

    THERAPY VISIT. IMAGE SOURCE: DEBBIE BENNINGFIELD



    http://iheartdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/image910-780x1024.jpg
    IMAGE SOURCE: DEBBIE BENNINGFIELD
    It all came about during a fateful conversation with a blind woman at an airport, Benningfield knew she wanted to do something to help others.

    “She taught me the importance of looking for ways to give back,” she said. “I always wanted to do pet therapy work and so I looked into groups and decided on a group called Faithful Paws, which is part of the caring ministry program at a local church in the Houston area.”

    http://iheartdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/image8-1-e1451589483173-1024x768.jpg
    IMAGE SOURCE: DEBBIE BENNINGFIELD



    http://iheartdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/image1010-768x1024.jpg
    OLIVER VISITING A PATIENT. IMAGE SOURCE: DEBBIE BENNINGFIELD
    Firsthand Knowledge Of The Healing Power Of A Dog
    Benningield herself knows firsthand how much the healing power of a dog can do for a person’s soul:

    “I underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor earlier in the year at one of the hospitals that I do visits at, and while a patient, I had therapy animals from the Faithful Paws group come visit me. It was the best medicine I could receive. I truly understand firsthand how special therapy animals are!”

    After her successful surgery, she makes it a point to retun to the neurological floor and the ICU to visit patients, families and the medical teams that took such good care of her.


    “I know firsthand how they can distract you from your own pain and bring such joy and happiness,” she added. “I knew the sick would love my dogs, but what really surprised me is how the medical staff need and enjoy the visits. It is such a blessing to see how much joy they bring to people.”

    http://iheartdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/image7-1-1024x940.jpg
    VISITING THE STAFF IS IMPORTANT TOO. IMAGE SOURCE: DEBBIE BENNINGFIELD


    http://iheartdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/image110-1024x576.png
    SOPHIE AT A THERAPY VISIT TO A LOCAL AIRPORT. IMAGE SOURCE: DEBBIE BENNINGFIELD
    One of her most memorable trips is a recent one, which still brings tears to her eyes when she thinks about it. She was visiting at a hospital when she was asked by the medical team and a patient’s family for her shelties to be present when he was taken off Life Support. In her words:


    “This family had told me the last picture they had of their dad conscious was when I had visited the week before and [the Shelties[ were in bed with him. They knew the temperament of the Shelties and how it made their dad so happy to have such special visitors. I agreed to be present and met the family in ICU. I placed Emmalea and Sophie in bed with the unconscious man. Emmalea snuggled up to the man and began patting his arm as if to say ‘everything was okay’ (she does this from time to time when she feels someone is under duress). Sophie, my kisser, went right up to him and began kissing him on his cheeks. We all laughed at this sweet exchange. When the man passed, Sophie’s countenance changed and she became very sad. She crawled over to his side and just laid over his arm. There was not a dry eye in the room.”

    http://iheartdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/image2-1-884x1024.jpg
    SOPHIE SNUGGLING HIS ARM. IMAGE SOURCE: DEBBIE BENNINGFIELD
    Benningfield and her shelties are able to give people a priceless gift: love, support, and even a little laughter at the darkest moments. She gets something out of it to, “I always come away from a visit so blessed,” she said.

    If you are interested in becoming a therapy dog team, look up local groups in your area or visit PetPartners.org to learn more. https://petpartners.org/
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  2. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Premium Member

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    Brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful story to share, Gloria, thank you. We are considering Eli for therapy work down the road a bit.
    SHELTIES ARE THE BEST!!!
     
  3. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

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