Pat Wheeler has had three dogs that have worked as therapy dogs. She obtained Lawrence from a breeder in July 2001. Albert came in to their lives in August 2002, and Maddie joined them in July 2013. Both Lawrence and Albert have passed away from cancer, but did incredible jobs as therapy dogs and affected so many people’s lives. Both received Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition from Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA) and Certificates of Appreciation from Livermore (CA) Vice Mayor John Marchand.
Maddie is carrying on their work, though it is a tough job to follow in their paw steps. Fortunately she has big paws and seems to be made for the job. All four dogs have been registered with Therapy Dogs Inc. (now Alliance of Therapy Dogs), headquartered in Cheyenne, WY.
Lawrence, the Livermore Lab, a Black Labrador Retriever, was born on July 20, 2001, in Palo Alto. When visiting the breeder, Pat could not decide which of the eight adorable Black Lab puppies to pick. She asked the breeder to pick one that would be a good therapy dog and he suggested Lawrence. What a great choice!
Albert was found wandering on the streets of Livermore one evening in August 2002. Pat Wheeler had been out doing some errands and was heading home when she saw him in the street about half a mile from her house. At first, she thought it was her Black Lab, Lawrence, and was wondering how on earth he got out of the house. She pulled over and opened the back of her car. Albert dashed over, jumped in, and started licking Pat’s face.
Maddie joined Pat’s household with Lawrence and Albert in July 2013. She was born on September 20, 2012, on a ranch outside of Livermore where a breeder raises Black Labs and has a horse livery. Pat obtained Maddie in July 2013. She became registered as a therapy dog with Therapy Dogs Inc. in October 2013 and immediately started picking up some of the work assignments that Albert and Lawrence were finding too tiring, given that they both had cancer and were 12 plus years old.
On my way to lunch with former work colleagues, I checked the website and then stopped at Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (www.arf.net). The photo of one dog on the ARF website pulled at my heartstrings. I adopted Wylie that day, October 9, 2014. Her adoption fee was paid by Maddie’s Fund (not my Maddie, but Dave Duffield’s, who set up Maddie’s Fund in memory of his Schnauzer; see www.maddiesfund.org).