Welcome to CV’s Dog Blog!
Welcome to our ‘Dog Blog’! We’re so excited to be able to share with you the work our Canine Advocates are doing–at the office, and all around town.
What to Expect: This page will be updated monthly on the last Thursday of the month, so check back to keep up with Gryffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee, and Nelly–they love the attention!
Wait a Minute! What are Canine Advocates? Click Here to Learn More about the Program!
December 18, 2020: Celebrate Winter!
Winter is here! That means snow and cold and more snow! Here is what the Canine advocates like to do in the snow.
Gryffin likes to eat the snow! Yum!
Cooper gets snow in his ear hair.
Jewel-Lee likes to lay in the snow and eat it!
Nelly enjoys running fast in the snow.
What are some of your favorite things to do on a snowy day?
December 3, 2020: Staying Connected
In addition to seeing clients in person for therapy appointments our Canine Advocates are seeing them online too! All of the Canine Advocates are learning how to listen, watch, and interact with clients on the computer.
Similar to how some students are taking classes online and going to school, our Canine Advocates have changed their schedules to continue to see clients during the pandemic. Sometimes in-person and sometimes online.
Gryffin loves working off of his phone!
Here is Cooper at work at the Child Advocacy Center.
Jewel-Lee focused on a client from her computer at home.
Nelly uses her computer from home too.
It is important to wash your hands and wear your mask when you go outside you house. We use special cleaning cloths and disinfectant to clean the dog’s and their gear.
So which do you like better? Going to school online or going in person to school? The Canine Advocates like seeing their friends in person so they can get belly rubs!
October 30, 2020: Trained to Help
We talk a lot about our Canine Advocates and how they have a lot of training. This training creates tasks and behaviors that are used to help people. There are some things that cannot be trained; being calm, gentle and able to find people who need them the most are all abilities (or natural skills) that all of our Canine Advocates already do by themselves.
All of our Canine Teams were able to help a lot of our friends in the community this week. We are proud to be able to help people feel happier, safer, and more relaxed when we are with them.
Is there someone in your life who makes you feel safe? Is it a grown up, your dog or cat, or something else?
September 24, 2020: Canine Parkour
This past month the Canine Advocates have started learning a fun new sport! It is called Canine Parkour. Parkour is a sport where you jump, climb, crawl and run! Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly are learning the beginner skills needed to become super parkour dogs!
In beginner Canine Parkour the dogs have learned how to put their paws on objects (with permission, of course!), crawl under things, go through narrow or small places, and fit into small places. These are all skills that can help them in their jobs. Doing these fun activities also build the dogs’ confidence!
Check out the video below of Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly practicing their beginner parkour skills!
Do you like to play at the playground? Do you climb and explore like the canine advocates do in the video?
August 17, 2020: Birthdays, Asking for Permission and Puzzles!
First a very Happy Birthday to Cooper who turned 4 years old on the 8th of August!
The dogs work very hard on their relationship building skills. These are skills they use to make friends with humans. One of these skills they learn is asking for permission by making eye contact. Since dogs can’t talk all of our Canine Advocates ‘ask’ for permission by making eye contact. They might ‘ask’ to go outside or ‘ask’ to be release to go play with a favorite toy or treat.
They make eye contact and then they are released to a puzzle box where they get to solve the puzzle to get their treats! These puzzle boxes are also used in a training program called “Connection, Cooperation, Control” and it focuses on relationship centered training. It is a great way to connect with the dogs and make training fun! Learn More About ‘Connection, Cooperation, Control’
Each puzzle box is a little different, so the dogs need to figure out how to open each box when they get there.
Teaching dogs eye contact also allows us to take very nice photos of them too!
How do you use your manners to be polite like the dogs? Do you say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’? What are some other ways you can use manners?
July 9, 2020: Back at the Office!
We have been back in the office for 5 weeks now. There are so many things that have changed but they are all changes to make us stay safe!
It is fun to see all of our coworkers and friends again! They do look a little different since they are all wearing masks to keep from spreading germs. We still know it is our friends because they smell the same and we can see that they are the same people.
Here is Gryffin with his friend Meredith from Steel City Canine Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. Gryffin goes every week to see his friends and they help him stay active and healthy!
Just like you have to wash your hands we have to wash our leashes. So, we got new leashes! We are loving our new leashes from Dig-It dog gear! It is a Pittsburgh company that makes leashes that are anti-bacterial and able to be disinfected after anyone touches them. Plus, they are green and match our other gear which is totally cool!
The dogs get wiped down with a microfiber cloth which helps pull off dirt oil and germs that may be on our fur. This helps make sure no germs get spread between people who touch us.
There have been no cases of people getting corona virus from petting dogs. The virus doesn’t live for very long outside of a human. This is why we have been able to go to work. Along with lots of hand washing and hand sanitizer use for our human friends.
Remember you can help stay healthy and safe by washing your hands and using hand sanitizer!
June 4, 2020: Dog Friends!
Canine Advocate’s Friends come in all shapes, sizes, and colors!
Some friends are small.
Some friends are have black fur, or have spots different from ours or they are even all orange!
Some have fluffier fur than us, some have smoother fur.
At the end of the day we are happy to play and love our friends even if they look a little different than us.
May 28, 2020: Friends
Friends stay Friends even if they move away.
Our very good friend Jamie is moving away and going to go help kids in a different city.
Jamie was one of the people who helped start the Canine Advocacy program, she is in charge of the Child Advocacy Center at Children’s Hospital where the Canine Advocate teams work. Jamie drove to Texas with Tammi to pick up Jewel-Lee when she was a puppy. It was 19 hours in the car!
Gryffin and Jamie have been friends the longest! Cooper loves Jamie too and is going to miss her!
In one of the first interviews Jewel-Lee and Kate did with Jamie, Jewel-Lee sat in Jamie’s chair and Jamie had to sit on the floor! Jamie was surprised!
Jewel-Lee is going to miss her friend Jamie’s hugs.
Nelly is going to miss making Jamie laugh.
All of the Canine Advocates were happy to see their friend and gave her a gift! It was a painting of all the dog’s paws that the dogs painted themselves. So when Jamie goes to her new job she can hang the painting in her new office and remember her friends.
We are happy that she is going to help more kids, but we are going to miss seeing her every day at the office. We will still be able to send her emails, texts, video chats and call her though! We can share how we are making new friends at the office, the same way Jamie will be making new friends in her new city. She will still be our friend even though she will be far away! It will just be a different friendship where we can’t give her hugs or get pets!
Have you ever had a friend move to a different city? Did you call them? Email them? It is nice that our friends can still be our friends even if they move away!
May 21, 2020: Summer Time
All of the Canine Advocate teams had a picnic to celebrate the beginning of Summer!
Everyone had their own picnic blankets and the Canine Advocates practiced ignoring the tasty foods! Tammi, Kate and Vanessa made sure they stayed at least 6’ away from each other and wore their masks to stay safe.
What are some of your favorite summertime activities?
May 14, 2020: Training and Playing Day!
Our Canine Advocates came together for a Training and Playing day. Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly were all very happy to see each other and work on their training. Of course they got to run and play together too! All of the Canine Assisted Advocates maintained physical distancing, washed their hands and used hand sanitizer after touching the dogs. It is always a good idea to wash your hands after you pet a dog who doesn’t live with you.
What kinds of games do you like to play outside? Can you guess what the Canine Advocates’ favorite game is? It is playing Chase!
May 7, 2020: Family Time
The dogs are enjoying all of the time they get to spend with their families at home. They miss seeing all of their friends at work too!
Playing, napping and running are just some of the activities the dogs get to do with their dog, cat, and human family members. Our Canine Advocate’s families are made up of all different types, colors and species. While they may not look alike, they still love each other!
Both Cooper and Kestrel like to lay with Gryffin and watch the neighbors walking by the house.
Gryffin is Kestrel’s Uncle and they enjoy playing together.
Jewel, Baker and Quinn playing chase! Jewel is a pretty fast runner!
Do they look happy after running so fast?
Nelly and Keisel went for a hike in the park!
Then Nelly took a nap with her dog-brother Henry.
This is Gryffin’s Cat – Dash. He wanted to share a photo of Dash with you.
Dash is a fast cat. He is named after Dash from The Incredibles!
What are some of the activities you and your family members have been able to do together?
April 30, 2020: Gryffin Reads His Favorite Book!
All of the canine advocates love having their friends read to them. Now it is time for them to read to you!
Gryffin picked one of his favorite books from when he was a young pup. It is called Pierre Penguin Finds a New Home, written by Daryl Eileen Voelzke and Illustrated by Len Juniewicz. Gryffin likes it because it talks about Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Cooper likes the part about the snacks. Jewel-Lee likes the part about napping. Nelly likes the part about the hockey game.
What was your favorite part of the story?
April 23, 2020: Always Learning!
Just like you still have to do school work at home, our Canine Advocates also have to do homework. This week’s home work was to learn a new trick and then make a video to teach others how to do the trick too! Kate and Vanessa helped too!
Check out the videos below to learn how to: Teach your dog to go around an object and Crawl on their belly!
Which way did they go? – Kate and Jewel-Lee teach Going around a chair
Boot Camp Crawl – Vanessa and Nelly teach Crawling on your Belly
What is something new you have learned to do recently?
April 16, 2020: Think Spring!
All of the Canine Advocates got outside to see all the new spring flowers! What colors are the flowers?
It feels good to be outside in the sunshine!
April 11, 2020: Masks!
You may see a lot more people wearing masks when they go outside their houses. Check out the video from Kate and Jewel-Lee below talking about why this is happening.
How many times do you see Vanessa and Nelly in the Photos below? Now can you find Tammi, Gryffin and Cooper?
Great Job! Was it easy or hard to find everyone?
Wearing a mask to stay safe from germs is a good idea!
Here is a link to make your own mask!
Bonus Seek and Find!
Gryffin and Cooper’s Vet Dr. Sara Foreman is also wearing a mask to stay safe! Can you find another photo of Dr. Sara on the Dog Blog?
Hint: You might have to look for the post when Gryffin and Cooper went to see Dr. Sara!
April 3, 2020: Food Time!
Making Feeding Time Fun!
Here is a Video from Kate and Jewel explaining how we make feeding time fun!
Here is Nelly using a Snuffle Mat. It is a bunch of fabric strips with food buried inside.
Cooper also likes to find hidden treats!
Gryffin likes to search for food in the grass too!
What do you do with your family to make dinner time fun?
March 24, 2020: A Message
Here are some video messages from the Canine Advocates for their friends:
March 20, 2020: At Home
A lot of people are staying home for a few weeks so they don’t get sick. If you are worried about getting sick be sure to talk to a grown-up you trust. There are a lot of grown-ups working hard to make sure everyone is safe.
Gryffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly are staying home too! They don’t have to worry about getting sick because they are dogs. While their humans are working hard on paperwork, projects, and trainings our Canine Advocates also have their day filled with activities. All of our dogs are kept on a routine. A routine is a plan you follow everyday so you know what to expect.
Here is a sample of what the dogs do each day:
Wake up – Does Gryffin look awake?!?
Exercise time – Jewel-Lee loves to run in circles! She is making us dizzy!
Eat breakfast – Yum Yum! Cooper wears a hat so his ears don’t fall into his food.
Nap Time – Time to recharge!
Snack Time – A peanut butter snack for Nelly inside her favorite toy.
Training Time – Keeping our brains smart.
Play Time – Always time for playing with our favorite toys!
Dinner Time – Time for Dinner! Jewel says its super tasty!
Bedtime – Time to rest and be ready to do it all again tomorrow!
When the dogs do the same thing every day they know that after exercise time there will be breakfast. This helps the dogs know exactly what to expect for the day. What is your day like? Ask a grown up to help you make a list of your routine you do each day? Do you have more activities on your list than the dogs?
February 28, 2020: Tricks and Tasks
All of our dogs love to do tricks. Did you know that they have to learn special tricks called tasks to help them in their jobs?
Gryfffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly all know how to do fun tricks like give fist-bumps, spin in circles and play peek-a-boo. They get tested every 6 weeks to show they know new tricks.
They also all get tested on their skills to be able to open and shut doors and drawers. Training the dogs to perform these tasks helps the dogs learn to solve problems.
They know how to pick-up things off the floor. This task lets them be helpful when it is time to clean up toys or pick up a pencil that has fallen on the floor.
They also practice getting real small under chairs. This allows the dog to take up very little space while in court or out in public.
There a lot of skills and tasks all of our dogs perform on a daily basis. What are some things you do every day to be helpful like Gryffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly?
January 22, 2020: A Colorful January
All of the dogs like watching kids color pictures. Sometimes they even try to color pictures themselves!
We have made some coloring pages for you to color. You can print them out at home or pick some up to color at the office when you visit.
If you would like to color a picture to give to the dogs you can bring it to your appointment and put it in their box outside their office.
To Print, Click the Dog you’d like to color in, and then hit the printer icon in the top right of the screen.
January 3, 2020: Being Thankful
The holiday season is here an our Canine Advocates are making a list of all the things they are thankful for!
T – Treats! Lots of yummy dog treats!
H – Happy! They are happy they get to go to work each day!
A – Appreciative! This means they are grateful to be able to help people and kids like you.
N – Naughty! They like that sometimes they can do ‘bad’ things like bark and dig holes
K – Kindness! Everyone enjoys when someone is kind to them. Gryffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly love it when people are kind to them.
F – Friends! The Dogs are thankful to have such wonderful friends!
U – Understanding! Gryffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly are grateful they have moms who understand them and take care of them.
L – Love! Gryffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly love all of their friends.
November 18, 2019: Fall and Halloween Fun
Fall is here! Halloween was a fun time. Some of the dogs got dressed up in costumes. We always make sure the dogs are comfortable in their costumes. We also make sure the dogs get lots of dog treats on Halloween. Candy can make dogs sick so we don’t let them eat candy.
Jewel-Lee dressed as Marshall from Paw Patrol and her brother Baker dressed up like Chase! They won a costume contest with their costumes.
Nelly Dressed up as a Unicorn. Her brother Henry dressed up as a dinosaur, her sister Sasha dressed up as a witch and her other brother Keisel dressed up as a Lion.
Gryffin and Cooper didn’t get dressed up but they got to help hand out candy. Here they are playing as they wait for trick or treaters.
October 2, 2019: Work Hard, Play Hard
Gryffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly work hard but they also enjoy their time off of work! They get to play with friends, run and take naps when they get off work! What are some fun things you like to do when you get home from school?
When Gryffin gets home after work he loves to lay in the grass and chomp on his ball in the sun.
Cooper likes to run with his friends and make fun play noises. Some dogs like to bark and grumble when they play. Can you hear Gryffin barking in the background?
Jewel-Lee likes to run around her yard and play with her dog brother Baker. She also enjoys catching Frisbees!
Nelly likes to play with her dog brother Keisel on the trampoline while her other dog brother Henry watches from the sidelines.
August 28, 2019: Training and Dog School
August is here and that means back to school for kids! Did you know that Gryffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly learn all year?! All of the Canine Advocates have to have at least 300 hours of training. That is a lot of hours!
A lot of this training is field trips. A field trip is where you travel to new places to learn. Our field trips take us to stores, restaurants, factories, churches, malls, parks, hospitals, courts, parks and more. We visit all of these places so our dogs can become comfortable being in different places.
Did you know that our Canine Advocates have to take tests? Gryffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly have all passed their Public Service Access Test and Canine Good Citizen Test. Passing these tests means they are always on their best behavior when they are out where dogs don’t usually go. Some of the things on the tests are being able to walk nicely in a store, laying under a table while people are eating, riding in elevators, and ignoring tasty food everywhere. It is a lot of work to be a good dog, but Gryffin, Cooper, Jewel-Lee and Nelly enjoy doing their jobs to help people.
Check in next month to see how our Canine Advocates have fun when they are not at work.
August 20, 2019: It's Nelly's Birthday!
It’s Nelly’s Birthday! The whole crew was super excited for their photo shoot (and the treats for good behavior of course)
July 25, 2019: Meet Nelly!
We would like to introduce our newest Canine Advocate Nelly and her Canine Assisted Advocate Vanessa!
Nelly is a mixed breed dog. This means she has a lot of different types of dogs that make her who she is! Nelly’s DNA says that she is 43% Standard Poodle, 30% Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, 23% Otterhound and 4% Supermutt. She is a happy, loving dog who likes to give you ‘hugs’ by leaning on your legs!
Nelly was donated to the Center for Victims by Canine Service Pals in Coraopolis PA. Canine Service Pals is run by Robert Caponi, Ivy Richey-Fodor and Dan Grachen. They run a program that trains dogs to help children with disabilities. They saw how good Nelly was with kids and wanted her to be able to help as many kids as possible. Which she will now be able to do with her new partner Vanessa. Please check out the great work they do at canineservicepals.org
Robert, Ivy, and Dan had a big party for Nelly when it was time for her to go to her new home. Nelly even got a cake and all of her training friends came to wish her luck! This is where Nelly’s Foster mom Dr. Sue Smith gave her to Vanessa who is now her new mom. It was an exciting day.
Nelly is fitting in nicely with the other Canine Advocates. Here are Cooper, Nelly and Jewel-Lee practicing their skills at the store. Stay tuned next month to see Cooper, Nelly and Jewel-Lee learning and training!
July 3, 2019: Summer Skills
Our dogs travel in the car everyday going to and from work. All of our Canine Advocates travel in a crate to keep them safe. Just like you sit in a booster seat and wear a seat belt. Gryffin likes his crate because it takes him to a fun place – his work!
When Gryffin, Cooper ,and Jewel-Lee get to where they are going they need to use their listening skills. It is important that they listen to Tammi and Kate so they can be safe in the parking lot with moving cars. Cooper is very good at waiting until Tammi says it is okay to get out of the car. Can you think of a time you used your listening skills like Cooper?
If Gryffin, Cooper, and Jewel-Lee go swimming they always make sure an adult is watching them. Kids should also make sure an adult is with them when they swim. Sometimes they swim in creeks and sometimes they swim in pools. Jewel is waiting patiently for her chance to jump in the pool!
May 29, 2019: Summer Safety
Summer time is here! It is time to be outside and enjoy the sunshine. Our Canine Advocates love being outside in the warm sun. Can you find the fan they are using to help them stay cool and a bowl for water in the photo? They also have extra water in case they get thirsty.
It is important to remember your sunglasses when you are outside in bright sunlight. Jewel-Lee wears sunglasses to protect her eyes. Bright sunshine can make it hard to see, but sunglasses can help.
Did you know that dogs sweat through their tongues? That is why dogs have their tongues hanging out of their mouths when they are hot. They pant and it helps to cool them down. Drinking water also helps them cool down. Drinking water can help you cool down too! Dogs will also go to shady areas (out of the sun) to help them cool down such as a chair on the porch or under a table.
May 12, 2019: Mother's Day!
Did you know that our dogs have had foster parents? Even though they are not with their original moms and dads all of the dogs have people who love them and are their family. A mom or dad can be any grown up who cares about you, takes care of you, and loves you.
Jewel-Lee’s first foster mom was Mary in Texas. Mary loved Jewel and taught her lots of good manners.
Jewel-Lee’s second foster mom was Tammi in Pennsylvania. Tammi also loved Jewel and showed her how to be a good dog.
Jewel-Lee’s mom is now Kate. Jewel-Lee lives with Kate and her dog brother Baker and dog sister Quinn. Although Jewel-Lee doesn’t look like her brother she loves him very much. Families don’t have to look alike to love each other.
Cooper had a Foster Dad who taught him lots of tricks when he was little.
And then Cooper met his new brother Gryffin and his new mom Tammi. They both love him very much!
Gryffin was a little puppy when he met is human mom Tammi. Gryffin doesn’t live with his dog-mom anymore, but Tammi loves Gryffin and all of the dogs in their family.
Happy Mother’s Day!
February 27, 2019: Let it Snow!
Let it Snow! February has been a snowy month! Our Canine Advocates Gryffin, Cooper, and Jewel-Lee have enjoyed the snow!
Gryffin likes to play with his ball in the snow. Cooper likes to jump into the snow piles!
Jewel-Lee likes to wear her coat when she goes out into the snow so she can be warm. She also likes to wear her blue boots so her feet stay dry.
Cooper had fun chasing his friend Ben in the snow.
January 30, 2019: Trip to the Vet
Our dogs visit their doctor, a veterinarian, at least once a year. This is Gryffin and Cooper visiting their favorite doctor, Dr. Sarah at Moon Vet Clinic.
They meet the staff at the desk when we sign in, and then we go back to the exam room with Dr. Sarah. At their checkup she gently looks at all parts of their body to make sure it all works.
And sometimes they have to get shots as well to keep us free from germs.
Just like the dogs, most kids should visit their doctor every year and their dentist every 6 months.
Here is a link for parents to check how often there kids need seen:
December 19, 2018: Happy Holidays!
Gryffin, Cooper ,and Jewel-Lee hope everyone has a great holiday! They are hoping to get bones, treats and toys!
November 29, 2018: Bath Time!
November 14, 2018: Behind the Scenes, Fall Edition
Meet our Canine Assisted Advocates Tammi and Kate. Tammi and Kate are the handlers who provide the training and care for our canine advocates. They are also the people who drive them to and from work every day (mostly because dogs can’t drive cars). The dogs live full time with their handlers and are each part of their respective families. Tammi and Kate make sure each of the dogs gets lots of love, exercise and mental stimulation in addition to resting. This helps keep the dogs happy and ready to help others.
The Dogs have really been enjoying the fall season!
October 1, 2018: Weekend Sports
You’ve seen how hard our Canine Advocates work during the week, but did you know they like to have fun on the weekends too? Check out Jewel’s 1st “Fast Cats” 100 yard dash…she’s a natural!
August 29-30, 2018: Heading Back to School!
Kids may be going back to school, but our hardworking Canine Advocates Gryffin, Cooper, and Jewel Lee learn year-round! (don’t worry, they don’t mind one bit )
July 25, 2018: A Jewel Lee Story
Hello, my name is Jewel. I have had a long trip to get here…just wait until you hear my story.
I started out in a shelter, in Texas, along with many others waiting to find a permanent home. I had my own room and sat in the back being a quiet, good girl. Many people walked past with no one ever taking notice of my calm nature.
Lucky for me one of the shelter workers saw my quiet nature and thought I would be a perfect fit for the job (she had been tasked to find a dog to go and work in Pittsburgh). She made all the contacts and arranged for me to go into a foster home until I could get to Pittsburgh (Do you know how long of a drive it is from Boyd Texas to Pittsburgh?)
So I entered my “short” term home. Three humans, three Dobermans (River, Cinder and ) two English Shephards (Shiner and Emily), a German Shepherd (Hilty), a cat (Cheetah), an iguana and two snakes…talk about overwhelming. I had to learn where I would sleep, the rules of the house and how to get along with everyone. It was a little stressful, but I was glad to finally have a home.
Check back Wednesday, August 29th to see more of what the dogs are up to around town!