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Sunday, June 2, 2013

We are still here!

We have been absent from posting for awhile now. Our family is really looking at priorities and organizing them. This blog is not at the top, sorry! Our goal is to not stress about how often we update this but as with everything else in our life, focus on quality vs quantity.

As Abbey and I both accept our diagnosis' and learn to live with them, we are focusing on turning negatives to positives. We have lived amazing lives and we aren't done yet! We know we our work has touched lives and all those lives are imprinted on our hearts as well.

We are continuing to work in the office with Tara, but I am limited to two hours a week. Abbey goes in two days a week and sees a few clients each day. Our foster siblings go in for some of the other sessions to be socialized in the office and see if they have the right temperament for the work we do and we continue to help train them at home.

We get to do extra things like go run errands and one of our favorites is to take our human brother to and from school. This week I got so much love in 5 minutes of dropping him off to school, that I was tired when we actually got to work--those kids smiles were worth it!

At the office we have launched a Commit to Get Fit initiative and we are part of Tara's goals. We hope each of you take some time to focus on physical and emotional fitness as well as looking at the quality instead of quantity of everything in your life!

Until next time,


Monday, March 11, 2013

Our health

Thankfully we have three foster siblings right now as Abbey and I have had a few rough weeks. This week we are back to ourselves and ready to be back in the office. We are thankful that Kadia, Everheart, and Lo-rida (our foster siblings from  Brooke's Legacy) were able to get some practice with socializing and stand in with a few clients. They are still available for adoption and have been learning a lot from Abbey and I.

Thank you for everyone who has sent emails, texts, and called to check on us. Tara lets us know all the messages!

For those that don't know, Abbey often gets ear infections so when she was itching her ears, Tara assumed it was that until Abbey screamed out in pain. In a very short time (6 days) Abbey had a growth inside of her left ear. They had to put her on 10 days of steroids to get the swelling down because you can't stitch the inside of the ear. Tuesday of last week she had her surgery. Anyone that has followed us long enough knows that Abbey does not do well with anesthesia so Tara avoids it as much as possible. This was not an avoidable situation as it kept growing and they needed to get it out.

We have an amazing vet who worked closely with Tara to make sure the plan was agreeable and the meds would be altered in hopes of getting her through the surgery with success and not too much pain. Well to make a long story short, it worked. Abbey came home that night and just wanted to be by herself. We all know what time the pain medicine wore off as Abbey got really sick and kept crying. Myself and the other dogs just kept watching her as Tara laid with her and tried to get her comfortable. I do not like seeing my sister hurting. It made me very nervous and I kept pacing around the house.

By morning Abbey was doing better. The vet called to check in and talked to Tara about keeping Abbey's ear dry and trying not to clean it. She said they had to go deeper than planned as the growth was in the ear canal and was probably causing Abbey to not hear well. Abbey's ear began to grow more infection (not the growth) later in the week and the vet walked through Tara how to clean it and what to do to try to prevent having to go back to the doctor.

The final update is that she is feeling much better now and has one more week of medicine and then we will also have the biopsy back to know what exactly it was and how it got so big so fast.Thankfully we think this is all behind.

Now for me. As you know, I have an autoimmune disorder that caused me a lot of distress last year. Recently I had my EKG's during some procedures and they found some struggles with my heart so my first appointment with the cardiologist was also last week.

It was a long drive there and Tara says we don't have to go back. I am thankful for that as I did not like it there. Tara told them what a great dog I am and then they put this thing on my mouth so I couldn't move it. I panicked. I was scared. I cried. Tara was mad. They didn't tell her and then when she saw it as they brought  me back in, they told her it was for my safety. I was so upset that water was coming out of my mouth and I couldn't stop panting. My belly  began to hurt really bad and I kept trying to open the door to leave. The room was small and kept feeling smaller and smaller. The good news is that while there is an "electrical issue" with my heart, it is fine structurally and nothing to worry about. The cardiologist thinks it has to do with my autoimmune disorder. I am just glad my regular vet can monitor me and we don't have to go back.

It is not fun to have someone force you to do something you don't want to do and not have any control. It was very scary to have my mouth muzzled. It took me several days to feel better so I took the whole week off last week.

I hope this post makes sense as I wanted to hurry and get it done since we haven't been on here in so long with all this going on. We are going to try really hard to do better!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Don't rescue, help!

Lately, in multiple settings, we have experienced people doing good things but for the wrong reason. We heard Tara experience this again this week and we realized we need to talk about it.

Doing a good deed should not be for recognition. It should be to help someone that needs it. If you do something nice or helpful to a living being for your own benefit then don't do it. Yes we are saying don't do a good deed. It's not a good deed if it is about you.

People don't "rescue" other people in fostering and adopting. There are reasons that humans don't go to shelters or rescues to find their forever families. To often it is assumed the children need to be rescued, but in reality the kids don't know that and the mentality of rescuing diminishes the true value of an adoption.

Volunteering to help in areas of need such as tutoring, mentoring, serving on a board of directors, or any other position to help people in need should be to help those people with needs they have. Quite simply it could be math homework, finding resources, food for their children, or a car ride to an appointment. If you then turn to others and make statements about how you are so great and gave so much of yourself for them, then it is only about you.

While volunteers and giving are always needed, it should not be the quantity of your giving, rather the quality. If a non-profit is asking for donations and you give them a vehicle (just an example) and they don't have the ability to use that vehicle for work, but could sell it for money to make the needs of the agency, yet you are disgusted at the idea of them selling it for what they really need (money), then you did not help them! It would be like giving our foster siblings a diamond necklace. Thanks, but what do they do with it?

When we hear people say "I am just a transporter" or "I was asked just to file papers". That may seem menial to you, but to that non-profit, it is HUGE. Asking the non-profit to provide you with resources to accomplish something is even more disturbing. One example we heard was a group of people who wanted to get together to help a particular non-profit, yet they considered the drive too long so they asked the charity to consider the importance of their "influence" and begged for a bus to be scheduled to take them to the location to help. This put a lot of extra work on the non-profit and really, those volunteers are not in it for the right reason. They need to find their own way to help in areas the non-profit needs, not something they feel they need to do.

Please do the right thing and get out of the mentality of your need to "rescue" others for praise. We could go on and on, or as Tara says "get on a soap box" but we won't. Let's put quality in and go back to the true meaning of volunteerism.

 Off to get another round of playtime in before bed!

Bode and Abbey

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Week Five...If I Could Freeze Time

This week Bode celebrated his 7th Birthday (Friday, February 1). It seems appropriate to see the theme of the photo of the week to be "If I could freeze time".

Aging is a reality. It isn't always fun and it affects dogs differently than humans. We bring lots of joy while we are here on Earth, but we are not here as long as humans. This is often heartbreaking for many. Some new grief books came into the office this week that discuss when a dog dies and the forever bond that remains.

Tara has been taking Bode's birthday harder than he and I have. It sounds like because he is so big, I will more than likely live longer than he does. I guess that is why he can only work one half day a week now.

If we could freeze time, we would go back to this photo of an amazing day that we spent on the beach. It is actually from Valentine's day in 2009. We were all so carefree then!

Since we can't freeze time and it does not stand still, we encourage you to live every minute as if it were your last. Don't have regrets or find yourself saying "tomorrow"; you never know how many tomorrow's you have! You always have today!


Week 4...Find the Light...

We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! What a crazy week we have had! We have never experienced so many unique situations as we did at the office. Tara was busier than we have ever seen her and her pile of work at home as surely grown.

We just kept going and and going all week long and with that came a lot of encouragement and patience with our clients.

Sometimes you have to find the light in dark situations and use that to guide you to know there is hope!

This photo we found on Tara's phone is a reminder of that. Our foster siblings, Holiday Holly and Everheart, were cuddling together so adorably after sneaking onto the bed. It was dark and hard to see, but a little light was able to capture the sweetness of this picture.

They are both still waiting for their forever homes, but we were happy they were here this weekend so they could celebrate Bode's birthday with us! More on the next post with that!

(C) Delta Family Counseling, LLC
We hope this encourages you to find light, even in the darkest situations!
~Abbey and Bode

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Week 3...Dreams...Matching

This week's photo challenge was "Dreams...Matching..."

(c) Delta Family Counseling, LLC
I came home and caught this one day. Tara and I were working all day and these three rested! Our foster siblings don't get to go on the bed too much, so they take advantage when they are invited. What do you think they were dreaming about?

It is actually a great theme for the week as we are working quite a bit with clients on sleep rituals, patterns, and habits this past month. Do you know what helps you sleep better? Is it falling asleep or staying asleep that you struggle with? Some clients think lavender is helpful. Others say relaxing baths. Positive self talk and limiting tv, phone, and computer are tips from others. It is all about creating your own sleep rituals. A friend of Tara's that is a therapist in Central Florida has a book coming out on this soon and we will plug more when we know the details.

I personally fall asleep and wake up with ease, but that has been my norm my whole life. I can fall asleep anywhere...well except in long car rides if I am in the back seat, but that is not relevant here!

Sweet dreams to all of our fans!


Friday, January 18, 2013

It's Natural...

Is it natural or is it coincidence? We are often asked that about the work we do. We are asked this more and more as we bring in our foster siblings to the practice and let them work on their social skills.   With Bode being on part time retirement and Abbey not being able to see all the clients herself, the foster siblings going in to meet clients helps keep a presence in the practice.

Holiday Holly has been doing well in growing her skills and has a natural ability with people. This week, Everheart got his first try at the practice. He was there just to be present and allow new people to meet him, pet him, and be in an unknown, busier environment before going to the adoption event this weekend.

Everheart spent a lot of time being the curious pup he is. He explored all the therapy rooms, greeted the UPS guy, spent time with the counselors and interns, and explored the outside as well. Everheart was nervous at times but did really well. He has the temperament to be a dog in a therapy office or doing therapy work, just needs a little more training.

The biggest moment of realizing the natural ability of Everheart was when a client came in and his gentle demeanor shined. Everheart walked up to this client as the client leaned down and he leaned right into this client. The client smiled and expressed joy at the pup seeking attention. Everheart took his paw and wrapped it gently over the kneeling client's knee to hold her close and closed his eyes as he leaned into the client. The client expressed delight in this. The counselor and Tara both made comments about how Everheart didn't seem to want to let go of the client and didn't think too much of it until later. The counselor shared that this client was actually in crisis during that arrival and the counseling session was quite emotional. Both Tara and the counselor realized Everheart had picked up on this and was working to share.

Some may say that it was a coincidence, however based on the work we do, we know it was not. We have a natural sense and pick up on the energy that you may not realize as a human is occurring. Everheart showed us that he has this instinct and we are excited to see how this can play out in his future. Hoping he finds his forever home soon, but in the meantime, we will be working with him to build his skill set.

Please share Everheart's search for forever love!

~Abbey and Bode


Yesterday it was brought to our attention that our governor does not respect the "forever" part of adoption. It was reported that he adopted a dog during his last campaign and quietly had it disappear from the mansion he lives in. Being from  Southwest Florida, this disgusts us even more. We can only pray that Governor Scott really took him back to the rescue he was saved from and not to a kill shelter, but we have not found those details yet for certain. One report says the dog is at a grooming shop in Naples. Let's hope that is not right and an actual, registered rescue has this dog safe! Here is the story: (

It is not a widely known fact, but Tara is one of the Facebook administrators for Brooke's Legacy Animal Rescue and just last week, Tara posted this to their page (

"Forever, not until. When adopting, if you expect to only "keep" your pet until the next best thing or chapter of your life happens, then adoption is not for you! If you cannot commit to forever and accept there will be transitions and learning curves, then adoption may not be for you. If you can accept that you have to build the trust and forever love, let's talk! Since all of our dogs/cats are saved and placed in foster homes, with each adoption, we don't anticipate a return. Each empty spot in a foster home gets filled as quickly as possible so another save can occur."

We are so thankful that our family knows what forever means. It is not an until I don't feel like dealing with you. Would you do that to your kids? The information in this story reflects that some basic training could have helped this pup adjust to a high stress, high activity lifestyle of being the Governor Scott's dog.  

When dogs, or any animal, are adopted, there is a learning curve for everyone! Even when we have a new foster dog come into our home, there is a transition period where we (dogs and humans) have to learn about each other. This learning includes mannerisms, behaviors, expectations, fears, and what may need worked on. It is not always a pretty, perfect situation, yet can be figured out for everyone to live together.  There are very few reasons to give up on trying and not even bringing in a professional trainer; allergies is one we can think of, yet we know there are many people that will prevent this from being a reason by seeking their own medical attention. 

We are very disappointed to see that this happened and hope more information comes out about this. The rescue world is not happy about this choice by our state leader. There is such a thing as a "Do Not Adopt" list that goes out to show which people may try to adopt that do not respect that it is forever or could/have been harmful to an animal.

We are off to think about Reagan and pray he is comfortable and truly in a rescue or forever family that will love and respect him for who he is!

~~Abbey and Bode

Weekly photo...a little late!

We took the photo but are just now getting around to posting! The theme for last week added the change of week one with week two. "A view from my window...bumpy" and "Imperfection...all lined up". 

(c) Delta Family Counseling, LLC 2013
For those that know, or have gotten to know me (Abbey), from our work, this is BIG! I love to be the boss and in charge and this is MY couch. Everyone calls it "Abbey's couch" and rarely do I share it with Bode, let alone the humans or foster siblings. 

On this particular day, the neighborhood was active and I allowed all of us to hang out together and check out what was going on in the world. There were so many dogs out walking and even some humans walking without dogs; who does that? Kids were outside playing, bike riding, and more! I heard Tara say it was going to be a warm day. We have had a lot of those (well, until this morning). 

You know Bode in the photo and next to him is Holiday Holly. Holly has been our foster sister for a few months. She is still a baby and learning. She won't be one until April (according to Tara). Next to her is Everheart. He joined us last week as a temp foster but he is pretty easy going so I bet he stays until he is adopted. Both of them are kill shelter saves, like Bode and I. They can be adopted through We also have two other BLAR dogs at the practice learning this week as Heather and Rachael (two counselors we work with) are also temp fosters; Sagittarius and Shiloh Sundance. 

So to get back on track...why did I think this fit the weekly theme? At one point in all of our lives, we were considered "imperfect" by someone, somewhere. We were discarded and disregarded. We are now saved and no longer thought of as imperfect. Bode was so little and abandoned; my mom was found right before she had us but because I was not "normal beagle colors", I was not as attractive (although Tara knew she wanted me from the start!)  Holiday Holly has been moved, transferred, adopted and moved again all for reasons out of her control (owner died, allergies of adopter, etc). Everheart was so skinny and scared (he hasn't shared everything with me yet). Imperfect to some, but nothing to even give a thought to for true, forever love.

I shared my couch and you found us all lined up! Bode and I on each side of the foster siblings. I think we fit the theme well, but don't want to focus any longer on imperfection, rather look at what makes us who we are! For example, we all four have great manners (most of the time), we love to be around people and have been successful at the practice (yes, even these two fosters have put in some time at work), we have unique coloring that shows who we are and more. Do you see imperfection or do you see others for who they are? What a lesson this week's photo opp provided! Stay tuned for the next theme from this week soon! A few more blog posts will be coming too as we have lot to share...maybe even one from Everheart as he keeps trying to steal the blog to share his one day of work experience!

Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge...Week 1

Yesterday we posted how we would be joining in the weekly photo challenge, so here is our first week: Evening Ritual!

This is my evening ritual. Trying to be the first one in the family bed. Yes, you read that correctly. The humans seem to think it is theirs, but it belongs to all of us! I say, whoever gets there first gets it! I personally decide to lay across the most comfy part: all the pillows at the top!! Sometimes I move pillows and those cover things fall off, but isn't a pillow a pillow? Welcome to this sneak peak of of one of our evening rituals!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge...

We have convinced Tara to do this and will start tomorrow with the first prompt! Stay tuned to see how this works!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let's have intentions instead of resolutions...

We would like to share with you the newsletter that the practice sent out last night. If you would like to receive the newsletter, please email to subscribe.

Let's have intentions instead of resolutions

Our past creates our present and leads to our future

As we closeout 2012 and look into 2013, we hope you are finding a way to use your past to create your positive intentions for the future. At our practice, we find that looking toward the achievable and making it positive, we are more likely to find success in all that we are searching for. A resolution has a negative sound and does not allow you to do something, rather to rid yourself of something. Reframing our thinking may just be all it takes to successfully accomplish something in our lives.

2012 has been full of growth, smiles, and amazement; sure there has been difficulty, but why do we need to focus on it? We have some collaborations lined up for continued success and growth in the community that we look forward to sharing with you as they come up. We are in the process of getting our painting party that was rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances on the calendar for early this year and announcing our Spring community fundraiser as well.

We look forward to your continued support and growing together in 2013!

Tonight we leave you with the intentions for 2013 of both our human and canine therapists. 

Appreciate the little things. Often times I forget that it's the little things that make a big difference. 

Be fully present in every moment. Too often even when I am having an enjoyable experience, I am thinking ahead to what comes next, or worrying about what chores or obligations I still need to fulfill that day. I am going to work at consciously reminding myself to be present, right here, right now!!

Griffin (AAPT dog in training with Heather):
Learn through play! Now that I am one year old, my intention for 2013 is to work really hard at becoming the very best AAPT dog I can be! I plan to spend more time carefully observing and assessing my clients for what they need from me, and less time trying to eat all the miniatures! Happy New Year! Woof Woof
Liz and Somer (AAPT dog with Liz):
Wag more, bark less! We’re going to enjoy what we have and not worry about what we can’t control.

Simplify:  letting go of the things that make it so difficult to be organized and truly enjoy what is important.  My intentions for 2013 are to downsize, simplify, and prioritize to become more organized.  Embracing the simple joys in life with less stuff!

Shep (AAPT dog to Michelle):
Keep Learning: some say you can't teach old dogs new tricks, well I don't know about that but I know I intend to learn lots of new tricks this year with all my clients.

Self Care and Graduating! Focusing more on self-care so I can better help clients and be more present, involved, and focused on family and friends. 

Make Time for those in my life that I love! Today is the day to share that special project, accomplishment, or just spend time with my friends & family! I am not going to wait for that, "Perfect Moment," instead I am going to make NOW our moment!  

See the silver lining and continue to live a transparent life. It's easy to take each negative that comes my way as a devastation, but I decide to learn and grow from each experience. After all, you are who you are because of all you have been through. When thinking about your future, don't wish for the past to disappear, embrace the lessons you have learned and create the positive intentions you have for the coming months! Live a life you can wear proudly to all you encounter.

Abbey (AAPT dog with Tara):  
Play more! I'm going to play more. With strangers and friends alike, I'm going up the kindness quotient and engage in more play. I have found myself the past few years letting Bode take over in play time with clients, family, friends, the public, and our foster siblings. This year I plan to follow the encouragements we give our clients and play more!

Bode (AAPT dog with Tara):
 Embrace retirement. This year I intend to focus on the positives of retirement instead of the disappointments in not having a say in this. I am going to seize every opportunity for speaking engagements and play time with Abbey and our foster siblings. I am going to take advantage of sleeping on the big bed and couches when no one is home…the foster dogs can’t rat me out!