North Star Lodge Cancer Center welcomes a very different kind of volunteer this week. It is Tootie, a Shiba Inu, one of the world’s most ancient dog breeds. Tootie is a registered therapy dog and has recently been approved by the medical staff to bring cheer and comfort to our patients each week. Tootie is now writing a blog aptly named, “The Tootie Tidings.” Join her each week as she shares stories and pictures of her encounters.
You are so beautiful Tootie, what kind of breed are you?
Hello! I am a Shiba Inu, one of the world’s most ancient dog breeds. I am from Japan and am a cousin to the Akita. I am known for my beauty, intelligence and independence. I look like a fox!
Who is your owner and trainer?
I own and train my human, Michelle Hacker. She does exactly what I want for the most part.
What does a therapy dog do?
As I therapy dog, I provide comfort to those in need by putting a smile on their face with my cute face and tail wags. I never crowd a patient or act ridiculous, I am very polite, clean and quiet.
Do you need to have special training?
I do! I am a show dog! I was taught by my human mom, Michelle, to “stack” and stand very still when petted, which is invaluable when I make my rounds at the clinic. It’s important for me to not even move a muscle when tired hands are trying to pet my soft, thick fur.
Why did you decide to become a therapy dog?
As I’ve gotten older, I realized there’s more to life than just prancing around a ring looking swell for the judges. I want to give back to my human friends and make them feel better when they are down. Besides, I really like being the center of attention and there are only so many dog shows….