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Lisa Laird and Stanley:
I am a ventriloquist/children’s entertainer with a background in Elementary and preschool education, and I love entertaining children and families. But as I have gotten older I have had issues with arthritis which made me realize that I needed to have a plan for easing into “retirement”. Two ventriloquist friends of mine also do therapy work with their dogs and the “seed” was planted as I watched their posts about therapy work. However it was not until after we lost the last of my husband’s three big hunting dogs that I began to think about the possibility of doing therapy work myself. I started looking for just the “right dog” to work with, not know exactly which dog that would be. I wanted a small dog because I wanted to be able to use the dog in my shows as well as in therapy work. Then I found Stanley! He was the last one of his litter and was already 4 months old but still had no home. He is a Cairn Terrier/Bichon mix which means he does not shed and is hypoallergenic and is also very smart (although a little stubborn at times). He came home to live with us right after Christmas in 2017 and I immediately put him to work because my mother-in-law was in her last days at the nursing home. He came with me when we visited. My mother-in-law was not really a dog person, but Stanley always made her smile. Stanley loved visiting the other residents after we spend time in her room. I knew he would be a good therapy dog! We did puppy obedience classes and trick training but he got a lot of “on the job training” at the library where I worked as well. We became certified with Paws for Friendship in June of 2018 and Stanley has become a regular at several schools, libraries and nursing homes. He has joined the cast of my entertainment company as well and travels with me when I do shows in libraries and schools. We are able to perform a show and do Paws for Reading visits as well. What a blessing! Stanley has been the subject of several newspaper and magazine articles and he has his own Facebook page! He has “written” several books chronicling his life and work as a therapy dog as well as those which are used during our shows at libraries and schools. They can be found on Amazon!
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