Happy Tail: Dog bulldozes into therapy dog work

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Seven years ago, a move to Washington State from Michigan loomed in Amy VandenBurg’s future. The prospect would have been more appealing had it not been that, once there, her soon-to-be husband would be leaving her alone while he trained to be a police officer. She didn’t know anyone in Washington, and the expectation of lonely days and nights subdued her anticipation.

“We decided we would get a dog to keep me company and be my protector in the time he was away,” Amy says.

Dozer

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So before making the move, they logged onto Petfinder, where they saw a pup listed by Adopt-A-Pet in Fenton, MI, that particularly appealed to them. They made arrangements to meet him.

They weren’t disappointed. Dusty, as he was called, was a tiny dynamo, who bowled his siblings over like a bulldozer in his eagerness to get to his food bowl. He was just what they wanted. But this little guy wasn’t going to be left in the dust by anyone, so when they adopted him, they changed his name to Dozer.

Today Dozer continues to be a great companion for the VandenBurgs, who live in Everett, WA, but he also is a working dog — a registered Delta Society Pet Partner. The Pet Partners program trains volunteers and their pets to take part in therapy programs, and several times a month, Dozer and Amy visit patients, families and staff at a local hospital.

“He’s never happier than when he’s with people,” Amy says, “and seems to really understand the joy he brings to those he visits.”

Dozer has pushed his way into many hearts.

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