Four-legged therapyI’m writing this where I write 90 percent of my work—on my bed—therapists at arm’s reach.

My therapists like it because my hand is just inches away from various body parts that may need a good rub.

Yes, my dogs are up here with me.

Right now I have two, a greyhound/wolfhound mix named Caro when she’s good, Duchess Caroline Sophia Divinity when she’s not. She’s 75 pounds of brindle love who wants nothing more than to be where I am, unless my husband is doing something she’d rather be doing.

My special guy however, is a miniature long-haired dachshund named Woody. His registered name is Echo’s King Woodrow, but he’s my Woody and even though he hasn’t had all the training, he’s the best therapy dog I’ve ever had.

He knows when I’m having a bad day and will lie close to me and snuggle down. Otherwise, he’s a cheerful little man whose goal in life is to have someone—anyone will do really—throw his squeaky bone so he can go chase it and bring it back.

No matter how bad I feel, the sound of him busy in the house inventing adventures as he squeaks along will always make me smile.

If he thinks I’m neglecting my bone tossing duties he will put the bone up on the bed by the computer and then sit down and tell me in dog language that I’m a slacker. I’ve found squeaky bones in my purse, in suitcases, anywhere he thinks I might put my hand on it and fling it though the air.

If I put him on the bed, sometimes he throws the bone down to the floor, or I’ll wrap it in a towel and laugh as he tugs and shakes the cloth until he has unwrapped his package.

Other days we play “Bonk,” which begins with me tapping the bone on the top of his head and then playing a noisy tug-of-war punctuated with additional bonks on his head. We both enjoy that one.

If he’s on the bed with me and he thinks I’ve worked hard enough, he pulls this:


Seriously, could you resist that?

I am a big proponent of pet therapy, and I think everyone should have one. It can be anything from a fish to a pot-bellied pig, but the bond they make with you can make the worst day light years better.

I’ve had my own dog since I was 11 and have always had one or two. Breed doesn’t matter, that’s a matter of taste, but I like my dogs small and furry, like Woody.

I got Woody from one of my best friends who occasionally bred her dog. Woody was the last puppy of his litter 10 years ago. I had been over once or twice to play with the puppies (I mean really, who can resist puppy breath?) when my 11-year-old honorary niece sat in my lap and begged me to take this puppy. She knew I’d recently lost my beloved Sheltie Echo and thought that final puppy would be perfect for me. She also knew if I took him I’d bring him back for visits and she could still play with him.

It was a match made in heaven. His mother was Dolly, his father was Elvis, so he was named Woody, after Woody Guthrie.

She was right. He was a perfect fit and the perfect dog for me. He understands my moods better than I do and is always close by with plenty of licks and love when I’m down or in pain and he knows exactly when to be totally goofy when I need a laugh.

If I could, I’d take him everywhere with me, but these days, unless he was certified, he wouldn’t be welcome most places.

Right now, he’s sleeping on his back right in front of this computer on my bed, so I can glance over the top of the screen and see a peacefully sleeping dachshund.

I guess that means right now I’m doing okay.