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Helping Others Pawsitively Everyday

Pawsitively Happenings
March 2022

“Just thinking about a friend makes you want to do a happy dance.” – Snoopy
March Class Schedule
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Founder's Note

Last Saturday, March 26th, I joined the Fido and Friends walk with several of our Therapy Dog teams.  Some were new, some were old, and some just learning about the joy of being a Therapy Dog.  There was laughter, smiles, lots of cuddles, lots of kisses, but more than anything, the joy of making new friends.  As I mingled between the teams, sometimes getting in the back and sometimes leading the group, I could see friendships forming all because of one common link - your dogs.  Our Fido and Friends walks are about bringing our Therapy Dog teams together to connect, tell stories, and most of all, begin or renew friendships
 
Our dogs have a way of bringing smiles to others and creating a community of like-minded individuals who can connect, enjoy, and create friendships for years to come.  It reminds me of the first class I taught almost 10 years ago.  I recall two women bringing their new pups to our Foundation for Obedience class with the goal of their pups becoming Therapy Dogs.  Little did they know their two pups would become best friends and so the women became fast friends too. Often times they would volunteer together with their pups.  Years have passed since then and both of the pups have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Despite their pups passing, they still connect and reminisce about the impact their dogs had by H.elping O.thers P.awsitivley E.veryday (HOPE).
 
Here's to our dogs and the friends they bring to us with four or two legs!

 
As always Pawsitively,
Stephanie Gerken
Michael's Angel Paws Swag is now Available!
Come and get our first Michael's Angel Paws T-shirt!  
Available in Grey or White until March 31st!
$30

 
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"Assistance Dog Team" Spotlight

19 months ago I brought home a sweet baby puppy named Willow who changed my life and the way I view the world.

Before Willow & Michael’s Angel Paws, I was suffering from multiple chronic mental illnesses that I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. For a long time, I felt like there was no way out. And no one really knew just how hard getting through each day was. I had been on dozens of medications, and none seemed to work; at times they actually made things worse. Due to the strong connection, I’ve had with animals my entire life, my doctor and I agreed that a service dog would be the next best option.

When I first started my journey with Willow I wasn’t sure how big of an impact it would have on me. To be honest, the beginning phases of training a service dog presented itself with all kinds of challenges and discomfort that I didn’t think I could overcome. But as her training improved, so did my health.

Willow not only helps me mitigate my disability, but throughout our journey together she has taught me so many things about love, life, and friendship. She makes things fun for me again. Her love is selfless & fierce. She inspires me, and so many other people, everyday, to be better. She taught me how to be an ally for the rest of the disabled community, how to say no to things that make me uncomfortable, and how to stand up for my rights. 

This experience also taught me so many things about disability. Disability is beautiful. It is not a burden, it is a gift; it is an exceptionally important part of someone’s identity.

Willow and Michael’s Angel Paws were a silver lining in my life. They made me find gratitude in my illnesses. They provided me with a life that I never knew was possible. They made it easier for me to do normal everyday things that I couldn’t before. I will carry, cherish, and remember this experience for the rest of my life. It was profound, moving, and incredibly challenging. It was worth every second. Willow & Michael’s Angel Paws are the best things to ever happen to me; from the depths of my heart, thank you. My life will never be the same.

Caleigh and Willow

March Assistance Dog Graduates
Congratulations!
 
Did you know?

You can ask an individual with an assistance dog...
1. Is the dog an assistance/service animal required because of a disability?
2. What work or task has the assistance/dog been trained to perform?

You cannot ask the following of an individual with an assistance/service dog...
1. Request any documentation that the assistance/service is registered, licensed, or certified as an assistance/service animal
2. Require that the assistance/service demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability
Click here for more information at ADA.gov

"Get Involved"
March Spotlight

Hi Everyone!
 
My name is Lolage, pronounced “La La Gee”, a Greek girl’s name that means “to make a sound like a babbling brook”. I am an Olde English Sheepdog, born in Ypsilanti, Michigan in March of 2017. My Mom brought me to Las Vegas with the intention of training me to be a medical alert Service Dog for Mom. Everybody I met was convinced that I had the perfect personality and characteristics for the job. 
 
After two full years of training – wow, that was a lot – I became certified as a Service Dog. I was able to go with Mom everywhere she went; to the grocery store, hairdresser, malls, restaurants, and even to church. So many people approached us and wanted to pet me, but my job was my priority, but as long as I was “working” they respected my role and just let me do my job.
 
I was almost three years old when Mom talked to Stephanie about the possibility of me becoming a Therapy Dog as well. Stephanie said that most dogs do not have the temperament for both certifications, but she thought I could do it. So, I took the classes, passed the Therapy Dog tests, and then the fun really began. 
 
My first goal was to help the Veterans in our community, specifically those in the Veterans Hospital in North Las Vegas. We were able to pass the necessary testing and obtain the required security clearances, and we began to visit the Veterans on a regular basis. We had access to all floors and patients in the hospital. They loved seeing me. They would quietly pet me, hug me, and even talk to me. They might not have realized it, but they were bringing joy to me as well!
 
Once Covid came along, we could no longer go to the hospital. Fortunately, through Michael’s Angel Paws, we were eventually able to go to large convention venues like the MGM Grand and the Mandalay Bay to be of comfort to the many out-of-town visitors. The conventioneers were missing their own dogs or had recently lost a pet, or just needed a canine friend to cuddle with, so we all had a great time. I also went to a high school on the north side to visit with students who were stressed over their upcoming finals. We expected just a few kids on the playground, but all 500 kids came through the doors! It was quite exciting, but I could tell they loved the relaxing break from their studies.
 
Last week I was able to travel to southeast New Mexico with my parents where we attended a large religious gathering in Truth or Consequences. The waiting lines for the event were long, sometimes extending to six hours before the doors opened. Mom and I walked the entire length of the waiting line, stopping to visit virtually everyone who had come to the event. They really appreciated our calming presence and the fact that I just loved all of them. Being a Therapy Dog is pretty neat!
 
As I write this note, it is March 22nd, and it is my fifth birthday. It’s been an awesome journey so far, and I am really looking forward to many more years and many more adventures.  
 
Looking forward to meeting you, too! 
LOLAGE 
Volunteer Opportunities Include
Assistance Dog Program
Puppy Raisers
Date Entry

Therapy Dog Program
Therapy Dog Team Members
Therapy Dog Team Assistant

Community Dog Training Program
Administration 
Social Media
Events

If you would like to "Get Involved" let us know.
Our relationship with our pups is healthy for all!
 
Our pups don’t only make us happier they can make us healthier too! When the bond between you and your pup develops through positive interactions it helps your pup feel better also. Our pups and we need these interactions, training, walking, and most of all playtime, to help our mental and emotional needs. 
 
There are studies that have found that contact with dogs may strengthen our immune system, drops blood pressure, exercise more, and can help with depression.
Returning the favor is equally important to our four-legged friends. Petting and our puppy massages will induce many body-producing chemicals that will help our pups feel better!
 
Helping build a strong bond goes beyond your daily activities such as a walk to the dog park, a grooming session, and feeding. These basic needs help build your bond but they aren’t as impactful as actually sharing the experience together.
 
Playtime!!! And lots of it!!!
Playtime will give your pup your undivided attention. Remember the character of the type of pup you are playing with and reinforce those traits. For instance, retrievers were bred to run and hunt, so they might like playing fetch or hide-and-seek with their toys. Smaller pups like to play hide and seek, some pups love just to be pet and rubbed all over. 
 
Sometimes giving our pups treats will reinforce these play activities. While playing with your pup, if you can provide a special treat randomly during the play your pup will love it! This tactic can also help during not-so-pleasant times like nail clipping or unwanted baths etc…
 
Change course.
Repetitious walks can become boring for you and your dog, so set off without a destination or time limit. Explore new neighborhoods or hiking trails with your pup.
 
Learn a new sport.
Dogs and their owners can try activities such as agility training (obstacle courses) and flyball (relay races with ball retrieval) and even compete. Visit the American Kennel Club and the Northern American Flyball Association for more information.
 
Share the LOVE!
You and your pup can get certified as a therapy team. Join Michael’s Angel Paws Therapy Dog program. This allows you both to volunteer in hospitals, schools, and more. You and your pup will discover joys that are unforgettable. 

"Canine Coach" Spotlight

As Vegas native, we kids could always be found outside riding bikes, in the desert chasing lizards, or playing hide and seek in bare feet. After high school, I lived in Ohio for awhile, but the cold winters weren't for me. I was a "Desert Rat". I came back home where I easily fell into hospitality, but my heart was still with the animals. Even now, I care for reptiles and arachnids and keep several in what I simply call the Spider Room. 

When I decided to build a life I could be passionate about, I reached out to find a mentor. With the help of, my now friend, Janet, I was able to volunteer, observe, and learn the ropes of working with dogs. When the pandemic hit years later, I sought out to become officially certified as a professional dog trainer and fostered lots of rescue dogs. I was so thrilled when I got the invite to interview for Michael's Angel Paws. It's so rewarding to be here. The group classes seem to end with us all being friends, and the private clients become like family. Working with such a great organization helps us all embrace our awesomeness every day!! Thank you for having me. I am honored.


Assistance Dog Program

 

Our Assistance program trains and provides dogs for people with disabilities - sometimes visible and sometimes invisible.

"Get Involved"
&
Therapy Dog Program

Our "Get Involved" provided opportunities through which you can support Michael's Angel Paws, give back to the community, and be an advocate for everything Dogs.


Community Dog Training Program



Our programs offer our very best in dog training to the Las Vegas community. We train Basic Obedience to Advanced Obedience, AKC Certified Canine Good Citizenship (AKC/CGC), and train teams to join our Therapy Dog Program.
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Mission
To inspire timeless and trusted relationships through a common passion for canines, their companions, and helping our communities.
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It just takes a few minutes to choose us through Amazon smiles program or to connect your Smith's shopping card!

COVID-19 Statement

To protect the safety of you, others, and your animals, Michael’s Angel Paws insists that you review the Center for Disease Control & Prevention COVID-19 guidelines and policies from time to time and diligently adhere to them.  More generally, Michael’s Angel Paws encourages our volunteers to be vaccinated, always wear your mask, socially distance, wash your hands and/or use sanitizers frequently.  In addition, many of Michael’s Angel Paws community partners (e.g., hospitals and clinics) may require visitors to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result. We will use our best efforts to keep you informed of those partners’ requirements, but it is ultimately your responsibility to know them and provide appropriate documentation if required and Michael's Angel Paws will not be held liable for any failure to follow these guidelines.

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