Gracie is a 9-year-old yellow English Labrador who was a breeder dog in Oregon before becoming a Santa Barbara resident and an ARF! therapy dog. Gracie currently inspires children to become better readers at Hope Elementary School and the Santa Barbara Public Library, and she helps calm Santa Barbara City College students before finals week. She also makes adults and kids happy at the Family Learning Center and Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.
Q: So, Gracie, you used to live in Oregon. What was that like?
A: I stayed in the back yard most of the time, so one day when I was put in a kennel in the back of a camper van with several other dogs for a ride to a place called “California,” I didn’t know what the heck was going on.
Q: That must have been a long ride!
A: It sure was! I couldn’t see outside so it was a little scary. Then I met my new mom, Diana, and I loved her at first sight. She brought a person with her called a “Dog Trainer” and she said I was very mellow and would make a wonderful therapy dog. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but would soon learn it meant bringing smiles to people in need.
Q: What was it like in your new home?
Q: What do you mean, a “normal dog”?
A: Can you believe I didn’t even know what a doorbell was? Oh my gosh! I didn’t even react! Now I know that the doorbell means fun people are coming in to pet me. How cool is that!?
Q: Now that you’ve been in your new home for a few years, what are your favorite things to do?
A: Well, mostly I want to do whatever Diana does. But I also love walkies around the neighborhood, and going to the dog park! It’s so much fun to see all my friends there. Then Diana takes me to all these places where kids read books to me, people give me tummy rubs, and love it when I give them kisses. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I do think I’m a pretty stellar kisser.
Q: How do you keep yourself entertained when Diana isn’t at home?
A: Usually I like to rearrange the furniture. Let me explain: My housemate, Felix the cat, likes to sleep on my dog bed in the kitchen. So, whenever Diana leaves the house, I drag Felix’s little bed all the way down the hallway and plop it next to my big bed so we each have a comfy place to nap. When Diana gets home, can you believe she takes my bed back to the bedroom? But I let her do it, because if it makes her happy, it makes me happy. I love her so much and I love my life as a therapy dog!
Do you have a shy reader in your home? Perhaps they could benefit from our ARF! program. Our spring session takes place every Tuesday afternoon, beginning April 4, at the Santa Barbara Public Library (40 E. Anapamu St.). Hope to see you there!