Sunday, February 20, 2011

What is Animal-Assisted Therapy?

Animal-Assisted Therapy is a partnership between health care professionals, certified therapists and volunteers, using their trained pets as treatment modality.

Therapy dogs are animals that had been specifically evaluated and registered with one of the national organizations that operate in this capacity.

Good therapy animals need to like people, be controllable, trained, well mannered, and the most, have a stable personality.

Their ability to calmly accept unusual circumstances is what takes to be a good therapy animal. They are exposed to a wide variety of uncommon sights, sounds, smells, touches and situations.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Happy Tails Book

Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Dogs

This wonderful book is Happy Tails Books' first compilation of stories about all dogs - purebred and mixed-breed of all types!

Excerpt: “Wrinkles was found in a large pineapple field on the west side of Maui when he was a couple weeks old. We adopted him, and Wrinkles fit right in with our routine. One day we were watching a friend work on my broken-down car, and when we finally looked up, Wrinkles was missing. At first we didn’t believe that our dog had run away, but after searching for him everywhere around our home, we knew he was gone. We drove my husband's truck around the neighborhood looking for Wrinkles until exhaustion finally forced us to retire for the night. The next day, I was up with the sun. While readying myself to start searching again, I heard a noise outside. I walked through our back yard and noticed something moving inside my broken car. When I opened the back door, I found…” (You’ll have to read the book to find out!) -Celia Lumsden

(Pre-Sale! Books ordered today will ship mid-November.)

144 Pages I Preview Book (Coming Soon!) I Meet the Authors and Their Dogs (Coming Soon!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An all-natural pain cure

Article featured on March 2010 edition of Shape magazine.
"The next time you're wiped out with a migraine or back pain, find a furry friend. According to a study from Loyola Health Systems in Chicago, surgery patients who received weekly pet therapy - visits from obedience-trained dogs-required 50 percent less pain medication than those who didn't. 
Playing with an animal provides a distraction, says researcher Julia Havey, R.N., who notes that cats provide a similar benefit.
It can also ease stress, which helps boost immunity. If you have an illness - or you'd like to volunteer with your pet - ask your hospital about a pet therapy program. Live in a pet-free building?
Consider an aquarium: Research shows that fish also have a calming effect."

Learn more about pet therapy at

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Through the eyes of a volunteer

Do we ever have enough time? It seems as we always end up not finding the time to do the things we wish we had time for..One thing is certain, we all have the same amount and it's up to us to decide what to do with it.
Volunteering and reaching out to help others somehow end up in the bottom of our Wish List. We wonder, where to we have what it takes? How can I find time to do it?
From my experience as a volunteer, once you start giving one hour of your busy week to care for others, you'll find out that it is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself. Suddenly, our own problems look less complicated than we think. We remind ourselves more often, how fortunate we are to have good health .
Every visit is different and we are always surprised by new experiences. Last month we visited a facility in Kahului, an adult care center.It was raining that morning, we were not sure if our animals would get wet, but we went anyway.We had a joyful morning and once again, were so proud of our animals, for doing such a great job , being so easy on the touch..
On the next visit , as we entered the long-term care facility, there was a feeling of uneasy distress. Not the normal welcome, it was one of those days...The nurses were running back and forth between the patient's rooms and taking turns wheeling one of them, who was having a bad day and had to be moved around.The other residents were also affected by it. Our visit lasted one hour and, it was at the end of it that we had a chance to see this particular patient, who was very disturbed.
She didn't need to pet an animal, just to spend a couple of minutes with our Director, who prayed with her and calmed her down. As our visit ended, we had a feeling that those last minutes was the reason we were there..
For the most part, are our therapy animals who do the magic! It is to them the patients respond consistently in a positive way. We watch how patients who deal with pain on regular basis, seem to forget everything else and enjoy the moment with the animals.
June 08 - Camp Imua ( summer camp for kids with special needs)started with a field trip to Piiholo Ranch - zipline ride and pet therapy.We gathered most of our animals, dogs, ducks, roosters, rabbits, and guinea pigs and spent the day there.We had tents, comforters and chairs ready or the campers. They arrived in groups and we were busy all day handling therapy animals to the kids.It was an amazing experience. Count on me for next year!

My Healing Story

Since I remember, I loved animals and I believe that all of them have a higher purpose than be our pets, transportation and food..animals are healers.
Later in life, I developed chronic anxiety. I was embarassed for being unable to explain or control an anxiety attack whenever it happened.
I thought I would just have to live with it, until I met Dr. Shannon Domingues and started volunteering with the Haku Baldwin Center's Pet Therapy Program.
Previously, I had known that being around animals was very soothing and healing, but I didn't realized that interacting with them, by helping other people on their healing process, was all I needed to get completely healed from my anxiety attacks.
I have been volunteering for two years and never had an anxiety attack episode since.
BIG MAHALO (Thanks) to Dr. Shannon and Alexis for welcoming me to the program, sharing all their knowledge and to all the pets, for touching everybody's lives around them, making miracles happen everyday.
By Celia Lumsden

Monday, June 22, 2009

Great discoveries and great teachers.

I believe we are living in a generation that is finding the answers to the most important existential questions we all have. My latest discovery is "Andy Andrews: The Seven Decisions" (Netflix) - It's excellent, I recommend it.

He says: "Successful people make decisions quickly, and change their mind slowly. Unsuccessful people make decisions slowly and change their minds quickly."

His seventh Decision is: "- When we persist without EXCEPTION, miracles happen."

Are we finally getting the message?
Every time we do something,
or don't, it matters..

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Today we celebrate Father's Day!.. and Nature celebrates the first day of Summer.

Photos -National Geographic (Best pictures of 2008)