Lola's a Therapy Dog!

by Charlene Morton

Last fall, our local dog training facility (GymDog) offered a 7-week class to prepare for an evaluation by Therapy Dogs International. Steven and I have always felt that Lola would be a prime candidate for a therapy dog - she’s a very calm dog who loves attention and will basically let you do anything without balking. We finished all classes, with the exception of one. (Lola had a nasty bout of pancreatitis, and I’ll blog about that in the near future.) Out of five dogs undergoing the assessment, only three were chosen. Lola was one of them, and we couldn’t be more proud!


Having Lola certified as a therapy dog was more involved and more difficult than I thought it would be. The tasks she was required to perform and the self control she was asked to exhibit was, I’m ashamed to say, above and beyond what this dog mom believed her baby could do. Since her certification, we have visited a local assisted living facility, and she was a rockstar! The residents loved her, and she loved them right back. I’ve had some health issues recently, but Lola and I are ready to get back to it! In fact, I’m completing volunteer training for our local hospital system in the next week or two. Afterward, we’ll be back in the circuit!

To learn more about having your dog certified through Therapy Dogs International, reach out to me or check out TDI’s website.

Happy Birthday to You...and You...and YOU!

by Charlene Morton

Hey, all - long time, no see! Sorry I’ve been MIA, but I’m back and better than ever! In this blog post, I’d like to share some images with you from the birthday party for all dogs of the Johnson City Dog Park last Saturday. There were treats and prizes for canine and human alike, and my guess is probably close to 40+ dogs in attendance. What a great turnout! You can see all the fun images here.

By the way, if you’re local to Johnson City, Tennessee, and your dogs haven’t visited the dog park at Willow Springs, let me encourage you to do so. This is undoubtedly one of the nicest dog parks in the region - two acres of grassy slopes with special pools and water fountains for your dog, as well as covered seating for you! Membership is reasonably priced, and it includes key card access and a special tag to show the world your pooch knows the best place to party in Johnson City. ;) There is also a separate area for smaller and calmer dogs.

For more info, check out their Facebook page here or just search for “Johnson City TN Dog Park” in the Facebook app.


New Blogger - Meet my husband, Steven!

by Charlene Morton

In a few weeks, I’ll be attending the 20th annual Morton family reunion. A big part of this will be looking at photos of times past, of people still here and those lost. Photographs capture the moments in our lives that we don’t want to forget and are a gateway for our memories to take us back to loved ones past and present. I’ll see photos of my Dad’s boisterous laugh or my Mom’s thoughtful smile, and for a moment in time, they’ll be back here with me. I’ll see a picture of myself as a third grader at Smyrna Elementary and remember the walk to the library every week to read a new adventure of Babar or an Encyclopedia Brown story I hadn’t read yet.

I’ll see a picture of myself in a multi-colored jacket (that I can’t believe I ever actually wore) as a second grader, taking me back to the old Buchanan Elementary where you had to walk through the rain to get to the cafeteria. I’ll see pictures that take me back to the time my brother, Allen, and I snuck our two-year-old sister onto the school bus and darn near gave our stepmom a heart attack. 

Right now, sitting at this computer, I see my gorgeous wife on our wedding day and go back to when I first saw her in her wedding dress with her Daddy holding her hand, coming to join her life, heart and soul to mine. These tears are real. What is also real is how much better the pictures look from our wedding than the pictures will look at the reunion. Class pictures were an assembly line process where we lined up, fake smiled, and moved onto the next one. While they capture the point in time, they don’t capture a crooked smile, a laugh of joy, or the other delights of life that are the difference between pictures and art. They don’t capture landscapes and fall colors with those emotions.

This is what Charlene is so wonderful at doing for Peace Love Paws Photography. She captures the spirit of the moment as well as the image. We don’t have to have our school pictures limited to an assembly line photo taking but can be an all-encompassing session that captures your child in that moment and time. From weddings to senior pictures to special moments like “Sweet Sixteen” parties, a professional photographer is a great investment in those memories. Thank you very much for reading my rambling today.


PS – I’ll be blogging here from time to time.

Easy as 1-2-3

by Charlene Morton

Our Sydney has a very sensitive stomach, and that has caused problems with particular types of dog food and treats. We've tried prescription foods, all natural foods, and the list goes on. BUT, there's one thing we can rely on -- these 3-ingredient TREATS (tell me spelled that in your head, haha) made in our very own kitchen!

I'd always heard that pumpkin is helpful for dogs' digestion systems, and honestly -- our Lola would sell me for some peanut butter! ;) Needless to say, the following recipe was well-received in our home.

While your oven is pre-heating to 350 degrees, combine 1/2 cup peanut butter (natural, preferably) and 1 cup pureed pure pumpkin. Now, you have two options. Gradually add 1/4 cup of whole grain brown rice flour (preventing any reactions to gluten) at a time until you either have a batter consistency for mini muffins or a dough-like consistency for cookies. We got these mini muffin pans (paw print and bone shaped) on Amazon.

For mini muffin thickness, we found 20-23 minutes was best, but for flat cookies, bake them for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool and then store in an airtight container. You can also freeze the batter for up to three months. Enjoy!

P.S. - Thanks to Kevin and Amanda for the idea!