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.

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.

The Amazing Tubbs

by Charlene Morton

I met Tubbs and his mom a while back through Bark for Life, and I fell in love. I found out pretty soon thereafter that Tubbs is extra special -- he's fighting canine cancer. 

Tubbs was getting a bath on Thanksgiving 2013 when his mom noticed one of his front wrists was a little larger than the other. She took him to the vet the next morning and was told that it was most likely Osteosarcoma, which the test confirmed. Tubbs and his family were referred to an Oncologist's office, and amputation was recommended; but, they just couldn't bring themselves to amputate the leg. They visited the University of Florida at Gainesville where a limb spare was performed, which included radiation and plating the leg. He came home and was doing well but just couldn't leave that particular leg alone. Tubbs did several rounds of chemo every three weeks for a period of time, but after a few months, the leg tissue began dying as a result of the radiation. The family decided in favor of amputation during June 2014.

Tubbs has done very well with three legs and is back to his normal life, including Safari Pet Resort's doggy day camp which he loves very much. In April 2015, a spot was discovered on Tubbs' lungs as a result of the cancer metastasizing. He is now receiving chemo treatments again in an attempt to prevent the new spot from increasing in size. The thing I love most about Tubbs is this: "He doesn't realize there is anything wrong with him, and we pray it stays this way. Our main goal through all of this was for Tubbs to get back to a normal life and to be happy. We feel we accomplished this goal." I believe you did, too, Mom. You can see Tubbs' full session here