You Don’t Need a Trained Dog for Pet Therapy: PART THREE


Read Part One here and Part Two here.

Just because Vino Blanco is a star doesn’t mean there isn’t room in Yves’ heart for a more traditional pet. Recently, his beloved old yellow lab Sheeba passed on and was sorely missed. It was with great happiness, then, that a new dog found her way into Yves’ heart and the hearts of the Yves’ family: a middle-aged rescue yellow lab who gets around on three legs better than many dogs do on four. Named Kima, Yves says she was “send to me by Sheeba.” In spite of her three legs, Kima can outrun Yves’ other three dogs when the pack takes off after an unwary cat. To see the new dog follow Yves’ every step, her eyes glued on him every minute with star-struck adoration, one would think they had been pals for years when really it is only a matter of days. It is fair to say that this newest addition to the Yves’ family is another example of the way an animal can bring joy and a kind of healing “therapy” to everyone who meets her.

The world did not universally rejoice at the arrival of the new dog, however. Vino Blanco has many virtues and many admirers, but a love of dogs is not in her nature. In fact, donkeys have been known to protect sheep from wild dogs and coyotes in certain parts of the world. One of Yves’ jobs in training the new dog is to teach her to keep a respectful distance from Vino’s hind legs. Fortunately, they have reached an uneasy peace and may yet become true friends.

Remember back at the old restaurant when Vino sent up a braying frenzy around lunch time until her minions brought her a large platter of fresh vegetables? Some things never change. Only now, Yves boast of a special “taco salad” for his favorite donkey’s lunch. Check the photo carefully and you will see the tacos scattered and waiting for the “salad” to be added. A donkey never tires of delicacies like that.

Restaurants have long hours, but donkeys need their beauty rest, and with all their generosity and love of animals Yves and his wife couldn’t envision Yves’ nestled upstairs in bed with them and the other four dogs at night. Yves’ found the solution a few doors away with a man who owns two horses. Yves’ and the man built a shelter for Vino Blanco and the two horses, so now Vino Blanco is not only comfortable for the night, she is never lonely with her two horse friends.


Stay tuned . . . there is one more part to the story!


You Don’t Need a Therapy Dog to Get Pet Therapy: PART TWO

Pet Therapy 2

Read Part One here.

All things come to an end, and when Yves announced he was closing his restaurant, the consternation among his patrons was not limited to concern that some of their favorite meals might no longer be available. Yves would re-open at another location a little ways from the center of the village.  But what about Vino Blanco?  She was used to having the whole lake as her water trough and the lake foliage to snack on between Yves’ formal “lunch” offerings. It was hard to imagine another spot could offer half as much.

Months went by as the town folk walked past the sad and empty sight of the former Yves’ restaurant while rumors of progress in building another location circulated. A sign went up along the Carretera announcing the new Yves’ Restaurant was coming soon, but Vino Blanco’s fate was still unknown. Not one person doubted for a moment that Yves wasn’t taking the very best care of her, but she must miss her lakeside home and friends.

At last the opening day arrived and the first patrons streamed in. Almost their very first sight was Vino Blanco, munching on grass so lush and green the Master’s golf course would envy it. But what about Vino’s chance to roam? The new place had a sizeable garden, and even a thoughtful umbrella under which she could take a shaded nap after lunch, but in the old spot she could roam hobbled along a sizeable stretch of shore.

Not to worry. Yves quickly informed Vino’s concerned fans that every day he took her for a walk on a rope leash down the Carretera to the lake.   Vino’s horizons were expanding, and so were her followers! In addition to restaurant patrons, Vino was now bringing smiles to the passing motorists and morning walkers who had their own traditional four-footed pets on a leash. Her “therapeutic effect” on the Ajijic community was expanding!


Stay tune . . . this story will be continued.



You Don’t Need a Therapy Dog to Get Pet Therapy


If pet therapy is defined as animals making humans feel better, then it can come from a surprising number of sources, even four-footed creatures who have never received a lick of training or considered themselves helpful.

In a little village near Lake Chapala, Mexico, about an hour’s drive from Guadalajara, lives an unexpected, and unintentional, source of “pet therapy.”   She is a youngish, white donkey named Vino Blanco who spends her days in luxury on the grounds of Yves’ Restaurant. Her mother, another white donkey named Marguerita, now deceased, was a local favorite before her.

For years, Vino Blanco lived literally on the shores of Lake Chapala, right outside the site of Yves’ former restaurant. Every day diners could watch Vino Blanco chomping her way through such foliage as grew along the shoreline, keeping a watchful eye on the various birds, dogs of unknown lineage, and an occasional horse. Nearby a Mexican woman would hang her colorful rugs for sale on a clothesline affording a colorful photo opportunity to tourists, especially if Vino wandered into the shot.

This peaceful scene would be interrupted daily along about human lunchtime by a screechy bellowing of indescribable proportions and unknown decibels.

Pounding hooves raced toward a well-worn spot in the shade. Vino Blanco was ready for lunch!

Hurrying outside with a metal washtub full of carrots, lettuce and other assorted treats would come a white aproned waiter, like a royal page staggering under the weight of a over-full platter of culinary treats for a demanding king. Without so much as a thank you, Vino would dip into the platter, chomping and munching on what was only her due. A few yard away, on the veranda of the restaurant, hungry diners would order a taco salad, and enjoy the view.


Stay tune . . . this story will be continued.

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Readers who are interested in books about dogs, special needs children, therapeutic schools, working with children in therapy, and those who just love a good story can take advantage of free downloads of ALMOST PERFECT this weekend.

If you always wondered what happens in a therapy session with children, you can “listen in” on a couple of sessions with Benny and Dr. Kate. If you wondered whether the movie “Best in Show” gives the whole picture behind the hard-working people who enter their dogs at top shows, you can get another view as Benny and Bess follow their dream to Best in Show at Westminster. If you don’t believe dogs enjoy the thrill of the dog show stage as much as their owners, watch Breaker and McCreery parade themselves around the ring. If you always believed children can do more than they are sometimes given credit for, watch Benny heal himself and his family.

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Happy Labor Day Weekend! Happy reading!