I was inspired to work with animal assisted therapy in 2004, when I adopted a 3 year old great dane I named Eudora and started training with Lee. She’s our mascot and our logo is based on her likeness. Eudora passed away suddenly on January 5, 2010 and I am so comforted to know her spirit lives on through the amazing work you all do. Many thanks!!!!
Victoria Ott Keith
Waldo was bigger than life, a gentle giant and the definition of unconditional love. His time with divine canines was short, but powerful. Waldo’s work with students learning to read at Rawson Saunders School, the Westbank Community Libraries, together with the time he spent visiting patients at St. Davids Rehab Hospital is a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten. His sweet presence will remain in our hearts forever.
Lucy is dearly missed by her family and friends. She was a gorgeous boykin spaniel rescue! She visited the Elgin area Golden Years Home on a regular basis for several months before her untimely passing. She made special bonds with residents there. One resident still has her picture in his room. We miss you crazy, happy, fun, snuggly Lucy!
Marsha Jane Lewis
Minx was a fun-loving, kind soul who touched many lives. She loved to work as a therapy dog, and especially enjoyed being petted and brushed by children and doing parlor tricks for them. She was a big part of our lives and our family and we miss her.
Mia was a Chocolate Lab who was famous for her calm demeanor and tennis ball catching skills. Mia spent the first eight years of her life visiting playgrounds with her family and having small children crawl all over her. This was great practice for her role as therapy dog.
Packer was a Divine Danine since the group started in 2005. He was adopted from Maltese Rescue and brought home to cheer up his owner’s other dog who was severely depressed. Packer turned out to be a healing influence, not only with the troubled older dog, but also with troubled older people.
Blue was a beautiful golden retriever mix who loved children. With Divine Canines, he visited the Summit, an assisted living facility for seniors, and participated in special events like Safari Day for adults with mental illness and Interfaith Hospitality Network’s temporary shelter for homeless families. He shared his joy and lovable nature with the Divine Canines pack, too.
Sandy will be missed by many, especially her mom. She was a special girl who made an impact on this world by demonstrating to all that Pit Bulls are good and sweet and are great with children. She loved visiting her kids weekly at St. Elmo Elementary School. They allowed her to be her silly self, which is all she asked from them. She was patient, attentive, and free with kisses to show the kids what a great job they were doing reading to her.
According to his handler, Zorro also had a special fondness for his dear friends at the Summit senior living community and eagerly looked forward to putting on his special vest when it was time for him to go “work”.
The gentle Wizard was adopted from the Greyhound Adoption Center in San Diego and never looked back. Wizard was a natural at making people feel good. He tried all kinds of places to visit and had a special place in his heart for St. David’s Hospital. He was so beloved there, that after his passing, the folks at St. David’s dedicated a plaque for him at one of the gardens.
This energetic and lovable Chow mix had a special place in his heart for children. He shared his happy personality with children who had experienced abuse and neglect in their lives. The children at the Settlement Home and Austin Children’s Shelter adored Oscar and volunteer-handler Sarah. Thank you Sarah and Oscar for brightening the days of an estimated 400 children during your 29 visits and 32 hours of service to our community. “I’m so thankful that he brought me to Divine Canines and he was able to bring joy to so many besides our family.” -Sarah Herman
Ruby “Wigglebutt” and Pat Bancroft retired in 2012 and had been among the first teams trained by Divine Canines. Ruby was a gentle Rottweiler mix who had been saved by the good folks at Blue Dog Rescue where Pat also volunteers. Ruby had a way with other dogs, often helping comfort new Blue Dog fosters. But, Ruby’s real magic was how she interacted with people. Her loving eyes told us everything was going to be ok and we believed them. Ruby loved giving doggie kisses to everyone. She had a special place in her heart for the very vulnerable: older folks in nursing homes and children in shelters. Thank you Pat for sharing Ruby and for nearly 50 volunteer hours in our community.
He was known to many as “the dog with the beard.” He was a gentle soul who loved children and took his job as a Divine Canine very seriously.
She comes from a family of Divine Canines. Along with Rose, Ziva, and Gypsy, Cinder traveled all over Central Texas to make people smile. Cinder frequently visited The Emeritus at Beckett Meadows, an assisted living facility for the elderly.
This sweet girl had a special place for our elderly. She visited residents at the Summit at Northwest Hills, an assisted living facility for the elderly including those living with Alzheimer’s. Mesa’s handler was inspired to serve after Divine Canines visited her uncle at the Summit.
Dooley and Eileen Hughes have been volunteers for seven years. Beautiful Dooley was a rescued greyhound who loved his work as a Divine Canine. He was elegant and graceful and adored people. Dooley was a regular at St. David’s Hospital. He also enjoyed having children read to him as a Barking Book Buddy and visiting with friends at the Austin State Hospital and at the Austin State Supported Living Center. Dooley and Eileen made more than 250 therapy dog visits and contributed more than 500 hours to our community.
At more than 140 pounds, this gentle giant always made a lasting impression. Executive Director, Max Woodfin recalls one of his encounters with Caleb Lee: I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of a roomful of special education teachers in the Round Rock school district one day last fall when this 145-pound ball of white fluff and sweetness walked in! It took about two minutes and 12 seconds for even the doubters in the room to become convinced of the value of therapy dogs in a classroom for students with special needs. Caleb Lee never knew a stranger and provided nearly 50 hours of service to children, the elderly, and soldiers at seven sites in our community.
I believe with all my heart that Lucchese was sent to me, an earth-angel with four paws, soft red fur, and beautiful amber eyes. She started off as an ill-behaved, scared little girl, but soon I found that all she needed was to trust and to be trusted, and to be loved.
We trained to be a volunteer search/rescue team, and it was on one of the searches that she showed her true calling as a therapy dog. A hush came over the SAR teams as she comforted the victim’s family member and a team member stated, “well, we have a therapy dog.” It was within a couple of months that I found the Divine Canines organization, still in its early beginnings, and I knew that this was where she belonged. She led me down many hallways, to many people, young and old, throughout her years of service, always amazing me with her ever-knowing way of who needed her the most.
Lucchese received her angel wings on November 11, 2011 and on that day I lost my heart and my soul. I know that time will ease the pain but I will never be whole again. Tami Stone
My best friend, Christine, came over to meet you for the first time and you instantly fell in love with her. She was your soul mate; you adopted her. Christine turned you into a working dog and you became a Divine Canines therapy dog. Every day you went to work with Christine at Sports Center, her physical therapy clinic. You made many hundreds of people love physical therapy–no easy job. You had your favorites, fervently talking to them when they came in. You touched so many people. You never destroyed a thing, but you were rather stern when weekends rolled around. You much preferred weekdays because you were a working girl. So you’d stand by the back door waiting for Christine to put your vest on. When it didn’t happen and she left you got pissed. You’d turn to punishing Christine…by shredding one tissue. Precisely one. You always talked to us and told us exactly what you needed. You were never pushy, we just learned to read you. You were one of our most brilliant life teachers. We listened, Hanna. And we appreciate every single day you were with us. Godspeed, Angel Hanna. There are lots of dogs waiting for you in Heaven to show you around and we can’t wait to see you again one day. Hanna 15 August 2001 – 21 December 2012.
Rose, a gentle giant with soul-piercing big, brown eyes, loved children and the elderly. With Teresa and Robert Cardwell at her side, Rose made 125 visits to five sites across Austin. Rose served as a Barking Book Buddy to children at St Elmo Elementary and was a friend to all residents at the Emeritus at Beckett Meadows Senior Living Center. By the time she retired, Rose and the Cardwells had volunteered more than 230 hours driving around town and spreading the magic of Divine Canines. Rose’s siblings continue to serve as Divine Canines.
S’more. Even his name makes you smile. Helping Hands Home Site Coordinator Judy Kjelland lost S’more this month. S’more loved children. In addition to providing services to his beloved children at HHH, S’more was a Barking Book Buddy at Andrews Elementary and visited children at Austin Children’s Shelter. Friend and fellow volunteer Raye Ward eloquently described the special bond S’more had with children: “The kids would see S’More and cry ‘Marshmallow! Marshmallow!’ (I guess it was the white gooey part they remembered). S’more would uncomplainingly yield to demanding, shouting, grabbing hands and hearts. Like Judy, he was kind, consistent and trustworthy. He taught the kids about steadfast affection, about how important it is to show up and do your job. To be cheerful and agreeable, to cooperate and support those around you. He was a great little guy, and we’ll miss him. “
S’more volunteered more than160 hours and made 92 visits to 4 sites.
Sara loved men and women in uniform. She and teammate Lois Sturm were fixtures at Fort Hood, offering comfort and support to Wounded Warriors returning home from combat. She also befriended Alzheimer’s patients and elderly residents at Windchime Assisted Living Center. Sara encouraged children to read as a Barking Book Buddy for the Johnson City Library. Beautiful Sara made more than 130 visits to 5 sites. Sara and Lois donated more than 350 hours to adults and children in need in Central Texas.