Sally Blake

Lira The Amazing Pet Therapy Dog

Hi there.  My name is Lira and I am a petite 52 pound yellow Lab.  I was born 3 years ago at the Guide Dogs for the Blind Facility in Boring, Oregon.  From the day I was born many people have contributed to my training.  I was puppy raised by my Mom, Sally Blake.  I’ll never forget that day when I was 18 months old.  It was time for me to go back to the facility.  My Mom said it was like going off to college.  We both knew that we were going to miss each other so much but we both knew that helping people was my destiny.  Well I worked really hard and went through all ten phases of the training.  Mom would watch my progress online cheering me on. Guide Dogs have to learn to relieve on command and I just couldn’t hold it for that long… especially with all that exercise!  Well some people will say I did this on purpose and I must admit it turned out all around pretty good for me.

Lira Comes Home

Puppy raisers have first option to get the dogs they raised back.  Of course Mom wanted me back.  She loves me very much.  What’s not to love… right? At two years old I came back to her. She was so happy and so was I.  She wanted to keep me working though.  She said I wouldn’t be happy unless I was working in some way.  So off we go to The Delta Society to get certified for Pet Therapy.  It was pretty much a breeze for me.  They had ten practical tests involving obedience and being around hospital equipment.  Mom had read how animals were doing amazing work with sick people.  There have been studies done that prove that animals actually lower blood pressure and that the comfort of an animal is very healing.  We’re also lucky enough to be walking distance from Tacoma General and Mary Bridge Children’s hospital. They are actually very progressive to allow this new innovative treatment.

We go to the children’s hospital once a week and adult oncology once a week. I love it!!  It’s a tough job but some dog has to do it. I’m even thinking I like it better than guide dogging.  I can tell which patients really like dogs.  Sometimes I gently hop up into patient’s beds and cuddle.  With some people I will put my paw on their arm and look into their eyes.  Sometimes I will put my head into their neck. Some patients and their families really like kisses.  Mom has commented that sometimes I bring a smile to a really sick person and their inner essence just shines through and they forget they are sick. Sometimes patients say I really made their day. Sometimes people just pet me. I am really soft if I do say so myself.  My ears are the softest is the West and this lanolin shampoo I have been using really keeps my coat so very soft. Some patients tell us stories about their pets or lives.  We hear a lot of good stories! The kids are really fun. The kids love me.  I save a little gentle lick on the nose for the little kids. Some of them just can’t believe there is a dog in the hospital. I love taking their minds off their troubles.  I think I help family members and all the great people who work at the hospital too.

If you have any questions you can email me at my Moms website
I also have my own Facebook page (Lira Blake) Have a grrreat day!