Friday, December 29, 2017

Farewell Bernie

Bernie passed away on September 17, 2017. We adopted Bernie in 2011. He was abandoned by his previous owner. When we got him, he had ehrlichia and both of his ears were badly infected. He was not house trained but was a sweet as can be. Over the years, we treated his ehrlichia and chronic ear infections and worked very hard on his potty training :-). In November 2012, we took Bernie to test for his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and therapy dog test with Therapy Dogs International. He passed with flying colors. From January 2013 - August 2017, Bernie brought love and cheer to many people through his therapy dog work. He was such a loving and sweet little guy.

Since both Sammy and Bernie have both crossed the Rainbow Bridge, we no longer have our "Mitzvah Dogs." So for now, we are suspending our blog. We do not say goodbye but farewell as we hope to get back into therapy dog work some day in the future.

RIP Sammy and Bernie! We love you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Farewell Dear Sammy

Farewell Dear Sammy

We adopted Sammy in 2004 from The Cat Network. One of the volunteers was at Animal Control rescuing cats and saw someone in the parking lot about to surrender him. She got him and brought him to Assurant (where I worked at the time) for an adoption fair. I was volunteering at the adoption fair all day (dressed up as a big dog named Yogurt). At the end of the day, Sammy was just sitting there and I couldn't resist, I adopted him. 

In November 2012, Sammy passed the Canine Good Citizens (CGC) test and became a therapy dog through Therapy Dogs International (TDI). Over the years, my family and I have taken Sammy to nursing homes, schools, senior centers, and hospitals. Sammy passed away on February 1, 2017. He would have turned 15 later this month. 

This is a short video that reflects on his life. RIP, Sammy. I know you are giving those gentle "Wheaten Greetins'" wherever you are!

Watch on YouTube:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Visit with CRE's Samaritans 365

Roger, Marti, Sammy, and Bernie recently visited Coral Reef Elementary's Samaritans 365 Club. This is an after school club that "connects philanthropic organizations and school-aged children. These valuable connections serve to educate and inspire students to positively impact our world and spread the message that KINDNESS MATTERS" (

We spoke about what Sammy and Bernie do to be kind and do good deeds. Our meeting started out by Marti sharing photos of different people - young, old, persons with disabilities, persons who are homeless, etc. and asked what their perception was when they looked at the photos. 

Children commented that some of the photos were "scary" while others were "sad." Some said "funny," while others noted "ugly." We talked about how dogs might perceive these people and discussed that they really don't have the same types of visual perceptions that humans do and they are less likely to make judgements based on what someone looks like.

We also talked about what it takes to care for animals. Marti passed around a bag and asked children to pick out various items such as a leash, food, collar, brush, and even a red heart. We discussed what these items were and how we use them to care for our pets.

The children enjoyed petting Sammy and Bernie. We talked about how it made them feel to pet the dogs. They commented that it made them feel happy and relaxed. We explained that those were the same type of feelings that are expressed by the people we visit. However, we also explained that not everyone likes dogs and it is important to when we visit the individual that we give him/her a choice whether they would like to see and pet the dogs.

We concluded with a poem that Marti wrote as a tribute to therapy dogs. We'll post the poem in the next blog post.

What a wonderful time we had with these awesome children! Thank you for inviting us!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Dog Toys! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy

What a wonderful day! Sammy, Bernie, Marti, and Maia enjoyed the afternoon visiting with our friends at the WOW Center. We made them  a poster and they surprised us with some dog toys that they made for Sammy and Bernie. The Mizvah Dogs thank you for their awesome toys. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Loving our visits at the WOW Center!

This summer the Marti, Maia, Sammy, and Bernie have been visiting the WOW Center ( The WOW Center (formerly Community Habilitation Center) supports and serves over 150 adults with developmental disabilities from Miami-Dade County who range in ages from 21 to 71.

The purpose of all The WOW Center services is to offer support, guidance and encouragement to adults with developmental disabilities regarding their personal choices, abilities, growth and ultimately, independence. They provide individuals with programs designed to help them learn skills in order for them to lead meaningful and productive lives, explore their potential, and develop a sense of community (

We have been meeting with the senior group and they are so much fun. We look forward to seeing their smiling faces. Sammy and Bernie enjoy hugs and kisses. Here are a few photos from our summer visits.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mitzvah Day - Sunday February 12

On Sunday, February 12, the mitzvah dog team visited the Homestead Manor. As part of Temple Beth Am's annual Mitzvah Day, Roger, Marti, Jonah, Maia, and Leo joined a group from the temple. We brought Sammy and Bernie (the Mitzvah Dogs) and they enjoyed sharing their love and kisses. The children helped make festive picture frames for Valentine's Day and while they were working on the frames the dogs visited the residents. For some of the residents, seeing the dogs brought back memories of their own pets and the dogs' presences initiated a conversation about good memories. There were a few, however, who preferred not to pet them. The important aspect is that we ask each person and give them a choice whether they would like to pet the dogs. Respecting their choices is important.  Here are some photos from the event.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day Visit to The Palace

We had a wonderful time at The Palace this past Sunday, September 1st. Sammy and Bernie delighted the Palace residents during their weekly afternoon ice cream social. Even Leo helped out. While he is still too young to be a registered therapy dog handlers, he's not too young to share his loving kindness!