Welcome to the Lend A Paw Blog!
Where you can find up to date information about the program, current LAP teams and LAP therapy dogs candidates, scheduled visits, and much more.
Lend A Paw is committed to enhancing the lives of individuals experiencing physical, mental, emotional or life challenges by providing therapy dogs to offer warmth, compassion, unconditional love and a healing environment. The program is designed to rescue dogs from the shelter and train them to be therapy dogs. Individuals are also invited to join our LAP team with their own dogs provided the dogs have the required obedience and temperament for therapy work.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jane, Jessica and Caspy: Lend A Paw Ambassadors!

Jane Eckstein, her daughter Jessica Masser and their therapy dog Caspy.
Jane Eckstein and her daughter Jessica Masser, both JuJuitsu practitioners, teach a self-defense / self-esteem program called "Blocking the Punches" at the ECF Kayne Eras Center, in Culver City. They teach abduction prevention, assault prevention and defense to a wide spectrum, at-risk and challenged middle and high school students ranging in age from 12 years old to 22.
In 2009, they started researching dog therapy programs, feeling that some of the non-verbal autistic students at Kayne Eras Center would benefit from the exposure to the gentle, quiet presence of a therapy dog. While doing some research on the internet, they found New Leash On Life and the Lend A Paw program.
"I believe he was meant to be a therapy dog," says Jane of her dog Caspy.
They contacted New Leash On Life about adopting a therapy dog and met Caspy, a then 2 years old, Lhasa Apso/ Poodle mix who was already trained and was a member of the Lend A Paw program. Caspy was at the time in foster care, awaiting someone to adopt him. Perfect timing? Meant to be? Jane states: "Yes. There was beautiful Caspy who had been rescued from the East Valley Shelter, in foster care and already trained. We jumped on it! He has a job, a purpose. He and Lend A Paw have changed our lives."
Since they adopted Caspy, in February of 2009, they have brought the Lend A Paw program to the Kayne Eras Center on a regular basis. "We try to visit once a month", says Jessica. "One time, I asked a boy with autism what he whispered in Caspy's ear and he said, "I feel happy!"
But giving back to her school wasn't enough. Jessica wanted to do more. She and Jane also visit the office of Cardiologist, Dr. Sandra Fallon, in Santa Monica. They take Caspy in the lobby, to visit patients waiting to undergo their stress tests. "She is my cardiologist," states Jessica. "And I am proud to give back to my doctor." Jane mentions that according to Dr. Fallon, after visiting with Caspy, her patients blood pressures decrease. "The whole room changes," Jane says. "We provide a distraction."
And just recently, Jessica and Jane opened the doors of a new site to the Lend A Paw program. On September 14th, at 2:15 pm, they will visit the Westside Regional Center in Culver City, for the first time. Jessica works for the Peer Mentor Lifestyle Coaching Agency. She is a mentor and trainer within the Agency's Healthy Lifestyle Service Program helping pre-diabetic, diabetic and others facing weight and nutrition challenges to move toward a more active, safer and healthier lifestyle. She approached one of her bosses about bringing the Lend A Paw program to the agency. Her boss thought it was a great idea! She was introduced to Sharon Vincuilla, Lend A Paw Coordinator, who facilitated the legal aspects of bringing the dogs in. "This is a brand new site, a state agency!" Jane says. "We are desperately seeking dog teams for this visit."
Who would have thought that one small dog would have such an impact on so many people's lives? Jane has put in so many hours into the Lend A paw program that she is now eligible to become a Level III handler! But she is not completely satisfied. "Our goal is to go and visit the Veterans Rehabilitation Center and work with recovering military personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan," says Jane. And with these two women's determination, anything is possible!

Story and Photos by Nathalie Seguin

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