Rudy: A Small Therapy Dog With a Big Heart
Lemke’s Rudy THDD owned by Judy Lemke of West Sacramento, CA
Ten-year-old Rudy is an unassuming little dog who is a mix of Schipperke and Toy Poodle. “Packed within this small dog is a loving and willing heart,” Judy said.
Rudy tested in March 2009 for Lend A Heart, Lend A Hand Animal Assisted Therapy based in Sacramento, CA, and at the same time, he tested for Delta (now Pet Partners).
“He passed both tests with flying colors!” Judy said.
Rudy received his AKC Canine Good Citizen award in September 2009. Since then, he has spent several hundred hours offering comfort and other services to people in need, earning the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD title for his good work.
Within Lend A Heart, he has visited nursing centers, hospitals, and schools with reading programs for at-risk children. He also is a Reading Ambassador dog for library programs and after school programs for children.
Rudy’s favorite place to visit is the University of California, Davis, Medical Center (UC Med) and Children’s Hospital, where he joined the Pets Helping Us Recover program. He has made many friends over the years and continues to make more.
In 2014, Rudy was invited to participate in the Childhood Cancer and Canine Program (CCC) run by the Pediatric Oncology Center at UC Med. CCC is a national study to measure the effects of animal assisted therapy on pediatric oncology patients, their parents/guardians, and therapy dogs.
It is a groundbreaking study in that the dog’s stress levels have never been measured under these conditions. Five other national children’s hospitals are involved in the study.
In October 2014, Rudy was partnered with a 12-year old leukemia patient. “They quickly fell in love with each other as Rudy visited her weekly for four months.
Rudy’s part in the study concluded in March 2015. "His patient was getting better and was put on maintenance, much to our joy!”
“Rudy is proud of his AKC Distinguished Therapy Dog Service Award, and looks forward to making further visits to receive more ear scratches and smiles!”
Rudy is a member of the AKC Canine Partners program for all dogs, including mixed-breeds and rescues.