"My little dog--a heartbeat at my feet. "
~ Edith Wharton
All-Around READing Dogs
California ~ "Oliver" & "Teddy"  

Since 1998, Suzanne has been part of a Chamber of Commerce Program called "Read To Me," where business people read to students.

Bichon Frise, Read to Me Program

Ready for "Read to Me" today.

She now has permission to take the dogs with her, one at a time or in brace. The dogs calmly sit and listen, there is no interaction with the listeners, but at the end of the reading, when Suzanne brings only one dog, the children can line up and file by, each having a chance to pet the dog if they want to.

Brace of bichon frises for Read to Me Program

Read to Me at Endeavour Elementary School.
Oliver & Teddy sometimes get
to participate in events together.

For three years, they have been visiting a classroom of very special children. Some children have spatial issues but don’t mind being near the dogs. One young girl, who seldom speaks, loves to come and touch the dogs. They are gentle and still with her, as if they realize how they need to behave. 

Child reading to bichon frise at school

Teddy and Oliver take turns visiting
school children. Who do you think this is?

Each year Suzanne introduces kindergarten children to Caldecott Award-winning books and also the Caldecott Honor books and different styles of drawings or paintings.

Bichon frise therapy dog listening to a story

The purple pad gives Oliver a
perfect view of the story.

The Caldecott Medal recognizes the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.  It is named in honor of the 19th century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott because his work best represents the “joyousness and beauty of picture books.”

Read to Me at Irwin Elementary School

Read to Me at Irwin Elementary School

From the kick off Read To Me program at Irwin Elementary School, the above picture shows teachers, school officials and Chamber personnel.

Both dogs have a fan club of regular followers at the Adelanto Branch of the San Bernardino County Library where they visit the first Friday of each month. Children who read to Oliver or Teddy at the library receive a book after coming to five sessions. They also receive pencils, bookmarks, seasonal die cuts, and stickers. Suzanne loves watching the children grow in their reading experiences, but admits it’s also sad to see them grow up and leave.

In September 2016, Teddy quite suddenly became sick and had to make his way over the Rainbow Bridge. On November 19, 2016, tiny Bobby also passed on following a tragic accident. Both were outstanding READ partners, never happier than when they were with children.

A favorite book with children at the library is The Wide-Mouthed Frog Pop-up Book, by Keith Faulkner and Jonathan Lambert.

Books with a Bichon Frise in the story include:
A Bichon Doggie Tale, by Louise Dillon
Laura, the Bichon Frise: My New Home, by Teresa R. Allen
One Incredible Dog! Kizzy, by Chris Williams
Snowflake Comes to Stay, by Karel Hayes

(Click on the titles above for a brief description and convenient ordering information.)

Oliver and Teddy are Bichon Frises. Once unkempt little street urchins abandoned by their separate owners, they happened into Suzanne’s life at different times. Oliver wandered through the desert to her house after being attacked by two large dogs; Teddy and his two sisters were strays; shaved and wearing little scarves, they were running in the streets scared and alone until Suzanne rescued them all. She found homes for the two little girls and has provided a loving and healthy forever home for their brother, renamed Teddy Lambchop. Teddy and Oliver soon became best buddies. Teddy acts like he thinks Oliver is royalty and literally bows to him. Now living in Victorville, California (in the Mojave Desert), they are not only pampered and adored, but they are able to “pay it forward” by bringing joy and comfort to the lives of others.

Two Bichon Frises therapy dogs

Teddy and Oliver with Lomitas
classroom teacher Mrs. Savedra & Suzanne

It’s been said that bichon frise, in French, means “curly white lap dog.” Some people say these adorable pups look like live stuffed toys. They are not toys, of course, but having been bred to be companion dogs, they are typically sensitive and playful and tend to get along very well with children and other animals.

Bichon Frise, therapy dog

Teddy, ready for the next child.

Oliver and Teddy have completed basic obedience training and earned their AKC Canine Good Citizen awards. Oliver also has had long line training, meaning basic obedience at a distance, and he has an AKC Indefinite Life Privilege permitting competition in all AKC events except conformation. Both dogs are members of Therapy Dogs, Inc.; Reading Education Assistance Dogs; P.J.’s Pals; and Earth Angel Therapy Dogs, through Mojave Greens K-9 Training Club.

Two bichon frise therapy dogs at retirement facility

Teddy with his sister Gertie (also a registered
therapy dog) and her owner at
Rock Spring Retirement Facility .

Suzanne says Oliver and Teddy are the first therapy dogs she’s had and they have been a life-changing experience for her, in the best way possible. She is very proud of them.

Four bichon frises ready for Halloween parade

Oliver & Teddy at the right
with friends Bobby & Austin, are ready for a Halloween parade

Both dogs, along with Suzanne, visit schools, libraries, and retirement homes on a regular basis. On holidays they make special visits wearing costumes, singing carols, and showing off their training.

Three bichon frise dogs

An armful of fun...life is good!

A busy family, Suzanne and her pals do a lot of volunteer work in their community. But relaxing with friends is just as important, as shown in one of Suzanne's favorite photos. Here are Oliver, Teddy, and baby Bobby, a most cuddly threesome.