"We never touch someone so lightly that we don't leave a trace."
~ Anonymous
All-Around READing Dogs
Pennsylvania ~ "Stella"  

Team Read, Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs

You want me to do what?

Additionally, Tammy and Stella belong to a group called Paw Prints on the Heart. One of the most important jobs Tammy and Stella have together is visiting a manor care facility once a week doing animal-assisted therapy and visiting patients. 

Team Read, Pup Rally for Reading, Texas

Oh boy, show-off time!

Tammy says it is rewarding to see the patients’ spirits lifted as they interact with Stella and as she helps them achieve their goals in physical therapy. Stella and Tammy have become an especially close team by giving to each other the love and stability they each needed at a time when all hope could have been lost.

A good story, Stella is curious about
what comes next.

Because Stella is just beginning her reading sessions with children, she doesn't have a favorite book to listen to yet.

Stella with Stellaluna, a favorite book!

Tammy, however, has a favorite and will soon share it with Stella and the children. Stellaluna was a favorite of her younger daughter. "Stella" is Latin for star and "luna" is latin for moon.


Books & items with Australian Cattle Dogs include:
Australian Cattle Dog Property Laws (a refrigerator magnet)
Bad Dog Max! by Marina Windsor
Skidboot, by Ron Westmoreland and David Hartwig

Tammy's choice:
Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon
Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon (a pop-up book & mobile)


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

Stella is a mixed-breed but mostly Australian Cattle Dog (ACD). Originating in the 1800s, this is a breed ready and willing to work all day in its primary function, herding cattle. Their agility, strength and courageousness allows them to easily control and move cattle. According to the American Kennel Club, “Stubborn cows don’t discourage this dog—they just become more determined to get the job done!”

Australian cattle dog.

Always ready to be on the move,
Stella is the perfect soccer mascot!

Australian Cattle Dogs are very high-energy dogs and extremely intelligent, and  they do best with a job—such as herding, obedience or agility—to keep them happy. Stella’s job is therapy, and she is unquestionably meant for it. ACDs are described as always alert, watchful, courageous and trustworthy, and they have an implicit devotion to duty. Stella’s ACD background helps her be an ideal therapy dog.

heart of texas therapy dogs

Stella patiently allows a physical therapy
patient to exercise her hands.

Born in 2006, Stella’s introduction to Tammy’s family and to therapy work is a very special story. As Tammy explains, following the sudden death of her 16-year-old daughter, “The emptiness in my heart left me hungering to nurture the child who was no longer there. I needed a companion who would always be there, a listening ear with a heart full of love.”

Encouraged by her other daughter, she began hunting for that unique dog, a dog they had already named “Stella” in their hearts. This dog needed to be special, as she would have the job of healing the family as well as becoming a therapy dog that could brighten the day for others whose spirits needed lifting.

Smooth-coated Chihuahua therapy dog

Stella knows instinctively
who needs nose kisses the most.

While researching the Internet one day, Tammy came across a pair of mixed Australian Cattle Dog puppies at the local humane society, one of which was already named Stella.
Tammy rescued little Stella from the pit of abandonment, and Stella rescued Tammy’s soul from the pit of grief.

Paw in hand for a job well done!

Stella is now registered with Therapy Dogs, Inc., and registered with Reading Education Assistance Dog. She and Tammy go to Hereford Elementary School (Upper Perkiomen School District), where two students read to her on Thursday mornings.  Since reading is a low-key activity, Stella is usually very relaxed on the blanket while a student reads to her.  Sometimes they even catch her listening with her eyes closed to get the whole picture of the story!