“Every journey has a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware.”
~ Martin Buber
 
All-Around READing Dogs
South Carolina ~ "Rafter"  

This happy dog and this smiling boy are cancer survivors.

Rafter with his very special friend .

Rafter’s home visits to a young boy homebound with brain cancer led to the formation of the K-9 Care Unit for Kids, a group of pet therapists who specialize in visits for kids. Tireless in his passions, Rafter is now helping to raise awareness of canine cancer and money for its research. He and other therapy dogs do special occasion visits at holidays for children in hospital, as well as attend numerous camp and Scout group events that benefit children.

Trot for the Cure

Rafter and his pals in the Trot-Mobile,
which he pulls to start each group of walkers
in the Trot for the Cure .

Every year a fund-raiser called “Trot for the Cure” is held in Charleston, South Carolina. The third Trot was held January 7, 2007, and raised more than $9,200, all for canine cancer research. That brings the total in 3 years to over $30,000 donated to the University of Georgia’s cancer research fund, where Rafter was diagnosed and treated.

Sadly, after courageously fighting cancer's challenges, Rafter crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on December 24, 2008.

 

 

Truly an all-around dog, Rafter is an 8-year old Australian Shepherd that has had a very eventful life. As a puppy and young dog he earned his Companion Dog title in competitive obedience. He also loved running through agility courses, chasing sheep around a pen, and going for long walks twice a day. In addition, at the young age of 14 months he became a registered therapy dog. Then, just 10 months later, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, and was told he might have only another 6 to 18 months to live.

Today, with a focus on enjoying every single day of life and having survived more than 5 years since his diagnosis, Rafter is considered a miracle dog, and his life is extremely busy. Every month he participates in a reading program called “Woof to Read.” It is part of a Pet Buddies program, teaching humane education and responsible pet ownership. Rafter has also become well known in several states as a therapy and tricks dog, and even took up canine freestyle (dog dancing) to add to his repertoire of entertainment.

In 2006 Rafter received Honorable Mention in the Therapy Dog Division of the American Kennel Club’s Award for Canine Excellence.

Also in 2006, with the help of his human interpreter, editors, and photographers, Rafter wrote a book! Rafter’s Story is an entertaining account of his life as a therapy dog, his therapy friends, and his experience with bone cancer. Profits from its sale go to the canine cancer research fund.


 

     
 
 
 
 

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