Spreading joy is easy when you have a good dog story. Just ask Heather Vina and her therapy dog Augustus Maximus. But most people know him as Augie, the therapy doggie. In addition to being certified with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Augie also has his good canine citizen certificate and AKC Therapy Dog Advanced (THDA).
When Medicine Doesn’t Work
Heather was inspired to become a therapy dog team when her father was in the hospital in extreme pain. When the pain relievers failed to bring her father relief, a golden retriever therapy dog stepped into his hospital room, rested his head on his lap, and sat with him until he began to feel better. This was the moment Heather knew she was destined to spread joy and comfort as a therapy dog team and fell in love with golden retrievers. Today, she spreads positivity as a therapy dog team with Augie and helps therapy dogs in training by being an Alliance of Therapy Dog Tester.
Spreading Joy with Stop, Drops, and Rolls
You can find Augie and Heather volunteering throughout their community. Naturally, Augie’s love language is touch. So anywhere “where there are hands to pet him,” said Heather, is Augie’s happy place. During fire school safety week, you can even find Augie assisting the local firefighters by demonstrating how to stop, drop, and roll in the event their clothes catch fire. With skills like this, it’s no wonder that kids of all ages love being around Augie the Doggie.
Sprouting the Seeds of An Amazing Dog Story
When a student asked Heather to tell him stories about Augie, the seeds of a book started growing inside her. At first, Heather began telling Augie’s story by creating an informational slideshow about him before working with students in schools. People loved the presentation so much that they encouraged Heather to write a book so that more people could enjoy his lovable dog story. You can buy a copy by visiting their website www.gooddogreads.com or on Amazon, Augie the Therapy Doggie.
How to Publish Your Own Dog Story
In writing Augie the Therapy Doggie book, Heather opted to self-publish her book. Two of her favorite resources that assisted her in the self-publishing process were Eevi Jones and Kindlepreneur. Whether you decide to go the traditional or self-publishing route, Heather’s best advice is to “do some research.” Because she wanted to publish her book while Augie was still young, she opted for the self-publishing route because it’s a faster process, and she has more control of every aspect of her book. With the first book under her belt, a second book is now in the works.
In addition to spreading joy through volunteer work, Augie works his magic as Heather’s office dog. Recently, when a client stopped by to pay his bill, he shared with Heather and her staff a touching story of how Augie gave him hope during a recent hospital stay. Without family or friends to visit him, it was the thought of seeing Augie again that gave him the will to live and sped up his recovery.
Because of the negative state of our world today, Heather made a vow “to do things and be associated with things that were positive and brought joy instead of friction.” As you can see, the dynamic duo are definitely accomplishing this mission. You can connect with Heather and Augie’s pawsitive vibes by grabbing your copy of Augie the Therapy Dog here. You can also connect with Augie and Heather on social media, Facebook, and Instagram at Augie the Therapy Doggie.
Looking for another good dog story? Check out our recent blog post, “A School Counselor’s Guide for Picking the Perfect Therapy Dog.”
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