Eardog was the affectionate nickname by which the company’s first canine mascot was known. Her given name was Mei Mei, Chinese for Little Sister.
Now flash forward to present day so I may introduce you to the current top dog, Theodore. Like his predecessor, he was once a stray, of mixed parentage…Canaan Dog + Malamute + Golden Retriever. The photo to the right was taken in Maine, (his first trip to the ocean) not long after he came to stay with me.
Found by the dog catcher, running on the highway in New Jersey, Theo was an eight month old whippersnapper when I first met him at the shelter in Old Bridge, NJ where he’d languished, un-adopted for over three months. (I'd first spotted him on the homeless dogs website, Petfinder.com). Though he was clearly hampered by lack of training and the security of a good home, after playing and working with him on the grounds of the shelter for nearly two hours, I was certain this spastic, out of control mutt had tremendous potential to work.
He displayed an exceptional eagerness to learn and his natural tendency to make sustained, relaxed eye contact was my first clue that he was ready to be sprung from the shelter and cultivate some higher aspirations.
Knowing that I’d school Theodore in the art of volunteer work, (he’s now a licensed Service and Therapy Dog) I named him after Theo Van Gogh, Vincent’s younger brother. Theo Van Gogh, who famously supported his brother both financially and emotionally, had tremendous belief in his talented sibling and encouraged him even as Vincent struggled desperately with depression.
So, like his namesake, Theo the Dog helps to comfort and support the well being of those around him. He has quite a few friends who fall into the creative and artist categories and I like to think that he does a special dance for those folks, hoping that they’ll notice that he looks very much like a walking-barking Franz Kline painting. As it turns out, he's an avid art lover and has visited many of the prominent museums on the Eastern Seaboard.
Like Mei Mei, Theo sports some comical ear-doo’s. His ears at half mast result in a striking resemblance to a Gremlin. But his real talent is his ability to soothe, entertain, and charm most every person he meets. As a therapy dog, it’s his job to volunteer his prodigious talents in service of those in need, but it’s simply his nature to spread love. He’s worked at a children’s hospital in Chelsea and made friends with the folks at an AIDS hospice on the Lower East Side. At the library in Soho, where he volunteers as a reading partner, he adopts his most relaxed, goofy posture to put the youngest, dog fearing kids at ease.
The children sit with Theo for one-on-one reading sessions. With his presence, he grounds these early readers and encourages them with adoring looks and a steady presence.
* ABC’s Good Morning America featured Theo on the show after reading an article in the New York Magazine’s Best Of….issue, which mentioned his work at the New York Public Library. To watch the ABC segment and read the related article, click HERE. To read the New York Magazine article click HERE.
Theodore is whip smart and eager to please, with a fondness for all tasks involving anyone who needs an emotional pick me up, and who might return the favor with a thoughtful ear-belly-scruff tickle. That’s the best kind of payment. He prefers attention to treats, hands down.
So, here at Eardog Productions,Theo is our mascot, and our comic relief. And we’re all grateful for PetFinder.com and the folks at Old Bridge Shelter, without whom we never would have found this amazing creature.
Love Has No Age Limit is a valuable resource for any dog owner, caretaker or animal shelter director/coordinator seeking instruction on how to train and acclimate adopted dogs into their newly found homes.
Click HERE to return to Theodore's Blog, 'City Dog, Country Dog'.