Category Archives: Frequently Asked Questions

28 Jan

2013 Income and Expenses

The focus for 2013 was building infrastructure and accumulating program supplies.

Cash Flow

  • PayPal Balance as of Jan 1, 2013:  $3.25
  • Rebates pending:  $90.55
  • Bank Balance on Jan 1, 2013: $609.23
    • Inflow to Checking Account:
      $500 – Fidelity Charitable grant made possible through the generosity and recommendation of the Arth Baker Fund.
      $225 –  non-directed cash donations
      $ 271.14 – directed cash donations (donated and used for a specific purpose)
    • Outflow from Checking Account:
  • Bank Balance on Jan 1, 2014: $633.11

Where Did The Money Go In 2013?

We deliberately operate on a shoestring so that we can offer our services to cash-strapped organizations at no cost. For program supplies we haunt Good Will, Dollar Stores, and Value Village. We have become very adept coupon and sales shoppers.  However we recognize that in expanding our focus to the creation and training of new STAR teams in 2014 we will need cold, hard cash.

  • Items in green were “in-kind” donations (approx. $1467.00)
  • Items in blue were the targets of directed donations.

Infrastructure and Regulatory Expenses

  • $425 for liability insurance (The Hartford)
  • $50 annual renewal of Oregon Corporation status
  • $10 charity status renewal with Oregon Dept. of Justice
  • $80 for PO Box
  • $27.95 Check Order
  • $106.87 for Domain name lease renewals and back-up service
  • $15  PayPal Here Mobile Card Reader (to be covered by $15 rebate)

Program Marketing

  • $9.99        250 Basic Business cards
  • $104.50   300 Logo’d ballpoint pens

Handler-Specific Expenses

  • $50.00 for 45 hrs. Domestic Violence Advocacy training for Linda Keast (required for work in DV shelters;  remaining $250 covered by Raphael House)
  • $202.81 Eight STAR Team Handler Soccer Shirts + shipping  (five remain, various sizes) Note: All team equipment and clothing is deliberately sports-based.
  • $15 for Fingerprinting (Beaverton Police) for Linda Keast – required to work at Monika’s House
  • $25.04   One year registration as a Be-A-Tree presenter
  • $12.98   100 ID card laminating sleeves

Children-Specific Expenses

  • $85.62  300 Little Dog Stickers + shipping
  • $79.95   105 generic clickers + shipping
  • $193.40 for 100 tiny flashlights (includes shipping) engraved with “S.T.A.R. Trainer – See, Tag, And Reward” for good-bye kits*
  • $134.90  100 tiny flashlights (includes shipping) engraved with “S.T.A.R. Trainer – See, Tag, And Reward” for good-bye kits*
  • $44.58   76 tiny boxes to hold the good-bye kits*
  • $9.98      15  tiny boxes to hold the good-bye kits*
  • $25.18   12 vials of different scents to be used in scent-based games
  • $28.25   miscellaneous paper and craft supplies used in class
  • $14.22   miscellaneous paper and craft supplies used in class
  • $29.95  for DVD Player (many venues do not have/allow web access)
  • $40.00   for Latham Foundation video
  • $28.30   10 Kazoos + shipping
  • $19.99   Collapsible dog playpen to use a Eli’s “safe place” at Raphael House
  • $35.44  for  heavy foam puzzle squares (used when illustrating a behavior chain)
  • $35.00  3 dog mannequins/puppets (used)
  • $188.95  1 retractable 24″x84″ vertical  banner printed with the Trainer’s Promise
  • $71.39  colored markers, cloth/findings to create floor pillows, equipment tote bags
  • $29.00   laminator (for id tags and illustrations of complex behaviors) (actual, $99 with pending $70. 00 rebate listed above)
  • $121.96   props and storage for props (mostly used)
  • $25.47   props and storage for props (new)
  • $45.31  props (new) and reimbursement for unused ideas
26 Jan

Who Are Your Partner Organizations?

While we have on occasion worked with foster care programs and a juvenile evaluation and assessment shelter,  we partner primarily with professionals in the following organizations:

  • Domestic Violence Shelters – Since January 2013 we’ve made weekly visits to two DV shelters (Raphael House of Portland in Multnomah County and Monika’s House in Washington County), working closely with their juvenile counselors. In late 2015 we added a third shelter (Clackamas Women’s Services in Clackamas County). We prefer to work with one child at a time so that we can support what each particular child needs without distraction. To stay in sync with each facility’s intervention strategies, the visiting handler joins the shelter staff in all relevant training so that goals and language used with the children are kept consistent.
  • Summer Day Camps – The summer of 2016 we added support for  Good Neighbor Center’s 10-week summer camp. We are now in our third year of this happy relationship.
    • Past  Examples
      • In the Summer of 2011 a team provided twice-weekly dog-training classes to youths at Harkins House,  a short term temporary residential shelter care and evaluation  facility for Washington County in Hillsboro.
      • In the Summer of 2012 a team worked weekly with Pet Club youths  resident in a foster care facility in Newberg.
      •  In the Summer of 2015 a team taught daily age-appropriate animal training modules at the annual Frog Hollow Girl Scout camp in Champoeg State Park.
      • In August 2016 we supported the Portland Police BoyStrength summer camp, and that Fall we provided support for their after-school programs in Portland elementary schools (SUN).
  • Residential Treatment Facilities – In 2014 we established a relationship with Parry Center (Trillium Family Services). This is a more challenging environment, so we are deliberately taking it slow as we add new children to the schedule. In Spring 2018 we launched a trial series with Morrison Child & Family Services.
  • Elementary Schools – What started as “test of concept” series at McKay Elementary School in the Beaverton School Districts has blossomed into a strong, ongoing relationship. In this more structured environment, a team works with the counselor and four to six children at a time. The focus is, of necessity, less intensely on the individual on this setting, and more on group dynamics/teamwork. In each four-session series we work on themes identified by the counselor. After each S.T.A.R. session, the counselor picks up a thread introduced while working with the dog and weaves it into a further discussion on how that concept applies to people:
    • Learning empathy: how to read signals from the dogs and also from people in order to understand and get along with others
    • Positive Influence: training the dog in positive ways helps the students learn how to get along with others without bossing or bullying
    • Social Skills: students will try new skills with the dogs, such as assertiveness, that are difficult to try with people, since the dogs are non-judgmental.
  • Organizations that support domestic violence survivors – We love working with the energetic and innovative group called SCARS – Survivor Collective Alliance, Reaching Society.  We joined the United Heroes for Hope in supporting SCARS’ 2nd annual SurvivorCon at Beaverton City Park on October 1, 2016.
  • Organizations that support homeless youths – We have formed an alliance with HomePlate Youth Services. To stay in sync with this facility’s intervention strategy of fostering work skills, we employ interested youths in a small-scale pilot program. Theye assist in training our dogs for home-grown videos promoting adopting dogs from shelters.

CLICK HERE to read comments from professionals at our community partners.

26 Jan

How Is This Different?

How are your S.T.A.R. Teams different from more traditional therapy dog teams that we see in hospitals and libraries?

The beneficial effect of traditional therapy therapy dogs is well documented — they provide comfort and emotional support for the duration of their visit.

We, on the other hand, have a behavioral modification agenda: we do want to give children moments of joy and personal empowerment, but perhaps even more importantly we want to gently arm them with tools and knowledge that can improve their chance for a safe, healthy, happy life long after we’re gone.

It is the active nature of our engagement with the children that most visibly distinguishes us from other groups:

  • Within a session, our dogs are off-leash underscoring the fact that they are not compelled to work with the youth – they can CHOOSE to work with a youth based on the youth’s behavior. We actively engage the children in thinking up and teaching our dogs an amazing assortment of games. This does not sound unusual until you recognize that traditional therapy organizations (e.g., Pet Partners, formerly Delta Society, or Alliance of Therapy Dogs, formerly Therapy Dogs, Inc., or Gabriel’s Angels) at a minimum do not allow animals off-leash. Consider the difference to children between an on-leash dog obeying a command and an uncompelled, off-leash dog CHOOSING to work/play with them!
  • Traditional therapy dogs are specifically screened to gently tolerate ANY behavior on the part of the child. Our dogs are encouraged to safely but clearly react to a child’s behavior. One of our goals is for the children to learn to “read” what the dog is telling them so they can begin to understand how one’s behavior affects others.
  • Our dog/handler teams do not operate as S.T.A.R. teams outside of our supervision – although a handler may suggest a potential client and ultimately be assigned there, all of our clients must be approved at the organizational level, with great attention paid to safety and support on both sides of the relationship.

Why are you using therapy dogs instead of shelter dogs, as some programs do?

  • Our local county human services, school districts, and animal services all prohibit the use of shelter dogs. Substituting registered, seasoned therapy dogs answers their safety concerns and enables us to move more quickly to the “fun stuff”. And our handlers no longer think of the dogs as pets. As Linda tells the kids, “Eli is my partner – I do things WITH him, not TO him.” This mindset allows us to talk honestly about what it means to be a friend.
26 Jan

Why Dogs?

  1. Dogs are not little humans. They are marvelously different, and the ways in which they are different and how this affects our actions as trainers is fertile ground for later discussions on respecting and enjoying differences. We are not all the same, and isn’t it great!
  1. Dogs have no “secret agendas” or thoughts – they wear their emotions on their surface, readable by anyone who cares to learn. Part of our goal is to teach the children how to read these emotions and understand how their own actions impact them.
  1. Dogs are spontaneous – they live “in the moment”. Their perception of causality is very narrow by human standards. What is happening at any point in time is perceived to have been caused by what immediately (and this means within ½ sec) precedes it. This means that dog provides immediate feedback on handler activity. It also means that a punishment inflicted on a dog for an infraction more than ½ second ago does not have the effect intended.
  1. Dogs have been genetically selected for centuries to be tuned to the emotional states of humans. They mirror what they perceive our emotions to be: if we are tense, or frightened, they will be tense or frightened even if they don’t understand the source of our concern. This provides a highly visual external bio-feedback mechanism to the emotional state of the handler – and an opportunity to use personal self-control as a requirement for working with our dogs.
  1. Dogs have parallel but sometimes very different social constructs which invite later discussion about the human version:
    • Dogs have a strong sense of “manners” – but it is many times just the opposite of what would be appropriate for a human.
    • Dogs, for the most part, are social animals and feel safest and happiest when with they are with their “pack”/family – to the point that even if members of that pack mistreat them, they will suffer the mistreatment rather than be alone.
  1. Dogs perceive the world in a very different way than do humans. In many ways their senses provide them with a far richer view of reality. For instance:
    • Their visual perception very different from our own. They are red/green color-blind – that red ball in the green grass is harder to see than you think! For most breeds, their distance vision is less than our own, but their peripheral vision is wider. True to their predator ancestry, their eyes are optimized to detect motion (moving ball) rather than stationary objects (ball at rest).
    • Their hearing is more acute, with a range that goes almost as low as humans can hear, but goes WAY higher. This means that their world is filled not only with natural sounds, but all the electronic hums from lights, appliances, etc. of which we are blissfully unaware and dogs can’t escape.
    • But their strongest sense is without a doubt SMELL! They “see the world through their nose”, so to speak. On a scale of 1 to 10, with humans’ ability to detect odor = 10, dogs are 10,000. Where human noses become inured dog noseto a specific odor over time, or “blend” fragrances into a single smell, dogs smell every single odor individually until it dissipates into nothingness. This gives them the ability to “see into the past” – a dog that meets you is aware not only of your unique smell + indicators that tell it your emotional state, it can detect what you had for breakfast, that this is the 2nd day you’ve worn those jeans, that you walked across the grass on the way to the bus, stopped to pet a cat, and sat next to someone who lives with a cigarette smoker. Scent-based tricks look like magic, and the children are in on the secret!


The Little Dog Laughed Animal-Assisted Therapy | © 2019
NEW: 7805 SW 40th Ave PO Box 80602 Portland, OR 97280
A 501(c)(3) charity, Tax-ID 35-2431818