TORU llc, which produces hip rock ‘n roll clothing for dogs, is embarking on a very special project to raise awareness and funds for The Good Dog Foundation in New York (www.thegooddogfoundation.org). The Good Dog Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to all forms of animal assisted therapy.
TORU will be producing and selling a line of "Good Dog Wear" to help raise money for The Good Dog Foundation therapy program. In conjunction with the launch of the clothing, a new "spokesband" had been created. The band, LIXX, is an all dog band made up of therapy dogs from the Good Dog Foundation, and will help promote the fund-raising clothing line as well as the therapy dog program.
"Tony, the "to" in TORU, and I are a volunteer therapy team through the foundation and have been wanting to do a tie in with our rock 'n roll style shirts with the foundation," said Susan Levine, President of TORU. "From first hand experience, I can honestly say that the foundation's tagline - dogs helping humans heal - really lives up to it's name.”
Levine and Tony volunteer with weekly visits to NYU Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital and P.S. 96 elementary school’s reading program.
LIXX has just completed a photo shoot with Rolling Stone photographer Andrew Brusso (www.andrewbrusso.com). The shoot features the story of a day in the life of an all dog band, with the rock star pooches modeling TORU clothing. A microsite www.lixxrocks.com has been created to invite fans to follow the band. In conjunction with this piece TORU is rolling out a "Good Dog" line of hoodies that will help raise funds for the foundation and launch at NY Pet Fashion Week this coming August.
Monday was a hard day for me. For Tony, it wasn’t.
Tony and I returned to the children's hospital after a month long whirlwind of traveling. We are a therapy team certified through The Good Dog Foundation and The Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders has become one of our regular visits. Tony was so excited to return he pulled all the way to the entrance of the hospital from the subway station.
He let out a happy howl when he entered. As he always has to announce himself when we arrive at the children’s hospital for a therapy visit.
His buddy was there who he hasn’t seen in a month. She was one of his first visitiors at the hospital and has been a loyal friend to Tony every Monday at 11am. I’m afraid to ask why she is there every Monday and am not exactly sure what is wrong with her. All I know is that she usually has an IV port hooked up to her arm. She has overcome her fear of dogs through weekly visits with Tony. At first she just watched him from the other side of the room, in no time she was petting him and giving him treats. She brushes him, walks him & even reads to him. She has become my little therapy assistant.
A toddler came to pay Tony a visit. It was his first time meeting a therapy dog. He clearly looked like he was going through chemo as he only had a tiny bit of hair left on his head. The little boy hesitant at first saw Tony lick a little girls face. It was his first time seeing a dog kissing someone. He started laughing so hard – his laughter cracked all of us up. He didn’t stop laughing, which egged Tony on even more. For a few moments, you wouldn’t have known we were at the hospital as this little boy’s laughter could be heard throughout the entire building.
A little girl tethered to her stroller was brought in. Tony and I have met her before. Her mom untethered her as Tony sprang into action curious about the little girl who kept hitting herself. Flying fists and all, Tony joined in with her frenzy and followed her fists showering them with kisses everywhere they flew. Even though he got whacked a few times, he kept smooching her as if it were a game.
Our hour flew by.
We were asked on our way out to stop by the “teen” room to say hi to a young man who wanted to meet Tony. He had a Maltese who looked just like him. As we were talking a young father holding a baby girl came in. The little girl’s face was completely deformed and she had a breathing tube. I’ve never seen a condition like this and was thrown for a loop seeing such a little girl so sick. Even though I tried not to show it on the outside, I was completely heartbroken on the inside. Tony wasn’t fazed at all – he wagged his tail at her and I scooped him up to bring him close to her. He gave her a ton of kisses as she began to wiggle and giggle with delight.
It’s pretty amazing how unflappable a dog can be. How unjudgmental. How loving.
No matter what.
If only we can live in the moment and see life through the eyes of a dog.
Susan & Tony
For more information on animal assisted therapy, please visit: www.thegooddogfoundation.org