Richard moved to Bozeman Montana with his Golden Pyrenees mix, “Sandy”. He wanted a friend for his girl, and Heart of the Valley had a beautiful Australian Shepherd available for adoption. Heart of the Valley called this girl, who had been deaf from birth, “Penny”. When Richard met Penny, he said, “What does that matter?” and changed her name to PennyWhat. They adopted each other right away and the fun began. Richard taught PennyWhat hand signals and the three of them had many adventures hiking in the mountains around Bozeman.
As time passed, Sandy took her final hike to the Rainbow Bridge, and Richard decided that PennyWhat needed a new friend. After searching online, Richard found the Double J Dog Ranch in Idaho. The Double J cares and finds forever homes for dogs with disabilities. Driving through the smoke of the forest fires, Richard and PennyWhat traveled 400 plus miles to meet a four year old mini Australian shepherd that looked like he could be PennyWhat’s twin, only smaller. He too had been deaf from birth, and soon became known as LokiWhat. PennyWhat and LokiWhat became instant best friends. Richard knew there was something special about these two, and decided to give them a job.
Richard began with basic training for PennyWhat and LokiWhat. In their class, the two of them sat, laid down, and did everything together. Their instructor was amazed. Trying to find a dog trainer for deaf therapy dogs became a challenge, but finally, the Alliance of Therapy Dogs agreed.
So the journey began. The What dogs have a job! All three are giving back to our community, with regular visits to Bozeman Health, offering comfort to patients there. Their most recent adventure was visiting the Veteran’s Hospital at Fort Harrison in Helena, Montana. LokiWhat and Richard spent over 4 hours visiting soldiers there. Richard says it was a wonderful experience giving back to our country and soldiers.
Richard is looking forward to a busy year with the Therapy What Dogs and although the What dogs cannot hear, they hear with their hearts. Richard says that when their vests go on, they know it’s time to work! When they’re not working, they are off exploring the mountains in this beautiful valley. We are so proud of these two and are very happy and grateful to care for these beloved dogs.
Thank you for all you do Richard, PennyWhat and LokiWhat!