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Pictured here is Von Blumberg's Suzi Freckles, a Chocolate Parti Cocker Therapy Dog better known as Suzi. Sadly, Suzi is no longer with us. She is somewhere over the rainbow chasing those glorious bird angels in the sky. In the time she blessed us with, she was honored by Dr. Tammy Brodie DVM who endorsed Suzi as a candidate for the Therapy Companion Animal of the Year Award that was put on by the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association. The recipient of The Companion Animal of the Year Award was determined by a panel of judges appointed by the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association. The award presented recognized a companion animal, which exemplifies the affection, loyalty, security and value of the human/animal bond. Suzi was selected as an Honorable Mention winner.

A little about Suzi and how the nomination came about: When Suzi was real young she was taught to be a show dog, but her heart wasn't there. Then she discovered a new meaning to her life and something that she could do that would help children and also make lonely children and adults feel real good inside. Suzi then started going with her owner, Carol, to visit the elementary schools. Carol and Suzi taught a program designed by the University of Washington called the Prevent-A-Bite Program. It targets young children to help them know how to act around strange dogs and also their own pets to help prevent dog bites and attacks. They also talk to the children about how to correctly train their own pets so they will be good pets for them plus shows good and bad games to play with their pets so as not to teach them aggression type games. Besides going to the schools in the Montcalm County area, Carol and Suzi also went to a local hospital each month to sing songs and play with the residents in the extended care unit. Carol took brushes so the residents could use them on Suzi to help them with their coordination. They loved to feel Suzi's soft hair. Carol put big full fancy ribbons on Suzi's ears and had a special ruffle collar around her neck that was a different color each month with a special collar on the holidays, plus they took hand-out treats to the patients. Suzi also worked as a Therapy Dog with Special Needs children and adults. Both Carol and Suzi felt they might be able to reach some children and adults that are deep within themselves. Not only did Suzi love people outside her family, but also truly loved her owner. Suzi loved the feel of lying close to Carol's body in the crook of her legs and when Carol gently caressed Suzi's soft hair. Suzi watched out for Carol and let her know when danger might be present, yet she was so gentle her bark was more of a soft muffle. Suzi's owner and best friend was Carol Blumberg. Carol is still very proud of Suzi and continues to love her with deep compassion that passes all understanding. Although Suzi may not still be with us physically, she still fills our hearts with her endless love and her spirit continues to live on in all she touched.

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