Shine On! Kids is excited to see Ty and Masa, the first two Hospital Facility Dogs raised and trained in Japan, start working full-time this year! We hope that in spite of the challenges of Covid, the final stages of their training go smoothly so they can both start bringing peace, strength and joy to everyone they meet in the hospital.
We are so grateful for everyone who has been supporting Shine On! Kids as a volunteer, donor or corporate partner during crazy, crazy 2020. This month we introduce some friends who have helped with the furry members of Shine On! Kids:-)
Kim Forsythe, President
It takes a village…
Our amazing Hospital Facility Dog trainer, Marina Rodriguez, is the one who has been responsible for raising and training our two puppies – Ty and Masa – to become Hospital Facility Dogs. But to properly socialize them, expose them to people of different ages, in different circumstances, in different places… requires a team of dedicated people. Everyone in the photo below (and even some who were not in this photo) has given their time and love and care over the past 18 months to support Ty and Masa’s journey toward working full-time in a hospital. Thank you puppy sitters and puppy supporters – we couldn’t do it without you!
Volunteer of the Month
This month, we introduce our main puppy sitter for Masa over the past year and a half – Kate Klippensteen!
Why did you get involved as a puppy sitter for Shine On! Kids?
Easy. My love of dogs and Shine On Kids. I’ve rescued a few dogs in my long years working as a journalist based in Tokyo. And they’ve enriched my life beyond measure. Having had the honor of knowing Tyler Ferris, and seeing SOK launch years ago, I wanted to get involved in the fledgling puppy program in Japan as it is quite a milestone.
What has Masa given me?
Masa has given me inestimable joy. (And on a practical level the latest in dog training tips, thanks to the incredible Marina Rodriguez.) He has helped deepen relations I have with several neighbors, as Masa has made friends not only with them but also their dogs, their children’s dogs and their cats.
Most weekends and holidays he makes the rounds of his second turf, Shirokanedai, to greet his scores of admirers who love his friendliness and courteous manner. He’s a huge star, and walking ambassador for SOK, and will surely shine bright in his upcoming career.
Some Extra-special Schools
Toward the end of last year, our Hospital Facility Dogs in Training visited some schools in the Tokyo area to both educate the students about the work that our dogs do, and give our pups a chance to practice their interactions with children. Please know that strict, Covid-safe protocols were followed in all visits:-)
The British School In Tokyo
Lucia Jackson’s family have been long-time puppy sitters for Ty since he was just tiny! When Lucia had an assignment to write about her “Passion Project”, she chose to write about Ty. Ty and Trainer Marina visited the British School in Tokyo to help Lucia explain to her classmates what it’s like to be an official puppy sitter as well as introduce the very important work Ty will soon be doing in the hospital!
Komazawa Park International School
It was a beautiful day for Masa, Trainer Marina and awesome puppy sitter, Rosa Jones to visit the students at Komazawa Park International school. The students had learned about Hospital Facility Dogs, as well as how to approach and care for dogs in general. We’d also like to extend a huge thanks to the families and staff of the school for the very generous donation as part of their fundraising drive!!!
Oakwood Tokyo International School
No sooner had Oakwood International School opened its doors to students for the first time in April 2020 – and Covid hit and they had to close temporarily. So we were especially chuffed when they contacted Shine On! Kids asking to have us as the beneficiary of their first school fundraiser! Their volunteer parents helped at our Beads of Courage table…
And Ty stayed around for pats from all of the visitors!