THERAPY - MONTWOOD ARISTA’S SIZZLIN’ DELCREST - “SIZZLE”
Owners: Tom and Mary Mulligan
Sizzle was born in September 2003, a month before the devastating Cedar Fires struck. She, along with her littermates, were evacuated and living out of a van for several days. It just seemed appropriate to give all of the pups names related to the fire.
Soon after her birth, it was apparent that she was going to be the next Montwood/Arista Champion following in the footsteps of both her parents. Around 4 months of age, Pat noticed that her rear leg was a little swollen at the hock. A few weeks went by with the swelling coming and going but never completely gone. As Pat’s outside area had a lot of levels and the inside were tile floors, she asked if Sizzle could come stay with me for several weeks as my back yard was flat with grass and the entire inside was carpet. It was thought that this would be easier on her leg without the continuous banging on the floors and running up and down terraces. Within 1 week of living with her, I knew I couldn’t let her go because of her lovingly sweet personality. After begging, groveling and making many promises, she became my dog. We waited a few more weeks and still no improvement in her leg. My husband (who is a veterinarian) decided to take her in for X-rays and firm up a diagnosis. As it turned out she had a malignant synovial cyst on her hock. A rare form of cancer that normally affects only dogs over 8 years old. At the age of six months, her only two options were amputation or euthanasia. It took no thought for us to decide on amputation and hope for a cancer free recovery. At the time, I was advised by several people that due to her age and previous activity level, if we chose this avenue, she would have no ‘quality of life”. How wrong they were.
A year later she earned a CGC and shortly after that, she passed the WAE with top scores. A few months later I heard a talk about therapy dogs and knew that this was Sizzle’s niche in life. She breezed through the training and probation period with Love on a Leash and received her ThD degree. Several times during the month, Sizzle visits with Senior/Convalescent Homes. Many of these residents had to leave their beloved pets when they entered these facilities and look forward to their time with Sizzle. She gives each one a special touch of warmth and love before leaving.
She was then invited to join a second therapy group, Our Best Friends, and visit Balboa Naval Hospital, primarily with the amputees coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Through her empathy and example, she has changed lives over and over again in this capacity, not only with the patients but also with the Medical Staff, as well as, other Volunteers. She is a perfect example of accepting your disabilities and excelling despite them. Due to her remarkable contributions to the Patients of Balboa Naval Hospital, she was requested to sit on stage beside her beloved Servicemen during their Rehabilitation Conference. As her popularity grew, Sizzle was also asked to visit the ICU, Pediatrics and Psychology departments. She was even asked to visit an expectant mother in the Obstetrical Ward.
In her down time, Sizzle is also part of a program to assist children with reading disabilities, some with mental and physical disabilities. Several of these children were actually afraid of dogs before Sizzle came into their lives, now they can’t wait for her visits and insist on giving her a hug before she goes.
At home, Sizzle lives with four other Dobermans and a Dachshund. When she sits her mind to it, she can out run, out jump and out smart all of them. She willingly accepts any challenge and through determination and strength of character accomplishes life to the fullest, despite her disability.
I have been owned by many Dobermans over the last 40 years and she stands at the top of the list for courage, tenacity, understanding and unconditional love.
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