Participation Therapy

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reaganThe photo shows me participating in an outdoor folk song concert holding a seven month old therapy pup named Reagan. I love her to death. She came into this world to be a supporter of persons in need of unconditional love. She currently is helping a 27 year Army Combat Veteran. He let me hold her. I just couldn’t resist the love in her eyes.

I don’t know why she was named Reagan, but I do know another Reagan who supported a people who were being held behind a wall. He persuaded their captors to tear down that wall. Walls confine, unconditional love frees. Therapy dogs do not hold back. They give freely, especially lovable gentle therapy pups.

They see human frailty. They understand it. They do not condemn it. They accept it. They know it. They are quite simple in their acknowledgement. They bark or they wag, depending. Simplicity is their key to understanding. Dogs understand.

So much so that I have chosen dog characters to narrate a set of exemplary stories I have created that deal with a character named Skibootch. I have written and continue to write short episodes of his life. They are set in a time frame similar to that of life itself – an ongoing continuation. Those episodes I have chosen to call Isaac Patrick Chronicles.

In the Isaac Patrick Chronicles, I created two dogs who discuss the behaviors of the humans in their lives as observers from a far off place. In this set of stories these dogs, you’ll excuse the expression: “Don’t have a dog in the fight.” They are the dogs; the fight goes on among their humans. Dogs are actually the quintessential models for behavior, far better at being loyal, obedient, appreciative, and unconditionally loving, than their human owners.

One dog is named Mollie. She is a Collie who appears in an early story in the series as belonging to Ike and Becky, a Jewish couple. The other dog is named Shaggy. He belongs to Mick and Brigit, my main Irish couple. He is of a mixed breed, close to being a Black Labrador. Dogs like these were part of my earlier life, and I loved them dearly. The feeling was mutual. We were heroes to each other.

I chose to label these stories as Isaac Patrick Chronicles after Isaac and Patrick. Isaac, the name given by Biblical Father Abraham to his son by Sarah, means laughter. It is my label for Jewish humor. My Irish label is Patrick. His name stands, in my view, for connection. The label Isaac Patrick then stands for the humor connection through which we screen out differences. The names are intended to show human connectedness; nothing more. We are all human, and in that sense, equally valuable.

Valuable enough to be considered as family members, no matter how different, annoying, buffoonish, on and on, we might be. We are all still family. Living as long as I have, I learned where life begins and ends.


These chronicles focus on family and its attendant foibles. They let us view humanity from a forgiving perspective. Forgiving to the extent that we have all at one time or another encountered difficulties, and found that humor, while exposing inadequacies, can facilitate understanding as well.

These family stories are intended as flip side views of a family coin. These humorous chronicles show that side in a form of humanity. We all know we have a laughable side. We are actually proud to show it. It humanizes our differences.

In my life I had dogs like Mollie and Shaggy. Male and Female. Collie and Mixed Breed Black Labrador.

They never spoke, but they were able communicators of love.

They were Family as well…

Little Reagan is their introduction. They are the bearers of her inspirational presence. Her message is inclusion – not exclusion, and with its therapy we’ll all get well.

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