Valentine- 2023 Purple Paw Award Recipient

My name is Valentine Fearless Yellowstone RN FDC SCN SIN SEN THDA CGCA CGCU TKN ATT BN-V FITG. I am a 3 ½ year old Chocolate Labrador. I have never met a stranger; everyone I meet is a friend, and I love all people and animals.

I consider myself to be an average, loving Labrador. I was asked to write about my two jobs. My job at home is to care for my kitty, Arabella. I heard about Arabella when I was at the vet. Arabella was neglected and left for dead. We met and it was truly love at first sight. We adopted her into our family, and she became my very best friend.

When she first moved into our house, she was very scared of people and her new environment. I slept with her night after night, right by her crate. She would put her paw out on my back or head and I would give her kisses and tell her no one was ever going to hurt her again. I always make sure she knows she’s safe. Since then, we have made progress! Now she sleeps on the bed with me, and we snuggle most of the night. Sometimes she will even come and sleep in my crate. My Arabella is afraid of people, but she lets our human feed and pet her and sometimes she lets the human sleep in our bed. I am so thankful to those kind people who found Arabella, Pet Paw-see, the Realtor, as well as Dr. Gilligan at Animal Medical Clinic and the veterinarians and staff at Big Sky Animal Hospital, who worked as a team to save my friend and provide us the opportunity to live our lives together.

My job outside of the home is as a Therapy Dog, certified with the Alliance for Therapy dogs. I have been a certified therapy dog for 14 months. Since receiving my certification, I have completed over 110 visits, and volunteered over 150 hours. My goal each day is to make someone smile or someone’s day just a little better. For me, it’s not about having the title, but about improving people’s days and making a difference in their lives.

My human helps me do what I love to do. She drives me to the various locations in Great Falls and Fort Benton where I work. Whether I am in an assisted living, a skilled nursing facility, the hospital, hospice, summer camps for kids, offices, people’s homes, etc., I spread love and joy. Sometimes I work with just my human at a location, but my favorite days are when some of my other Certified Therapy dog friends come with their humans too. My fellow Canine Therapists are all unique and amazing, as are their humans. They all deserve this recognition too. We have 8-9 teams certified in our area through the Alliance of Therapy dogs and we would love to have many more.

People say that I have an amazing ability to know just what to do when I am with people who need me. I can be calm and just listen or I can be lively and loving. I am a kind soul with a big heart. There are no strangers in my world. I gravitate to seniors, especially those who have disabilities or dementia. I love that they will pet me and share their stories. I try to teach kids to be kind, to share, and treat others with respect.

When I am not working, I have several hobbies. I love scent work; it’s like a game of hide and seek. I started that this year, and I am already at the advanced level! I also love rally and agility. My newest hobby is called FAST CAT (it’s like a hundred-yard dash for dogs). Most of all, I love that I get to spend time with my human. My human is so proud of me. I learn new tricks and I have taught my human a few tricks too.

I feel very humbled and honored to be the recipient of this award. It is my dream that everyone will be kind to all animals. If you don’t already have a feline or canine companion in your life, please consider getting one. If having a companion isn’t something that your lifestyle supports, there are many other ways to help, like volunteering. I hope that you will each consider ways that you can make our community a better place for people and animals.

Thank you again for this nomination.

Love and Licks,

Valentine Fearless Yellowstone