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New Book of Therapy Dog stories now available!
Also Available in E-Book!

Therapy Dog Stories :: Transformation of The Heart :: Teri Pichot Have you ever owned a pet that unexpectedly changed your life forever?

Teri Pichot's new book Transformation of the Heart: Tales of the Profound Impact Therapy Dogs Have on Their Humans describes the close relationships of 16 people and their silent but effective friends. If you have a therapy dog or just have a dog for a pet, you will find yourself putting the book down many times while you read these stories just to hug your friend. Tissues are not included! You'll never look at your dog the same way again. What a wonderful book to come along especially in a time when people are experiencing so much uncertainty.

Scroll down to meet the dogs of each chapter, read excerpts, and read reviews.

    Roll pointer over dog to see the dog's name. Click on a dog to read short exerpt.

Rocky Splash Avalanche Jasper Maggie Molly Dinkie Jake Bogie Bobby Lee Rigo Flash Annie Cheyenne Kiowa Topaz Katie Mr. Big

Read the latest reviews and learn what professionals and animal lovers alike are saying about Transformation of the Heart!

These therapy dog stories in this book describe the dogs, their owners, and their work and tell how these 18 dogs have changed the lives of their humans forever.

This engaging, heart warming book tells the stories of 18 therapy dogs. Each of the stories not only tells the tale of how therapy dogs help a person they visit, but equally important, tells the stories of how the therapy dogs heal the soul of their handler in the process. It’s a must read for dog-lovers, therapy dog handlers or those interested in becoming therapy dog handlers, and those studying more formalized Animal Assisted Interventions. This book brings to life the work done by therapy dogs and personalizes the impact the every-day-dog has on its humans. This book not only entertains and shows the value of therapy dogs in the community, but it seeks to inspire as well by taking this mission one step further and challenging the reader to understand how each therapy dog has an equally important role of transforming the life of his or her handler. This revelation that all working dogs have a more subtle role of healing their human family members serves as an invitation to the readers to look to their own pets to discover how they are better people as a result of these endearing pets.

Therapy dogs are becoming increasingly common in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and many other settings throughout our communities. Everywhere these well trained, working dogs go, they attract interest from those of all ages. People smile at the sight of them, and many gather to interact with the animals as they work their magic. While these dogs spark countless miracles in the lives of those with whom they visit, there is an untold story in the heart of every therapy dog. We frequently hear about how therapy dogs touch the people they visit, however we rarely hear how therapy dogs touch their own human partners.

Psychotherapist and author Teri Pichot, brings an important expertise of human behavior to each story as she tells the tales of profound changes that result from being in relationship with therapy dogs. The inclusion of international and national therapy dog registries and a list of suggested reading provide readers with additional resources. Her easy-to-read style makes the book difficult to put down and will forever transform the way you look at your family pet.

Meet the dogs in the chapters

Introduction: Rockefeller (Rocky)

"Rocky, oblivious to my desire to demonstrate to my parents that one can have dogs living peacefully in the house while still having a reasonably clean home, proceeded to walk proudly right in front of my parents with his 'chocolate pants' gently blowing in the breeze. I was humiliated!"

Chapter One: Splash

"It was a dream job, and got her [Michelle] back doing the work she previously did 20 years before. She was able to bring Splash with her to work, and work with other therapy dog teams to help change the lives of patients and staff. Her professional life was falling into place, and she could not be happier. Then the unexpected happened..."

Chapter Two: Avalanche

"...something that one never thinks could ever occur while vacationing, and a risk that is never mentioned on the tranquil vacation brochures. After approximately an hour, a stranger came running up to Susan on the beach; clearly distraught as he frantically relayed that there had been a tragic accident on the water..."

Chapter Three: Maggie*

"As a child, Carry learned to depend on herself. There was no one else upon whom she could depend. Not her family, not God, not anyone. She became the protector with the goal of survival. Late at night she would whisper to her siblings, 'Fairy tales don't teach children that dragons exist. They teach children that dragons were meant to be slain.' Someday.... their pain would end."

Chapter Four: Molly

"And then, to my surprise, she [Lisa, the teacher] became quite emotional, and tears began to form in her eyes as she spoke about her beloved students. While I noted from the beginning she was a very conscientious teacher, I had somehow neglected to see the true depth of emotion she felt for these students. It was then she that she spoke about a young boy named, Jose."

Chapter Five: Dinke

" I could see the anguish in Maggie's eyes when she began to talk about her little buddy's pain. It was only when she started to talk about his life and the joy he brought to her and others that her eyes began to sparkle and I could tell she knew the joy that Dinkie's life had brought was going to help her through the pain that was soon to come."

Chapter Six: Jasper

"...I began implementing the prescribed structured regiment with good success. Mark came home for lunch, and we decided to make an afternoon of it at the neighborhood park...Now I would like to say this story ended by Mark and me smiling sweetly, packing our bags, and inconspicuously leaving the park. Unfortunately, that just would not be true...""

Chapter Seven: Jake

"...Jake had been on the lam prior to ending up at the shelter, and was not accustomed to being around people. His previous owners had had little to no contact with him, and had received multiple citations for 'dog at large.' Jake finally received some much needed attention when the neighbors overheard Jake's [previous] owners discussing drowning little Jake so that they would not have to pay the accumulating fines..."

Chapter Eight: Bogie

A tough looking dog with a warm heart, Bogie is the perfect fit for his work with gang kids who have fallen onto difficult times. He reminds us all to suspend judgment and to remember that even the most callous and hardened creature (canine or human) has a heart of gold just waiting to be discovered.

Chapter Nine: Bobby Lee

Usually it is a dog leading a sight impaired person. Bobby Lee challenges this norm, as this sight impaired dog teaches us that disabilities don’t have to slow one down. He leads by example when he bumps into obstacles by simply stopping, shaking it off, and finding another way.

Chapter Ten: Rigo

Althought initially bred and trained to be a service dog for Guide Dogs for the Blind, Rigo was not able to make the cut. He found a home with Diana and found a second career as a therapy dog. With time he discovered that Diana was not sight impaired but deeply needed his help in other ways.

Chapter Eleven: Flash

"When the time came to take the therapy dog exam, Flash was a champ. He seemed to instinctivly know just how to complete each exercise and how to best read each scenario. However, he did let his true personality shine through when he characteristically refused to sit on command during the test. Flash did what Kathy had seen him do so many times before. He simply pretended not to hear her..."

Chapter Tweleve: Annie

Life does not always go according to plan. Our hopes and dreams sometimes take a painful turn and make us question how we can go on. Annie found Mary at such a turn in her life and helped her get back on track and on with her life despite the unthinkable.

Chapter Thirteen: Cheyenne (First of two dogs)

Cat person Sandie suddenly found herself with two abandoned dogs the family found along the Sante Fe Trail during a family vacation. Little did she know that these two dogs were destined to change her life forever.

Chapter Thirteen: Kiowa (Second of two dogs)

Cat person Sandie suddenly found herself with two abandoned dogs the family found along the Sante Fe Trail during a family vacation. Little did she know that these two dogs were destined to change her life forever.

Chapter Fourteen: Topaz

Life is not fair. Some are rich, some are poor, some have good health, and others struggle with illness. None deserve more than the other, and yet some receive more by the luck of the draw. Topaz teaches us all that success in life is ultimately measured by how we play our hand.

Chapter Thirteen: Katie

Katie can best be described as a dog with emotional baggage. Found wandering the streets by a cat rescue worker, Katie found a home with Anne and together they fought to overcome obstacles to accomplish their dreams.

Chapter Fifteen: Mr. Big

Always an animal lover, Jodi never before had known the joys of an indoor pet before meeting Mr. Big. It was Mr. Big who introduced her to the healing dogs can offer when they share one’s home and heart.

*Names and breed have been changed in chapter three to protect identities.



“The author’s personal stories and experiences interwoven throughout the book not only add delicate warmth but nicely capture the overall essence of the book.”
  - Calyn Crow, LPC, Psychotherapist  
“In reading Transformation of the Heart: Tales of Therapy Dogs’ Profound Impact on their Humans, one can easily reflect on how our own companions have enriched our lives. Therapy handlers readily share the wonderful impact their animals have had on the people they visit, but rarely do we hear how their animals have changed their own lives. I found myself engaged in how each story unfolded and how my own emotions surfaced – strengthening and transforming the relationship I already share with my own companion animals. Beautifully written.”
  - Dianne Bell, Pet Partner Program Manager, Delta Society  
“Stories that will capture your heart.”
  - Aubrey H. Fine Ed.D.  Professor CA Poly University, Licensed Psychologist
 Author- Afternoons with Puppy and the Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy
“My lectures tend to draw animal lovers and people who are captivated by the unique relationships we have with our animals. In fact, that is where I first met Ms. Pichot and Rocky. Teri Pichot and her therapy dogs, Rocky and Jasper, bring to life the concepts we are exploring at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work in the Animal Assisted Social Work Program.

In her new book, Ms. Pichot continues to expand on her unique capacity to tell the story of the Human-Animal Bond and specifically the ways that therapy dogs change our lives, inspire us to be better listeners and communicators, and transform the people and environments that they encounter. Remarkably these dogs help us become humane.

In her first book Ms. Pichot provides us the technical and clinical side of introducing animals into clinical settings and in therapeutic work. Her new book Transformation of the Heart, tells the emotional side of that story. With years of experience and real day-to-day observations from which to draw, Ms. Pichot provides us a beautifully written description and first hand accounting of the amazing work of therapy dog/person teams and their experiences.

I especially enjoyed this book because I am always requiring that my students avoid utilizing the statement that Animal Assisted Therapy appears to be somewhat magical. I do understand the sentiment however when we observe these interactions between people and dogs. Appreciating the power that is at work and determining how we explain the ways it changes us, open our hearts and allow us to find our own humanity . . . often with such simplicity, grace, and wonder. Ms. Pichot has offered us a detailed and personal journey into the working of these relationships. She leaves nothing hidden or untouched. Arguably, the most important work of Renaissance philosopher Rene Descartes was The Passions of the Soul, which has proved to be the most indelible discussion of human emotions. Ms. Pichot’s stories reveal and define these human emotions, and we can not help but feel 'touched.' This can be described as 'Passion' which Descartes chose to define this as, 'Those perceptions, sensations or emotions of the soul which we refer particularly to it, and which are caused, maintained and strengthened by some movement of the spirits' and if other readers are like myself, they will certainly conclude that the dogs and people in Transformation of The Heart  have been touched by this passion of the soul.”
  - Philip Tedeschi, LCSW, Assistant Clinical Professor
 Founder/Co-Director of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection
 Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver