Freckles/A Pet Therapy Hero

        In 2000 Paul Howey was hiking in the Arizona Desert and came across a small dog and her six puppies.  They had been abandoned, and were near death.  He adopted the dog and named it Freckles.

        Mr. Howey began to realize the dog had special qualities, and got Freckles involved in pet therapy.  She became a star.  The dog was good with all ages, but became a specialist in Pediatrics, and visited children in hospitals in N.C. and throughout the Southeast.  Mr. Howey wrote an award winning children’s book on Freckles.

        We country docs had long noticed our elderly patients who owned pets seemed to do better, but in recent years studies have begun to confirm the phenomenon.  If you don’t know much about pet therapy, Freckle’s story is a good place to start.  She was a pro.

        Recently Freckles passed away.  She had done so much good work in Asheville they wrote her up in the newspaper.  For some reason I was unable to get the link to work, but you can read about Freckles in the Asheville Citizen-Times, July 30, 2008 issue, or in Mr. Paul Howey’s book, “Freckles: The Mystery of the Little White Dog in the Desert.”

        Mr. Howey is the editor of the Laurel Magazine of Asheville, which can be accessed on my blogroll.  If you are in Western N.C., and want to know where to go and what to do, get a copy of the Laurel.  It’ll point you in the right direction.  (And some guy named Tom Bibey writes for his bluegrass beat, so I find it very authentic.)

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: Dogs/Pets


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8 Comments on “Freckles/A Pet Therapy Hero”

  1. Cindy Carter Says:

    No big surprise for me about pets. They love you unconditionally, which is something everyone craves. Also, they give you a purpose. You take care of them. They take care of you. I am glad that I grew up in a family that absolutely loved animals. They have always and will always be a part of my life.

    Ranger Dog gets his bandage and his lampshade off today. YIPPEE! He is almost back to “normal”.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    I am glad Ranger Dog lives on to defend another day!

    Dr. B

  3. Cindy Carter Says:

    There is a book I just recently read, Merle’s Door. It was really good. About a man and his dog. You would probably enjoy that one too.

  4. Thanks, my friend, for writing about our wonderful pup Freckles. She will be sorely missed. Her older “brother” Leegle Beagle following in her paw prints by now wearing the pet therapy vest and continuing her work with children. The Citizen-Times article can be found at:

  5. drtombibey Says:

    Hey Boss,

    Freckles was a heroine. Now, if we can just convince all humans to conduct themselves in such a manner.

    Dr. B

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    Thanks so much. Folks, this is another good reference for pet lovers everywhere.

    Dr. B

  7. Karen Says:

    Never underestimate the power of pure acceptance and love! Loved reading about Freckles…thanks. (BTW although I am waaaaay over the other side of the world in Brisbane, Australia, I actually know Asheville, N.C. – my husband went to school at Mt Pisgah Academy. We visited there a few years ago for a school reunion – beautiful part of the world!!)

  8. drtombibey Says:


    Australia! Wow, I think you get the award for the reader from the farthest away!

    When I was a kid we had family reunions and there was always a prize for whoever drove the longest distance, but it was usually somewhere like Georgia.

    My wife and I want to go the Australia when (?if) I retire. I once played golf with Bob Charles from New Zealand. He talked like it was really beautiful over there.

    Dr. B

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