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In 1999 I received a call from my vet asking if I would be interested in rescuing a black lab. The dog had been wandering around and efforts to find his owner had not been successful. I went to meet the pup and fell in love with the skinny dirty dog. He was christened Elmo by my son Austin and has been a joy for our family ever since.

Elmo is a therapy dog with Hand In Paw in Birmingham Alabama. He has been a huge part in helping to develop a program at The Bell Center for Early Intervention. At The Bell Center he has worked with toddlers with developmental delays for the past five years. He has been the motivation for children to take their first steps and to say words when they do not often talk to humans. He moves through an obstacle course with each child pretending to jump on a trampoline, going through a tunnel and chasing balls throw by the children. As Elmo has gotten older, his favorite activities are playing with puzzles, shape sorters, and reading books, where his patient gaze helps to keep the children focused on the activity. He also works at Birmingham Speech and Hearing with a speech and language pathologist to encourage children with autism spectrum disorder to initiate speech and improve social skills. Even after experiencing major surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed in 2007 he has not lost his love for his work with the children. Rescuing Elmo has been a blessing to not only us but also to the hundreds of families that he has shared his love with.


Elmo was featured as an ANIMAL HERO on The Animal Rescue Site in February 2009.


Melinda C. Davis
Birmingham, AL

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