Meet Toby The The Legged Therapy Poodle

Meet Toby The Therapy Dog!

Dogs bring joy to their families, but not everyone is lucky enough to have a dog, especially those who need their love the most. Pet therapy teams consist of a therapy dog (or cat, or almost any other kind of domestic animal,) and a handler who brings them to hospitals, schools, nursing homes and other places where people could use some cheering up. Program like Caring Canines make sure the animals are friendly, gentle and well-suited for therapy work.

Toby’s Story

Toby is a 7-year-old Toy Poodle who was found by the side of a road in Mississippi in April 2013. He was all alone, and he had a shattered pelvis and a severely broken leg. He had two surgeries: one to place a metal plate in his pelvis to hold his hip together, and another to amputate his left hind leg, which was injured beyond repair.

In a short period of time, Toby learned to live with just three legs. Despite his trauma, he was happy to get a second chance at life, and ready to help heal others too.

Toby was placed on a pet transport truck to find his forever home up north. This is how he was adopted by Wendi, founder of A Better Way Pet Sitting Services.

Toby On The Job

Soon after adopting Toby, Wendi spoke to a friend who had been a pet therapy handler for a few years. She knew that her Toby, with his positive outlook and sweet demeanor, would be perfect for the job. Through his inspiring story, and his love and devotion, he proved to be determined for a bigger purpose.

In September 2014, just over a year since he was found by the side of the road, Wendi began therapy work with Toby. He had a natural talent for making friends, and has never met someone he didn’t love right away.

Sometimes, Wendi and Toby travel with other Caring Canines teams in community rooms at hospices, assisted living facilities and special needs classrooms, giving each person a chance to interact with each dog for a few minutes. At other times, they go for individual bedside hospital visits – his absolute favorite. At just 8 pounds, he’s able to snuggle up in patients. Even nurses appreciate getting love from Toby as relief from their demanding jobs.

There’s nothing Toby loves more than going visiting – Wendi can’t say the word “visit,” around him unless it’s really time to go do therapy work – he goes nuts when he thinks he’s going out to make new friends!

Are You Interested In Becoming A Therapy Dog Handler?

If your dog loves meeting new people, but is gentle enough to work with kids, the disabled and the elderly, they will love therapy work. Go to to get started.

Hungry Bowls Pet Food Drive 2017

Our 2nd Hungry Bowl Pet Food Drive: Donate To Help Feed More Shelter Pets!

A Better Way Pet Sitting cares for the pets in Massachusetts homes every day. We also do our best to care for shelter pets who have not yet found their Forever Home. During the month of October, we’re collecting pet food donations (new, unopened bags of kibble and canned food) that will benefit pets at the Northeast Animal Shelter and MSPCA Nevins Farm.

This is our second annual Hungry Bowl Pet Food Drive, a community outreach program sponsored by Pet Sitters International (PSI). We’re joining pet sitters from around the world to join forces with pet owners like you to provide local shelters with much-needed resources.

You can contribute to the cause by donating any cat or dog food. Stock up on extra food next time you go shopping for your own pets.You can shop sales or use coupons to stretch your dollar. Any brand or variety will be put to good use.

Here’s 2 convenient ways you can donate pet food:

Leave Donations For Your Pet Sitter

Donating pet food is easy if your home is visited by A Better Way Pet Sitting.

Simply leave your donation on your kitchen counter and a note to indicate that it is for the Hungry Bowl Pet Food Drive.

We’ll be collecting donations from October 1 through October 15th.

Bring Donations To Your Elementary School

Pet food collection barrels will be available in Burlington elementary school lobbies. Send your child to school with your donations and have them deposit the food in the collection barrel. Kids love helping out, and this is a great opportunity for them to make a real difference while learning about helping the animals in their community.

Last year, Burlington students donated 473 pounds of cat and dog food! We know this year will be another great success.

Collection Barrels will be in these elementary school lobbies:

Francis Wyman School Lobby from Monday, October 2nd to Friday, October 13th. 

Fox Hill School Lobby from Monday, October 2nd to Friday, October 13th. 

Memorial School Lobby from Monday, October 16th to Friday, October 27th

Pine Glen School Lobby from Monday, October 16th to Friday, October 27th

More Ways To Make A Difference For Our Local Shelter Pets

You can also make cash donations directly to Northeast Animal Shelter and MSPCA Nevins Farm.

Please also consider volunteering, fostering and adopting. Shelters always need supplies and extra help, and will be happy to match you with a wonderful new addition to your family.

Your Guide To The Best Massachusetts Dog Beaches

The Best Dog Beaches In Massachusetts (Plus Dog Beach Safety Tips)

Heading to the beach this summer? Why not take your dog?

Dogs love to dig in the damp sand, splash in the waves, and kick up sand as they run around. A sunny day at the beach is perfect for tiring out your energetic puppy, but also a great opportunity to take a relaxed stroll with a senior dog. Every dog has its day at the beach!

Most beaches allow dogs off-season, but our favorites allow our furry friends to enjoy a day with us even in the summer. Here’s some of our favorite local beaches that allow dogs year-round:

Best Year-Round Dog Beaches In Massachusetts

Marshfield Beaches – Marshfield, MA

Website – Phone: 781-536-2500 x294

Dogs are allowed on-leash. With miles of pet-friendly beach, this is one of the most popular places to take your dog along the Massachusetts shore.

Marconi Beach, Cahoon Hollow And White Crest – Wellfleet, MA

Dogs are allowed on-leash year-round, away from lifeguard protected sections, but only before 9AM and after 5PM.

Plymouth Long Beach – Plymouth, MA

Website – Phone: 508-747-1620

Dogs are allowed on-leash year-round, all day long.

Francis Street Beach – Nantucket, MA

Website – Phone: N/A

Dogs are allowed on-leash year-round.

Cape Cod National Seashore – Cape Cod, MA

Website – Phone: (508) 255-3421

Dogs are allowed on-leash year-round, away from lifeguard protected sections, and some other exceptions depending on the time of year. See website or call for more details.

Nauset Light Beach – Eastham, MA

Dogs are allowed on-leash year-round.

What You Should Bring To The Dog Beach

  • Water and a travel bowl
  • Treats for working on training, and to get your dog’s attention if they accidentally get loose
  • A muzzle if your dog is aggressive with other dogs, or likes to eat trash
  • Poop bags
  • Towels for sitting on the sand and cleaning your dog before they get back in the car
  • Hydrating, dog-friendly snacks like watermelon, apples, cucumber or carrots
  • Paw wax, dog shoes or other paw protection against hot sand
  • Harness and collar with up-to-date tags and microchip
  • Dog-friendly sunscreen for dogs prone to sunburn – those with sparse hair, pink skin
  • Toys that float and are easy to clean

Should You Let Your Dog Off-Leash At The Beach?

Most dog beaches have posted rules about letting dogs off-leash. They typically require a 6-foot leash, but may have some sections for off-leash play, or may be more lax about leash laws when it’s not summer. Even so, you may notice other dog owners breaking the rules.

Regardless of the rules, it’s best to keep your dog on a flat, 6-foot leash. Some loose dogs will be friendly, but others may fight with your dog. Your dog could run into the road, chase after wildlife, or eat something gross.

Unless your dog is reliable off-leash AND you’re permitted to let them run loose, use a leash. If it’s safe to do so, you can clip together a few leashes or use a long line to give your dog some extra freedom.

Retractable leashes are not recommended; they’re known for causing injuries.

When You Can’t Bring Your Dog – Call Us!

Many beaches in Massachusetts don’t allow dogs at all. Sometimes, it makes sense to leave your dog at home so you can shop inside stores, eat inside restaurants, and go to concerts and shows. Your dog won’t hold it against you if you spend some time without them.

Contact us before your trip to set up a consultation. Then, we’ll have a pet sitter available for you whenever you go on vacation without your pets. We’re happy to help your summer plans go off without a hitch!