Touching Lives, Warming Hearts

Through Human & Animal Interactions

Maggie Hopwood

Maggie Hopwood

January 4, 2001 – August 8, 2011

Click here to see more pics and view Maggie’s beautiful story in her “own” words.

One of the hardest things about my job with KPETS is seeing so many dear therapy dogs pass on to their next life in heaven. We jusst lost another of our first thearpy dogs, Maggie – Maggie Hopwood, who shared her life with Carol and Bill Hopwood for 10.5 years.

As you know, one of the things KPETS tries to do for volunteers is match them up with the right type of therapy visits for them, as well as their pet. One of our very first matches was many years ago in KPETS infancy with Carol Hopwood and her dear Golden girl, Maggie. I initially ran into Carol with Maggie at Pawsabilities in Harrisburg Farm Show Arena; Maggie was so stressed by all the commotion and noise. Talking with Carol about her precious girl and how to introduce her to situations gradually lead from one conversation, to meetings, to a wonderful relationship with KPETS. Carol worked with Maggie and became one of our most reliable volunteer teams.

Soon after Maggie passed all the requirements and became official, I got a call from Maggie Hackman, a cognitive therapist at Acadia, a head trauma facility in Lancaster. She was looking for a pet therapy volunteer to come in weekly and work with her group of clients doing some AAT. I met with Maggie (human therapist) along with Sammy, my Golden, to see what she was specifically looking for. It seemed like a great opportunity for KPETS – really one of our first AAT assignments. I wanted so badly to do it with Sammy, but he was already quite busy and I knew I’d have to let this one go to someone else. POP, the light bulb went on! What about Carol and Maggie! The same setting each week…mostly the same clients… perfect for this dear little Golden! That was the beginning of a seven year relationship. The one story I tell so frequently at Orientation or presentations is that at Acadia, the clients would remember Maggie the dog’s name, BUT after years of working with Maggie, their human therapist, they still did not remember HER name. Week after week , Carol and Maggie would visit this group with Maggie playing fetch, getting brushed, and helping the clients follow simple instructions and teamwork – not to mention lots of treats. Plus Carol and Maggie did so many other things together, as well.

Carol told me, the week before she passed, “she did her usual Tuesday ‘job’ sitting with me at the KnitWit church meeting and then off to St. Anne’s to visit our 103 year old parishioner. This was her usual trek through the halls with many pats and tail wags. Then on Wednesday she always (since we had to carry her in as a puppy) went with us to the Senior Center where we picked up the meals to deliver. The people there always looked forward to her visits and her tennis ball romps. Over the years she received Christmas gifts from them even! Just like the clients at Acadia did when they gave her their hand painted/printed cards.” Also in Carol’s email, she told me she and her husband, Bill “would like to set up a Memorial for Maggie to benefit KPETS.” Donations received here on this page in Maggie’s honor will be acknowledged by a card sent from KPETS to the Hopwoods recognizing your donation and to you, the donor, as well.

Carol and Bill, our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Thank you for your generosity and dedication to KPETS with Maggie all these years. Please know you are not alone as Maggie will be missed by so very many of her friends she made through the years.

WORK AND THE BALL: by Maggie HopwoodWould you believe I was the 3rd choice? Mom (human) and Dad (human) selected one of my sisters but Marlene (breeder) said no due to an eye problem. Then they picked out another pup and took it home, thinking it was a girl. Later that night Marlene, very chagrined, called and said that she was a he. Marlene got in her car in Maryland and an hour later, I replaced #2- the “he” pup. Mom and Dad almost didn’t want to part with #2 but Marlene insisted that she was sure that I was a girl. So that’s how I began my life on Woodshead on February 24, 2001.I was one of 8 pups born to Sari and Jake on January 4, 2001.
I was 9lbs. when I got there but by November, I weighed 64lbs.. So this is my story. Those early months were filled with a lot of playtime and love from Mom and Dad and their friends. Somewhere in that time, I played with a lot of toys–bones and other things– but the first time I saw a “tennis ball” roll my way, I was hooked. It was so much fun to chase it and bring it back, but I wouldn’t release it without a tussle. So my obsession with the ball began and remained until the end.Early on, Mom recognized that I was smart and that I liked all kinds of humans (dogs were okay) so she began to take me to training classes. Then I advanced to therapy training and was approved by the Delta Society. It was a “piece of cake”(or biscuit). Mom said I was WORKING whenever I visited humans but it wasn’t hard at all. Then Mom met Karen (who runs KPETS) and Mom thought I could be approved by them. I did and was then able to proudly wear a KPETS vest for visits to humans. I first visited Brethren Village residents–they loved me. Then Mom and I started to visit the clients at Acadia Rehab Center. We were the first team to start dog therapy there and did it weekly for four years. The clients would brush my fur and hide the ball but I always found it. They learned my name-Maggie; but couldn’t remember the therapist’s name. Guess what- it was Maggie too!

Since the time when I was a pup, Mom and Dad took me to the Senior Center to greet the seniors before we delivered the Meals on Wheels. The Center also had a ball! I even donated blood when I was young at the clinic at University of PA – it didn’t hurt. We visited Oak Leaf Manor residents and even attended church services there. We visited Miss Dolly at Woodcrest Villa, then at Oak Leaf and then at St. Anne’s. Miss Dolly said I was “pathetic”, but she sure liked to pet me. After all, she is 103 years young.

I also worked at reading classes for kids at the Mountville Library. That was easy. Mom also took me to the Knit-Wit meetings. The ladies talked and knitted and talked and talked and I usually slept. Father Stephen usually said hello and he blessed me many times at church services. I also visited Dad’s brother in New York; he loved dogs, so of course, I was welcome. I attended the United Day of Caring with Mom for many years usually at Conestoga View. I visited Moravian Manor and the Mennonite Home to see humans. Only Miss Dolly said I was “pathetic” but I knew it was a compliment.

My Mom sometimes dressed me in a costume especially at Halloween. I was a Dallas cowgirl but Dad and human brother Doug didn’t like it so they insisted I dress as a Steelers. That KPETS human Karen even made me a “poster child” with other dogs on a brochure.
So my working life was not that hard. Mom called it work but I certainly liked it when the humans would pet me, especially when they scratched my nose or ears. And if they had a ball, that was the best.
Now I’d like to talk about my non-working life at Woodshead and the things and times I liked the best. I liked to sleep late in the morning on the rug at the foot of their bed. Dad would try to rouse me but I would “play tired” and make him stretch my legs before I would arise. Sometimes Mom would cover me with the edge of the bedspread but I wouldn’t move until they told me that I had to pee and poop (outside). Then I insisted on a handful of cereal before I ate my kibble.


After breakfast, I was interested in the ball, always and forever. Dad seemed to have an endless supply of tennis balls. It’s good that he did because they got a little slimy and dirty when I would retrieve them from the woods. I loved it when Dad or Doug would throw it far when I wasn’t looking. Then I would do circles until I sniffed it and brought it back. Doug could throw it much further than Dad. Then I learned how to catch it off the garage roof. When I caught it (7 out of 10 times on a good day), I’d chew it for awhile before releasing it. They couldn’t pull it from my mouth unless I let them. I could even bark with the ball in my mouth but it wasn’t very impressive. I also liked to roll on my back and try to roll on the ball.

Boy, did I like it when it snowed! Chasing the ball in the snow was great fun. I sometimes needed directional signals to find it because it didn’t make a big hole in the snow.

When we got a big snow, I had a little trouble doing #1 or #2 because I wasn’t that tall. After fun in the snow I loved to dry out in front of their woodstove.Then there were the daily “Happy Hour” sessions at 5PM which Mom and Dad called “attitude adjustment”. Mom and Dad got their scotch and SC and I got my Maggie-sized (small) ice cubes. After the cubes, I was treated to some cut-up vegetables. In good weather we had “Happy Hour” on the deck. If I was good (95% of the time), I got an extra treat- a scotch-flavored cube. One time they gave me a Hammond’s pretzel and I was hooked. When Doug came over, he would tease me by placing a Hammond’s just out of my reach; but he would eventually give in when I gave him my “pathetic” look. When on the deck, once in a while, I would lift my nose and smell the scent of a deer or turkey. Mom and Dad eventually caught on when my tail was straight up.
I loved that house and the woods– I never once ran away. There was no need to do so- everything I wanted was there except the squirrels. I never caught one though I tried-didn’t even come close. I was not a “happy camper” when the wind picked up before a storm. I could always tell when they were coming-something like a sixth dog sense. Thunder and lightning was the worst– I couldn’t stop shaking. That’s when I received extra attention from Mom and Dad. They even bought me a “thunder shirt” to wear but it was no use. We “gutted it out” together in a corner. I also did not like to go to Terri, the groomer. I resisted but they insisted. I have to admit that I looked prettier after the four-hour ordeal.


As I got older, my joints started to hurt and I limped sometimes. Sometimes Mom would give me some medication to help. I also developed some lumps on my body and the fur on my nose turned almost all gray, just like Dad’s hair. But my intelligence never faded and I learned to tolerate pain.
I really never wanted to be away from humans especially Mom, Dad, and Doug. I even liked to visit the neighbor lady and neighbor man when Mom and Dad were away for short periods of time. Mom and Dad even took me on their last vacation.To please my parents, I walked their treadmill whenever they insisted. One time, I did it for 26 minutes non-stop. They had a big issue over my “bathroom” habits. They expected me to do #2 at least 3-4 times a day so sometimes I just faked it. I know Dad was jealous of my abilities in this area.

I always knew my commands-sit, down, stay, come, etc. but sometimes I would make them repeat it two or three times before I obeyed. Mom even thought I could shake my right or left paw on command, but I would keep doing either one until she smiled. I would even let Mom brush my teeth once a week. I could even run through Mom’s flower beds with minimum damage. I did have trouble sliding down the driveway when it was icy. I used to sit under the counter next to their stools when they ate for two reasons: sometimes a crumb would fall, and to reassure them I was close. I could produce a low growl when something was amiss and I barked at all cars coming up the drive way.My second favorite toy after the ball was the “sock” which was really a rubber pull. Dad and I played with it until he got tired. Dad always said I had a soft bite– I really didn’t want to hurt him.So that pretty much covers my personal life.

Nighttime was good because I got five Milk bones before retiring. Then I would settle down and give them a big sigh and they knew I was ready to sleep. Once in a while, my dreams became active and noisy – I was just hunting for my ball.
I lived a good life and enjoyed myself. I think I helped a lot of those humans I met along the way. I know that I helped my Mom, Dad and brother Doug. They sometimes got mad at me but when I blinked my long eye lashes and raised my paw to them, they forgave me.My last day, I played with my ball a lot. I even carried it into the room at the Vet’s and I didn’t release it until the end.

Love, Maggie August 8, 2011