|Miki Baker, the therapy dog|
Until then, I have to content myself knowing a very special dog, Miki Baker, the therapy dog. Miki is a three year old Pomeranian and his human is Trish Baker, someone I am honored to call my friend.
Miki is one of this year's winners of the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence. Miki won the Therapy Dog contest.
This is from an article in today's (NJ) Home News. I hope Miki will warm your heart, as he has done mine. Miki is also on Facebook, under Miki Baker, the Parti-Pomerian, ready to friend.
"We're thrilled," said Tricia Baker, who, along with her husband, Kurt, and their 18 year old daughter, Katelyn, founded AIR (Attitudes in Reverse), a grass-roots group designed to raise awareness about mental illness and educate the public about the stigma attached to the illness.
"Miki is a great dog and has helped us through a terrible tie when our son, Kenny, who suffered from anxiety disorder and depression, completed suicide on May 19, 2009, when he was 19", Baker said. "Miki has been an integral part of our journey and continues to be a champion for the cause."
|Miki and her human, Trish (courtesy of the (NJ) Home News|
Baker explained that as a result of her son's illness, the family came to realize there was a lack of understanding about mental illness.
"We saw how his death was treated so much differently than the deaths of other students in the school,", she said. "When Kenny passed away, less than 10 people from the school came to the wake and funeral because the belief was that people who complete suicide are only looking for attention, and that's not true. It's an illness. There's also the old thinking that if you talk about suicide, other people are going to go out and complete suicide. That is not how it is."
"If someone completes suicide, if the death is not discussed and those kids that are struggling don't get the help they need, there could be possibly another suicide. That's how the contagion happens. It's not because you talk about suicide, and someone with a healthy brain is going to go out and complete suicide. When we saw how his illness and death were treated, we knew as a family that we needed to change things. We needed to do something to help other kids' depression."
So the family founded AIR. The organization's slogan is "Mental illness is like air. Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It's all around us."
Baker said the family, along with Miki, attends community events and makes presentations in schools in hopes of getting the word out.
"Our main goal is to reach kids to help educate them so they can get help and seek treatment if they need it", Baker said. "We want them to know what to do if their friends are struggling. We also want to change the way society looks at mental illness." The entire article can be seen here.
|More Miki. Such a cutie!|