Our First Therapy Dog Visit

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Hello, hello!

Yesterday, Murphy and I had our very first Therapy Dog visit and it went really well! Murphy was a natural. I’ll tell ya all about it right after I recap lunch.


Lunch was a turkey burger (cut up) with sautéed mushrooms, peas, and chopped spinach with a big scoop of basil avocado. Remember when I had that delicious basil avocado on my tuna burger at Rustic Kitchen the other day? Well, I loved it so much, I had to try recreating it at home.

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My attempt was good, but not quite what I tasted at Rustic Kitchen””something’s definitely missing. My basil avocado puree needed more… salt? I dunno. Here are the rough estimates of the ingredients that I used:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • a bunch of basil (8-10 leafs)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

I definitely liked my basil avocado puree, but I think it can still be improved. I bought two avocado and have some leftover basil, so I’m going to attempt to make it again. I’ll report back!

After lunch, I satisfied my sweet tooth with a Medjool date. Again, I wish dates looked as pretty as they tasted.

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After lunch, it was time to take Murphy for his very first visit. To prepare, I”¦

  • Doubled-check that I had his business cards and medical records (to prove that he’s on the straight and narrow)
  • Cleaned the eye boogers off his face
  • Packed a plastic baggie full of treats (Murphy listens really well when food is involved)
  • Swapped Murphy’s regular leash for his special 4-foot leash

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And then it was time for a ride in the car to go visit!

Pug Therapy Visit

There’s a senior home pretty close to where we live, so I’ve been in contact with the Activities Coordinator about visiting once a week with Murphy. She loved the idea, so we met yesterday and took Murphy around the facility for a trial run to see how he would act in this type of setting. Like I said, the pug was a natural, and he did such an awesome job! Seriously, I sort of think he was meant to do this. Everyone loved him (obviously, he’s wicked cute), but pretty much every person we approached to make a visit, he happily walked right up to their feet or let me pick him up so they could pet him for as long as they wanted. Murphy is kind of a spastic dog at times, but he was semi-mellow around the old folks. I’d never say “mellow” because he’s just not that type of dog when new people are around, but he was definitely on good behavior during our visit.

Everyone we met (residents, staff, and visitors) was so excited to see Murphy. People’s faces literally lit up when they saw us walking toward them. It made me so happy to see Murphy bringing so much joy to someone’s day.

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After about 35-40 minutes, I could tell Murphy was starting to get tired (he wasn’t as focused as when we first arrived), so we said goodbye and headed home for the day. Visiting is a hard work for a little pug!

Of course, when we got home, Murphy was rewarded appropriately for his hard work. He got two treats yesterday!

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As an afternoon snack, I ate a sliced banana with sunflower butter.

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For dinner, Mal grilled up some flatiron steak, which I topped with sautéed mushrooms and crumbled feta. On the side, I had some steamed green beans and Sweet Potato Wedges. It was a fabulous dinner!


After dinner, I enjoyed a Brownie in a Mug because it’s the best dessert ever. My friend Kerrie really is a genius.

Question of the Day

When Murphy and I were visiting yesterday, we met an elderly gentleman, who was hard of hearing. He asked me Murphy’s name, and I replied, but he thought I said “Murky” instead of “Murphy.” I tried to correct him, but then he told me how much he liked the name “Murky” for a dog, so I just left it alone. It is sort of a cute name, right?

Has anyone ever mixed up your name?

Over the years, I’ve had people call me “Gina” and “Trina.” Mal gets “Mel” and “Matt” all the time.

P.S. My favorite camera is on sale! Well, ok, the newer model of it is on sale. I have no idea why it’s so cheap all of a sudden, but I bought one yesterday. Best.camera.ever.



  1. Hooray for Murphy!
    I get Aubrey and Audra a lot. And people like to forget the ‘e’ in my name and spell it “Audry” instead which doesn’t sound like it would say Audrey.

  2. That’s awesome! Yay Murphy!

    I get Sydney a lot, especially if I have to tell someone my name when I have a cold. Sometimes, people think my name is short for Cynthia, although it’s just plain ol’ Cindy, or like to spell my name with an “S” – Sindy.

  3. I get Christine, Christina and Christy all the time. We won’t even discuss what happens when people try to spell my name. I’m sure you can understand, Tina.

    Murky would be a good pet name….

  4. My aunt introduced me to an older man as ‘my niece mimi’ and he said so nice to meet you moniece! It was pretty great! She still calls me moniece!

  5. My real name is Julann. Not Julian, Julianne, Jolene, Juliann or Joann. But I get that all the time, even if I spell it. I even get Yolanda and have on more than one occasion! No one ever gets my name right. Even my best friend of 30 years parents still don’t know how to say my name. I gave up.

    I go by Jules, it is easier.

  6. All. The. Time. OK, I’m exaggerating some, but I get Virginia and Veronica a lot. I guess people remember the first and last sounds and just guess the rest. It’s alright. There aren’t a lot of V names, so I know who they’re talking to. 🙂

  7. The weirdest mispronunciation I’ve had is ‘Cherry’! Kind of cute, though!

    That’s so sweet that you took Murphy to the Senior’s home. My late grandmother was in a home and everyone loved when we visited with our chihuahuas – the place lit up! Such a simple thing to do but it brings such joy. It’s great that you’re sharing the ‘Murky’ love.

  8. I’m so glad Murphy’s first visit went so well! I’ve been thinking about doing Therapy Dog Training with our mini dachshund. He’s already CGC, so I don’t think it would be a big leap. I just worry he’d want to play fetch with everyone instead of sitting nicely. 🙂

    Funny story – we moved into a new apt in West Newton about 2 years ago. Our next door neighbors are SUPER nice, but apparently heard husband’s name wrong the first time and started calling him Trevor instead of Travis. I knowwww I corrected him several times, but it still kept up for several months. We then tried other tactics – we gave him Trav’s email address (which has TRAVIS in it)…I said his name VERY clearly every time we were around him, but nothing helped. Finally one day he came up to me and said…is it Trevor or Travis? He was so embarrassed. 🙂

  9. I was just thinking about dog therapy yesterday when I saw a picture of Murphy on here! Dogs really can brighten up any situation.

    As for the basil avocado, maybe try adding a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil. I think I’ve seen a recipe for it before, and olive oil was one of the ingredients. I don’t know though! 🙂

    People call me anything starting with M. My name is Madison, so I’ve gotten Madeline, Melanie, Marissa, Maria, etc. Also, Allison and Addison. I get really frustrated sometimes; Murky is definitely an interesting name for a dog. One of my teachers said that when she was younger her brother named their pet cat Jug… As in, a jug of water. So odd.

  10. Funny that your name is mistaken for Trina. My name IS Trina, and it’s been butchered over the years. The worst/funniest mistake was at a job where someone kept calling me Trixi. The name stuck, and 15 years later I have friends who know me only by Trixi – they have no idea that that’s not my real name!

  11. Everyone seems to hear Christy when I introduce myself. Drives me nuts. On the rare occasion someone will say, “Chrissy? Like Three’s Company?” I usually give them a hug and tell them they’re my new best friend. LOL

  12. Ever since you started talking about Murphy being a therapy dog, I started looking into it for my parent’s dog. My brother takes care of people’s dogs as a side job so either myself or him are gonna try and do it. It sounds so great and I’m so glad Murphy’s first day was awesome! Can’t wait to hear more stories!

    At every job I’ve ever worked, people always want to call me Jennifer instead of Jessica. And I’ve heard other Jessica’s have the same problem. There is a weird connection between the two names so I always respond to both – I’m trained now!

  13. I think what your doing with Murphy is Great. It’s a known fact that animals can help the sick and lonely. It’s great!! and who doesn’t want to pet a cute wrinkle little pug?! Am I right?! I know when I take my Bostons out and about everybody want’s a pet and the boys don’t mind one bit! 🙂 If you have a children’s hospital around your area I bet that would be a great visit to make!

  14. In my high school astronomy class, on the first day, the teacher called me “Rebekan,” and I corrected him, “Rebekah, but I go by Becky,” and he still called my Rebekan. It wasn’t like a funny, ironic nickname, either. He just didn’t care. 🙁

  15. Awwww man I really want to do that with Olive!! She is such a barky dog though – especially when she gets really excited, so basically any time we are not just chillin at home – so I feel like she wouldn’t do so well in a setting where she was supposed to be calm.

  16. That is so amazing! Seeing a dog brings a light to my day, I can only image how much people who really need a smile must love seeing them!

  17. Aww that’s so cute! And so great that you take Murphy there, I’m sure it makes a huge difference to the people in the home. And yes, people weirdly get my name wrong (Katie or Kathryn), a lot of people call me Kathy…

  18. My name always gets mixed up for Wendy! Becky = Wendy?? Not really that close! And my husband always gets called Todd instead of Kyle – I think people just need to listen more closely (unless they are hard of hearing, then it is okay!)

  19. Tina, I really think it is so awesome what you’re doing with Murphy. I used to volunteer in a children’s hospital, and lot of the kids there were incredibly ill and couldn’t even leave their beds, but I can’t even tell you how much they would light up when people brought in therapy dogs. It really can make such a difference in someone’s day, especially if they’re going through a rough situation. I urge you to continue volunteering! I’m sure it really brightened the people you visited’s day.

  20. That’s so great about the visit! I have several pet therapy volunteers – we even have a rabbit! – at the children’s hospital I work at. But, let’s be honest, we have an over abundance of volunteers and I know places like senior centers are desperate for help and the residents are some of the loneliest group out there- good for you and Murphy!!!

  21. My grandma has alzheimer’s so I go feed her lunch everyday (well when I’m home for summer or college breaks) and this one lady is really hard of hearing and so she asked me my name one day. I said “Kaitlyn” and she was like “Oh, Candy. That is a lovely name!” It was hysterical! haha I couldn’t even try to correct her because I was laughing so much and so were the other nurses!!

  22. Sounds like Murphy or “Murky” is going to be a natural at his new job!

    With my name being so different, I get called all kinds of different names. Tiffany, Tippy, etc. I also get my name spelled wrong on lots of documents. They put Temple a lot instead of Tempie.

  23. How amazing for you and Murphy to donate your time to bring a smile to people’s faces! I wish I had a dog so I could do this.


  24. Did you have to register with a special group/get a certain type of insurance for Murphy to be a therapy dog? We’ve looked into it for our Shorthair Pointer and it seems like it will be a bit difficult to become a therapy dog here. But she has been in training six months of the nine we’ve had her, and doing so well. Were still on the fence about being a therapy dog I guess.

  25. My name is Kara, pronounced “CARE-uh,” but people get confused and call me “CAR-uh.” It happens more in some parts of the country than others, which I think is really interesting! I corrected a lady in the kitchen where I last lived a handful of times when we first met, but it didn’t work and I was car-uh around her for 3 years. I also get Karen, and one time Karlee, which came out of nowhere.

  26. You can’t get Sally wrong but my daughter is going to hate me when she’s older. I named her Lorelai pronounced “Laura-lie”. I wish I’d of spelt it that way it seems like everyone, everyone in Australia and England (pretty much where all my family and friends live) says its “Lorry-lee, Lorra-lay, Lorral-eeah..” I even shorten it to Lori, “Lor-eeh” and people get that wrong too. I should of just sent everyone out dvds of the Gilmore Girls after my daughter was born.

    Congrats on Murphy’s therapy sessions its a wonderful thing you are doing. When I read the title I thought he was depressed and you’d taken him to therapy. Haha. I needed this coffee break.

  27. I have never heard of a therapy dog, sounds like a wonderful way to bring people joy!
    My husband’s name is Heman and people remember him as Herman and lots of junk mail and even some of his bills say Herman. People always add the ‘r’ thinking he misspelled his own name!

  28. Basil avocado sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe of your version :).

    I have definitely experienced name confusion in my life. Growing up, Hannah was not a very common name. People always thought that I said my name was Anna. Therefore, my mom says that I learned at a young age to REALLY enunciate the first “H” in my name. I would introduce myself as HHhhhannah ;). Even still, people confuse it or misspell it by leaving off the last “H.” So annoying!

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