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The Sidekick Riding Shotgun

The Adventures of Morgan, Silent Sidekicks’ traveling therapy dog, in Maine and New Brunswick

Finding Your Inner Dog

April 30, 2018

Research has shown that dogs are affected by meeting new people day after day and absorbing stress from others. It’s important that Therapy Dogs have a chance to have time to relax. It’s just as important for them, as it is for humans. One of the ways that Morgan spends her time is at camp. Regardless of the season, it is a great place to just unwind from busy weeks of traveling to therapy visits and activities.

The Spring brings warmer weather and lots of mud! Morgan knows all the secret mud spots and enjoys swimming in the lake to clean off. It’s a great way for her to have fun and get in touch with her inner dog. It’s always important for us humans to remember that our dogs feel stress and even more so when they are a working dog.

We’d love to hear some of the ways your dog likes to relax. Feel free to share them in the comments.

Danielle & Morgan –The Sidekick

A New Friend & A New Life

August 8, 2016

We meet all kinds of people and animals on our travels between events. Last week, was no different. However, where we met our new friend was unusual though!

Each week, we stop at Camp to check on things and so Morgan can take a long run through the woods and just be a dog. She even finds a mud hole now and then. It is a good thing the lake is close by for a swim!

This time of year the lake is busy with activity. It’s much different than the middle of winter when no one is around. On this day, we drove down the camp road and in the distance there was a small animal. That is not unusual in the woods in Maine. It would be more surprising, if you didn’t see an animal! This animal was different though. At first, it looked like a bunny hopping across the road but as we got closer, we could see that it was a small kitten. She looked like she was not more than six weeks old.

We stopped the car. Morgan curiously watched out the window, as I tried to catch this kitten to no avail. She ran deep into the forest. We left defeated and hurried onto our meeting… which we were now late for. There would be no time for Morgan to run or swim that day. All night long, all I could think of was that kitten and if she was finding shelter from the rain. Little did we know that many other camp owners had seen her, tried to catch her, and were worried about her, too.

Through a series of phone calls, we found out that the kitten was abandoned and camp owners had been trying to catch her and help her for days. The next morning, we woke up and headed back to camp before we had to get back on the road to start our adventure. There was a chance that we could spot her on the edge of the woods and help her. As we approached the spot where we had seen her the previous day, there she was! Just walking down the road! This time we came prepared to help this little gal. Using a small towel, I was able to throw it and safely catch her. She was so tired that she could barely make a peep. Wrapped in a towel, Morgan and I took her to a nearby camp for help. They gave us some water and tuna fish (which she gobbled up) and a box. Once she had a full belly, she fell right asleep. We made a few phone calls. Within an hour, we found a loving family who wanted to bring her home.

Piper, as she is called now, has settled in to her new family. She is warm and safe and fed. We hope that you live out the happiest life, Piper! We have had many adventures on the road but this is definitely the happiest ending, so far!

Danielle & Morgan- The Sidekick

Old Friends

February 15, 2016

Once in awhile on our traveling adventures, we are able to stop to visit old friends that we have made during our three years on the road. A lot can change in three years but one thing does not and that is “Old Friends”.

The first time Morgan- The Sidekick and Maggie met was two years ago. Maggie was a student in Silent Sidekicks’ very first puppy socialization class. Morgan was a year older and immediately started showing Maggie the ropes of being a well socialized pup. They became fast friends. Even after the class was over, Morgan would stop by to check-in on Maggie at the Golden Key Senior Center in Lincoln, ME, where Maggie has become the resident dog.

Although our schedule keeps us pretty busy with events, we still make the time to stop by to visit our friends at the Golden Key Senior Center when we are in the area. Morgan and Maggie enjoy the time to just play and to be DOGS…and to be old friends.

Danielle & Morgan- The Sidekick


Unexpected Detours

November 2, 2015

Sometimes the best things in life are the unexpected adventures that you find yourself on. Morgan and I often take time in between events to explore new places. Although Morgan is a working dog, she will always be a dog first. It is important that she has breaks and has fun when she can. Having been on the road for over two years as Silent Sidekicks Traveling Team, we have been able to see some of the most beautiful places in the USA and Canada. It seems rare now to have a place that Morgan hasn’t visited and made new friends.

Last week, we had a few hours in between events and had the opportunity to take a small detour to Bar Harbor, Maine. The area is usually busy with activity and packed with tourists. On this Fall day, we were able to walk the Shore Path with just a few tourists, who were visiting from Denmark. Morgan was amazed by the waves crashing onto the rocks and seemed to have an even bigger smile than usual. Remember to always take time out of your busy day for yourself and your dog. Breathe in the air, go for a walk, and smile.

Danielle & Morgan-The Sidekick

Morgan- The Flower Dog

September 23, 2015

The great thing about the culture here at Silent Sidekicks’ is that once you are part of our pack, you will always remain part of our family. No better example of this was when Morgan was invited to her very first wedding last month. Paige, who was Silent Sidekicks’ first intern in 2013, and her husband, Wilson, invited us to be part of their very special day. So on the way between our events in Lincoln and Portland, Maine, we were able to stop at the beautiful Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland, Maine to be part of the wedding.

Dressed in a flowered lei, Morgan enjoyed meeting many new friends and seeing her first lighthouse. She instantly recognized Paige, whom she hadn’t seen in a year, as she walked down the aisle. However, Morgan contained her excitement until after the ceremony when so could then greet Paige the proper way…with all kinds of puppy kisses. At the reception, Morgan was welcomed with open arms to the dance floor to share a special dance with Paige, who has watched her grow from a puppy into an amazing therapy dog. We love meeting new people on our adventures but it is really special to see family on our trips, too.

Paige & Wilson: Thank you for inviting us to be part of your special day and for being part of our family!

Danielle & Morgan – The Sidekick


The Road & New (Ad)Ventures

August 10, 2015

July came and went quickly as we traveled over 4000 miles and participated in 19 animal-assisted therapy, activities and educational events throughout Maine and New Brunswick. Every back road, rest stop, and small town (that we hardly ever see a person at in the winter) was filled with friendly people (mostly tourists) wanting to say “Hi” to Morgan- The Sidekick. We never know what adventures the trip will lead us on or who (or what) we might see. We are always happy to meet new people during our travels to and from events but it is always special to see people who have been part of our journey since the beginning. We had the chance to do just that in July.

Morgan and I enjoyed visiting with New Ventures Maine’s (formerly known as Women, Work, and Community) Aroostook County Staff and Ambassadors at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. New Ventures Maine helped me (and Morgan) develop the skills and knowledge that we needed to make Silent Sidekicks blossom from just a dream to a reality! New Ventures Maine helps people all over Maine venture in new directions with their careers, businesses, and personal finances. Morgan was happy to receive all kinds of love and affection from the staff and ambassadors…and can’t wait to see them again when our adventures take us back to Presque Isle.

– Danielle & Morgan- The Sidekick

We Break For Moose And Their Sidekicks

June 22, 2015

Our travels to and from Silent Sidekicks’ event sometimes have us on the road in very rural parts of Maine. We don’t see many people on these backroads but we do see all kinds of wildlife. We encountered so many wild animals that we started to keep a journal of what we saw and where. Although this blog is intended to highlight the people and domestic animals that we meet on our travels, we thought it would be fun to share some information about the wildlife that we see,too. It does help to pass the time while on the road.

Morgan- The Sidekick is always very curious about the animals that we see wandering, running, or even sitting in the road. She usually has her head out the passenger side window trying to get a better look and smell. Most of the time, we see them on a stretch of road where there is not another car for miles. We can pull over and just watch. If I am quick enough, I can even get out my camera and snap a picture. This beautiful moose kept the traffic jammed for about 15 minutes. By jammed, I mean we were the only car around and had to stop until the moose decided to wander back into the woods.

I know many tourists come to Maine to try to catch a glimpse of a moose. According to our travel journal, Morgan and I have had the chance to see 23 moose this year so far, along with a lynx, a coyote, a turtle, 3 porcupines, 4 rabbits, 5 raccoons, 8 bears, 11 foxes, 22 squirrels, 41 deer, 42 turkeys and hundreds of birds. It is amazing to see these animals up close when so many people will never get to see them in a lifetime. We are always appreciative of their beauty and thankful that all the encounters with these animals were safe for all.

Danielle and Morgan- The Sidekick

Over the river and through the woods to Hardwicke’s

June 8, 2015

We thought that it would be fitting that the first story that we post about our travels honors our friends at Hardwicke’s in Vanceboro, Maine. Hardwicke’s was literally the first place that I stopped with Morgan on the day that I was bringing her home. Since then, we have stopped at the store at least twice each week, on our way to and from Silent Sidekicks’ events, over the last three years.

The employees first met Morgan – The Sidekick when she was just 8 weeks old and have watched her grow from a little puppy into an amazing therapy dog. They always take the time to ask “where is she heading” or “who’s she off to see”. We always make sure to share photos and newspaper clippings of Morgan’s Silent Sidekicks events in other parts of Maine so they are caught up on all of the people that she is helping. There is never a shortage of dog treats or love! The employees at Hardwicke’s have become family to us. There is always a friendly face to greet us and make us feel welcomed as we stop for a break our long road trips.

They have even saved us a time or two…like the time that I accidently locked Morgan in the car. Morgan was about 12 weeks old, I accidently locked the door while I was getting out and the keys were still in the ignition. The windows were down but not enough to reach the lock. In a total panic, I ran inside the store for help and Paul was able to find a tree branch that was just the right size to reach in and unlock the door. Needless to say, Paul became one of Morgan’s favorite people and mine,too!

We would like to say “Thank you” especially to Michelle, Paul (who Morgan misses seeing now that he has another job), Rose, Cheryl and Corinna, who all have been there since the first day that Morgan came into my life and have treated us as one of your own. Your store and employees exemplify the kindness and values of rural Maine. We will see you soon!

If you happened to travel Route 6 in Vanceboro, stop in to Hardwicke’s and let them know that Morgan sent you!

Our New Blog : The Sidekick Riding Shotgun

June 1, 2015

It has been said that “It’s not about the destination. It is about the journey”. Although we have so many wonderful memories from our work as a therapy team, we have had just as many memorable experiences on the way to events… before we ever start working!

Last year, Morgan- The Sidekick and I traveled over 50,000 miles (that is equal to twice around the Earth!) representing Silent Sidekicks as the “traveling team” for the organization. That is a lot of time on the road visiting new places and meeting new friends on the way. We have met friends in rural areas, big cities, while broken down on the side of the road, and while having picnics before events. They pop up in the most unexpected places and usually have their own amazing stories to share about the “Sidekicks” in their lives.
We have met so many interesting humans and animals in our travels over the last two years. This year, we have decided to write a blog and share some of those experiences with you. We will be updating our blog weekly and will share some of the stories and photos from our adventures.

We hope you enjoy our blog, “The Sidekick Riding Shotgun – The adventures of Morgan, Silent Sidekicks’ traveling therapy dog”. Maybe we will see you during our travels!

– Danielle & Morgan-The Sidekick