Mattie Miracle 9th Annual Walk & Family Festival -- Raised over $97,000

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.

As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

Random Shots of Mattie, Family and Friends

January 8, 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2007. I will never forget this moment in time. Mattie's school has a Christmas celebration called Lessons and Carols and each grade in the lower school performs a choral piece for parents, friends, and other family members. The children are required to dress up! That was a hoot too because Mattie did not like anything tight around his neck, so finding the right outfit and tie was my mission. But thankfully my friend told me about zip up children's ties. I think these are ingenious! Before going out the door that morning to drop Mattie at school and sit in the auditorium, I snapped this photo! I thought we would have more Lessons and Carols to attend, but it never happened. Thankfully that one was special. 

Quote of the day: Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human. ~ Cesar Millan

I am a big Cesar Millan fan. I watched his show, the Dog Whisperer, probably before he became truly popular on TV, and way before he developed the large Dog Psychology Center he has in Southern California. I am intrigued by how well Cesar relates to ALL dogs, and I admire his philosophy that every dog can be rehabilitated and every human trained. He is a self taught dog behaviorist and ironically he has an East coast center now in Davie, FL. What is ironic about this is I saw this center without realizing it when we went to Flamingo Gardens last week. We passed the Country Inn Pet Resort twice while driving and I commented on how nice it looked.... a good place for Sunny! I do find it interesting that many dog trainers do not like Cesar or his philosophies. All I know is if I had a problematic dog, I would want Cesar on my side. When you watch him, he just naturally seems to relate to dogs immediately and they seem to connect. 

One day a few years ago, I was in Georgetown and meeting a friend for lunch. What stunned me was while eating, who walked in but none other than Cesar Millan. I debated whether to leave him alone or to talk with him. I did go up to him to tell him how much I love his show and as a therapist how his techniques really resonate with me. He was truly taken back by my comment, because he seemed very humble and kind that I would take the time to talk with him. 

Millan's quote above catches my attention, because with Sunny, he seems to be the kind of dog that reads people. He doesn't judge the book by its cover, but has instead a sixth sense and knows who is kind and trustworthy almost automatically. I love watching him in action! 

Sunny had his first obedience class today. It is an eight week class and is being taught by the same instructor we had in the Fall who helped us prep for his Canine Good Citizen test. Do I think Sunny needs this class? Probably not! He is very compliant and obedient. I view the class as something I need so that I can communicate better with Sunny, especially if I eventually want to bring him into a hospital to work with people who are ill. Sunny is very familiar with the training ring since he was there all last month. Yet when we walked in today, he started whining. The whining went on for a while and then he moved into barking! Since this is NOT typical Sunny behavior I took note of it. I did not ignore it but tried to understand it. My initial thought was he did not want to be there and wanted to leave because last month he had enough. 

I did not give into his demands but I tried to help him through it. I read on line that dogs do whine (for many reasons) when stressed. Similar to how I described it... whining followed by barking. Sunny RARELY barks or whines so when he does, you ponder. In so many ways being Mattie's mom, also helps me to be a good dog parent. Mattie was a sensitive baby and toddler and I had to get up to speed quickly to read his ques and understand how he was interacting with the world and how the world was interacting with him. Mattie had moments of intense stress and anxiety and would have full blown tantrums just about anywhere. I learned to read them and predict them. But you work through them rather than be taken over by them. It took me MONTHS to learn this. It is important to remain calm and focused during these times, and perhaps redirect and distract. Redirection and distraction are the tools I used today with Sunny! 

Sunny LOVES treats, so as he was working himself up with twirling and barking, I started walking with him quickly in the training ring and also gave him treats. It worked beautifully. Part of the stress with training, is that dogs are NOT allowed to socialize. This bothers Sunny greatly because he wants to meet, greet, and play with the other dogs. But training is training and the instructor holds firm to this, that dogs are there to learn and not to be distracted by one another. Either case, whether Sunny and I learned the "touch," "leave it," or "take it" commands is up for debate, but I think it is vital to experience Sunny in different settings and to find ways for us to work through things and communicate. 

1 comment:

Margy Jost said...

I have many comments swirling n my head from this blog. However, the picture of Mattie, beautifully dressed, with his handsome smile, arms outstretched is the only one, I can comment on now. The picture is stunning! The knowledge, this was his one & only performance in Lessons & Carols before Cancer entered his life is heartbreaking! Thank you for sharing this picture of Mattie!