Help this little bow wow raise the woof for kids |

Help this little bow wow raise the woof for kids

All dogs may go to heaven, but the black lab on Main Street will be first in line.

Koda is known for her friendly demeanor as she and gallery owner David Schultz greet customers at West Light Images, a photography shop that specializes in depictions of wildlife.

What Koda is less known for is her charitable work outside the shop.

For the past five years, Koda and Schultz have worked with developmentally challenged kids at high schools and libraries in Heber City, Park City and Salt Lake City as a certified therapy dog of Intermountain Therapy Animals. The 7-year-old Koda sits with kids as they read or rests patiently as they pet her soft fur.

It’s all in a day’s work for Koda, whose owner recently launched a Web site to help raise money for Intermountain Therapy Animals, a nonprofit. Since the site opened its digital doors on Saturday, two good Samaritans have donated a total of $150 to the cause. Schultz lists his goal as $5,000.

The site is . It includes pictures of Koda and a link to the Intermountain Therapy Animals site.

The organization is a worthy cause, Schultz says, because of the community outreach it does for some of the most needy people in Summit County. "[Therapy dogs] meet and work with such a variety of people," he said. "To see their response and interaction with people, it really makes a big difference."

"She has a celebrity status," Schultz explained. "She knows she can go outside the gallery and she’s got her bed in the window. People come in just to see her. They’ll ask about her before they even look at the pictures."

Customers and passers-by bring Koda treats in return for the "therapy" she provides.

Koda, whose name means friend in Sioux, was adopted as a two-month-old puppy from an animal shelter in Heber. Schultz taught the dog basic obedience and took her to Intermountain Therapy Animals for special certification when she was about two years old. "She needed to learn to be poked and proded," Schultz said. "You never know how the children we interact with will behave."

Schultz works as a professional photographer and said he wanted a dog with an easy disposition that could travel to far-flung locations. The only place Schultz hasn’t taken Koda is Antartica, he said.

Today, Schultz said Koda is as well traveled as most people living in Park City. "I wanted a dog I could take on the road and that was comfortable being in a gallery," he said. "She’s the best dog I’ve ever had."

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