By Laura Dale
Meet Norbert – the adorable three-pound therapy dog who is providing love and support to those in need around the world.
Norbert, a mix breed dog crossed between a Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier & Lhasa Apso was adopted in 2009 by Julie Steines, an award-winning children’s book author.
As the only dog in his litter, Julie knew just how special Norbert was, and after a year of training, he passed the tests to become a registered therapy dog.
Norbert is now the dog-in-charge of ‘Norberthood for Good,’ and his role is to comfort and inspire people in need at hospitals, nursing homes, schools, hospices, and more.
Norbert’s work has proved extremely popular with people of all ages across the globe, and the pooch now has an impressive 1.5 million followers across his social media platforms.
Julie, from California, USA, said: “I knew Norbert was a special dog from the day I met him and I noticed he had a gift for making people smile just by being himself.
“It all started when I took Norbert into a store with me one day, the woman working there saw Norbert and said he would make a wonderful therapy dog.
“At the time, I didn’t even know what a therapy dog was or did, but after some research I learned what they did and I started to train Norbert.
“Together we want people to know you don’t have to be big to make a BIG difference in the world, which is Norbert’s motto.”
Norbert is now the star and inspiration behind the picture book series featuring titles that include; Norbert: What Can Little Me Do?, Norbert: What Can Little YOU Do?, and Norbert: & Lil Bub: What Can Little WE Do?.
The series is created by Julie and illustrated by her mother, Dr. Virginia Freyermuth.
Their heart-warming new book, ‘Norbert’s Little Lessons For a Big Life, was released earlier this month and is now available nationwide.
Julie added: “We hope this book inspires people to be kind and spread smiles.
“That if our fur friends can make a difference in the world for others, we each can do the same.
“We all have the capacity to bring joy and comfort to others.
“The pages are filled with inspiring messages and gorgeous colour photographs of Norbert photographed by my husband, Mark, who is an amazing photographer.
“My mother, Dr. Virginia Freyermuth and I are the co-authors who helped Norbert write sweet words of wisdom and encouragement.”
Mark Steines, who is the book’s photographer, said: “Norbert is really unique – he brings so much to our family and he helps so many other people.
“Before I met Julie and Norbert I didn’t know much about therapy dogs, now I see first-hand the benefits, comfort, smiles and blessings they bring to other people.”
“As a photographer, Norbert is a great subject.
“He understands that he needs to be still, and he is great at responding to varied poses.
“Like all models, Norbert works for payment, only his payment is in the form of tasty dog treats and needless to say, he loves his photo sessions.”