Pleasanton couple's dog a winning wiener

"In the seven years they have been together, Patrick Major has seen Sammy Davis transform from a playful pet to one of the fastest dachshund racers in the state. Even though he stands only about 6 inches tall, Sammy can pump his stubby little legs and leap through the air to catch Frisbees nearly as big as he is. And, this pooch was a doggie pinup in the International Disc Dog calendar three years running." Read More Here


Chess Scores

Scores will be updated soon.

Scrabble Scores

Scores will be updated soon.


Why Offer Chess in Schools? What are the Academic Benefits?

Does Chess improve academic performance?



Children are taught the benefits of observing carefully and concentrating. If they don’t watch what is happening, they can’t respond to it, no matter how smart they are.


Children are prompted to imagine a sequence of actions before it happens. We actually strengthen the ability to visualize by training them to shift the pieces in their mind, first one, then several moves ahead.

Thinking Ahead

Children are taught to think first, then act. We teach them to ask themselves “If I do this, what might happen then, and how can I respond?” Over time, chess helps develop patience and thoughtfulness.

Weighing Options

Children are taught that they don’t have to do the first thing that pops into their mind. They learn to identify alternatives and consider the pros and cons of various actions.

Analyzing Concretely*

Children learn to evaluate the results of specific actions and sequences. Does this sequence help me or hurt me? Decisions are better when guided by logic, rather than impulse.

Thinking Abstractly*

Children are taught to step back periodically from details and consider the bigger picture. They also learn to take patterns used in one context and apply them to different, but related situations.



Children are taught to develop longer range goals and take steps toward bringing them about. They are also taught of the need to reevaluate their plans as new developments change the situation.

 Juggling Multiple Considerations Simultaneously 

Children are encouraged not to become overly absorbed in any one consideration, but to try to weigh various factors all at once.


Why Offer Public Speaking in Schools?


Chris Major and Amanda Jew, D5150 Potential Rotary Leaders Seminar (PRLS) 2013.

“Education  in public speech gains merit from teaching students to use language  comfortably, persuasively, and with conviction. Using language in this  way usually requires  holding considered opinions, formed by  investigation and thought. Persuasive speaking has roots in an  understanding of the opposing viewpoint, and understanding breeds  respect.”

The “Why”

In most schools, public speaking is an activity of the elite. However, in every section of every grade/standard, only a select few naturally talented speakers are identified and encouraged to hone their skills of speaking further by fast-tracking their participation in all public speaking activities conducted within and beyond the school.

In some cases, this special selection of students are provided with rudimentary training in public speaking by a teacher or a hired tutor. There are hardly any public speaking classes, seminars or workshops for the training of an entire classroom of students. Consequently, many students, who are not naturally endowed with the talent of communicating effectively from a podium or pulpit and who require the training the most, are neglected, unacknowledged and sometimes outright ignored.

Therefore, a confidence polarization develops within the classroom. The ones who already know how to engage an audience tend to do better at it and benefit from the confidence they derive from the public approval and adulation they receive, while those who are not similarly talented are tuned to believe that they may never be able to put forward their point to audiences that number more than a single digit of people.

To add to this, there is a growing trend of acceptance that the best speaker is also the one with the most logical or the most valued points. This notion stifles the opinions of those who find difficulty in expression of their points, no matter how valid or how accurate they may be. And more importantly it breeds the notion in their minds that they are inherently wrong. This polarization of confidence persists when they are in college and later on in their professions and leads to a selective expression of opinions and biasing of decisions in small and large groups alike.

This should direct us to the knowledge that any course on public speaking may not succeed effectively as a canvas course taught in an hour a week to a classroom of fifty.

It has to be a more concentrated approach with special individual attention to the students in recognition of the fact that each learns at a different pace and in a different way.

What is a Therapy Reading Dog?


Patrick Major and Sammydavis Literacy Project Bowman Elementary, Hayward 2009

Therapy Dogs…

-come from a variety of breeds; there is no, ‘perfect,’ breed or mix of breeds that make the best Therapy Dogs.

-have a desire to visit with people, loves children, and interacts with other animals well.

-have a temperament that is friendly, patient, and outstanding overall.

-also interact with other dogs they encounter in positive ways.

-must be on-leash obedience trained and remain under control while presenting excellent behavior.

-need to have the ability to work around other dogs while remaining free of aggression.

-are social, interacting with people in a positive manner.

-enjoy being touched, petted, and held if appropriate.

-present a stable temperament and do not display aggression or fear.

-have the ability to stay calm in situations that are new and may involve a number of distractions.

-come from a variety of breeds; there is no, ‘perfect,’ breed or mix of breeds that make the best

-must be healthy, one-year of age, well-mannered, and enjoy interacting with people.

If YOUR dog fits these requirements…it may make a good Therapy Dog.


What are the Definition of Pet Therapy Activities?

Patrick Major , Animal Planet,, “SAVED” visits schools, nursing homes, libraries, hospitals, and  facilities where people benefit from interactions with the Dogs.

During our visit with a Therapy Dog, people are invited to interact with the Sammydavis/ or Karma through play.

Some people might brush the dog, others may simply wish to look at it.


Patrick Major, Animal Planet “Saved” with Sammydavis November 2011

Smaller Dogs people can hold in bed or on their laps, with permission.

Therapy Dogs perform simple tricks; others might perform obedience routines for the pleasure of the person they are there to serve.

People like to walk or use their wheelchair or adaptive equipment next to the Dog.

Handlers might throw a toy for the Dog to fetch, or play games with the Dog and the person to enhance the therapeutic contact.

Therapy Dog and Handler teams are all unique and provide people with exceptional opportunities for therapeutic contact.

Only dogs that are registered with an organization are considered to be Therapy Dogs. Coyotes, Wolves, coyote hybrids, or wolf hybrids are not permitted to become Therapy Dogs becomes they cannot be verified as immune against rabies.

Therapy Dogs are not required to know any tricks, although a number of Handlers have taught their Dogs some such as how to wave or shake hands as a way to start conversations with the people they are there to serve; or to make them smile.

Routines that teach Dogs obedience may also be used to start conversations, with well-trained Dogs excelling at say, standing still while a person either pets them or brushes them.

Each Therapy Dog and Handler team is familiar with their means of interacting with others and provides unique and wonderful therapeutic contact.

Recognition of the value of using animals in the healing process has been around for a very long time. In a variety of types of health care facilities, visits from Therapy Dogs have demonstrated an increase in the calmness, happiness, and overall emotional well-being of people who have come in contact with them.

Studies have been pursued that have demonstrated a decrease in both the stress levels and blood pressure of people during visits by Therapy Dogs.

These Dogs give residents, staff members, and visitors a break from regular daily routines, loneliness, and illness



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