Not all the people who volunteer for the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation are Kerry owners. In this article in the long-running “Cheers for Volunteers” series, we focus the spotlight of our very grateful attention on Lynda Spangler, owner of a web marketing company called UBhapE2 (“You be happy too!”). While the KBTF pays them for their work, the amount we can offer does not nearly cover the hours and hours of effort they have spent on making our new web site look amazing and do what we need it to do.
While not Kerry owners, Lynda has shared her life with a variety of dogs, including Labrador retrievers, a standard poodle her family rescued and now a Havanese named Sundance. Lynda says she knew terrier breeds in her youth through family pets but no breed as exceptionally beautiful as the Kerry.
Sundance’s full name is Sundance Starfox Loverboy. (By an interesting coincidence, Sundance’s monogram would therefore be SSL, which to computer experts stands for the Secure Sockets Layer, which protects communications between servers and clients.) As a medical therapy dog for PTSD, anxiety and depression, Sundance has a very important role in Lynda’s life. Once when in bed with influenza, Lynda opened her eyes to find an orange by her pillow with little tooth marks and scrapes that showed Sundance had carried it to her. (A friend had dropped off a bag of oranges and the dog was able to reach the fruits.) Maybe he just wanted to play ball, but no matter, the laughter brought by his gift was tremendously therapeutic!
Lynda has a strong social conscience and has worked on many interesting projects to help others: PTSD patients, domestic abuse victims, and the elderly. In doing these projects, she has been a genuine “social entrepreneur,” gathering resources and building the skills she has needed to accomplish her goals. She taught herself Photoshop, then when she couldn’t find what she wanted in a commercially-built web site, taught herself to do that, too.
One of Lynda’s projects is a service that sends out messages, which is how UBhapE2 started. Her sons lament the day cell phones developed the capability to send photos because that gave Lynda the opportunity to send endless messages of encouragement, love and humor to them all day long! So she started sending the same fun to her friends and with their cheers, started to do this as her work. Messages go via email or text messages to audiences that range from the elderly to children. The origins for Sunbytes, the messaging arm of UBhapE2, started with an anti-bullying program in Boulder County Schools.
Lynda has recently embarked on creating a radio program looking to bring forth more discussions on how we help ourselves and one another navigate through our current world. She will be focusing on how dogs can help those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), specifically ex-prisoners of war (POWs) and war veterans. Lynda's own PTSD is based in domestic violence, so the outreach for pets through UBhapE2 is for all folks, but with special attention to veterans of war. In partnership with the radio station, the focus will be on pairing POWs and other veterans with pets that can help them know unconditional love. The program is called Paws 4 POWs. The Paws 4 POWs project sprung from the dream shared by Lynda and her two sons to have a “dog farm,” where dogs could be trained to meet people’s needs, from single parents who need an extra set of eyes to those who can no longer bend down to pick up items, switch on lights, and so on.
KBTF President John Van den Bergh connected with UBhapE2 through another tech company, ZURB. The Zurbians told John that while KBTF was not a typical ZURB client, they did know talented people who could help him and they put him in touch with UBhapE2. UBhapE2 was very excited to be offered the KBTF project shortly after the certification.
When a client comes in saying “My dream is …,” their job is to understand what the client wants, to “catch” the dream and work out its details. Then the problem solving begins, designing a web site that fulfills the client’s purpose. Even with their technical expertise, the problem solving phase is still sometimes very challenging, which, they say, is what “makes the work fun.”
KBTF is impressed and delighted with the new web site that UBhapE2 have brought to fruition. It is not only more excitingly contemporary than our old one, it also allows much more interaction between the Foundation and its supporters and of its supporters with each other. It allows volunteers to manage a lot more of the site’s content than is usually possible. It allows readers to discuss the stories written for the site and to post their own photos and videos. As KBTF President John Van den Bergh says, “We at the Foundation hope the new site will help build stronger connections among all of us who love Kerry Blue Terriers.” So Cheers for UBhapE2, who have done so much to put us further on the way toward fulfilling this dream!