Dogs On Call
Many of you know my dog Millie. She is unique by Golden Retriever standards, in that she was born with a rather calm nature. My wife thinks she is the dumbest dog we have ever owned because she took a lot longer to housebreak than all our other dogs. And you do know the smell of dog poop will linger in a woman's nostrils much longer than a man's...so I won't argue the point with Annie too much.
Still, Annie loves her, I can tell. She will be lounging comfortably on the couch in the evening with her cat Blu draped across her neck and Millie will do a 'paws-up' in her lap and just stare at her. As much as Annie badmouths her, (and it is all kidding) I know she is proud of our lil Golden and all that she has accomplished.
I have found myself giving a great deal of affection to our old girl Belle. She will be 14 on her next birthday, an unusually long time to have a golden. I could make her a therapy dog in a minute; I think she could pass the test without one error, but I want her to enjoy her retirement. I find myself looking in her eyes and getting a brief glimpse of that gift we all so admire in our dogs, but don't seem to quite understand. God knew what he was doing when he put dogs in our care...and visa versa.
I have a new job at the Alabama Dept of Rehabilitation Services. It is the most challenging and exciting position I have had in the 25 years I have been with the agency. (And today, I celebrate those 25 years to the day) Of course, with each promotion, jobs always become more laden with administrative duties, and the contact I have with people is almost entirely on a peer-professional level. Still deep in the heart of everyone who decided to get into the field of rehabilitation is the need, the desire, to reach out and provide help to a fellow human.
My new found friends, human and canine, in the Easter Seals Dogs on Call, have enable me to keep this flame burning. I truly believe that volunteerism will make a person a better professional; I have seen it happen in my own life. One feeds the other.
I joke that I am being selfish by participating with Dogs on Call, because it is fulfilling something in me, and I get more out of it than the people we visit. If it is a sin to practice this kind of selfishness, I won't repent. And I encourage others to join in with my selfish behavior and see if you don't get blessed too.