There's nothing quite like a dog to bring out the best in people.

There's nothing quite like a dog to bring out the best in people.

So what’s the rest of “swell?” S is for sing. W is for walk. I’m skipping E and the first L and jumping to the final L.

There are things in life that I just love. They are varied and independent of one another. Some are inanimate, others are very much alive. Together, they are best described as an array.

Not only do I love the things that I love, but I love to talk about them. I love to write about them. And I really love to meet others who love the same things that I love.

You get the picture. L is for the things I love.

I love dogs. I’ve always loved dogs. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love dogs. Of all of God’s creation, I think I love dogs the most.

There’s nothing like a dog. For some reason I will probably never grasp, about 15,000 years ago wolves decided that it would be OK to cozy up to humans. (I love wolves, too – but that’s another post for another day.) From that point on, the relationship between dogs and humans has become a love story. We love our dogs.

Henry is our current resident canine, and he’s a certified therapy dog. (I once told someone that we were going to “therapy” with Henry and they thought that Henry was in therapy.) It’s a pretty rigorous training process to get a dog certified – well, to get a Llewellin Setter certified. Bird dogs are generally focused on one thing – birds (or the possum that wandered into our backyard last night). And that focus pretty much dominates their attention.

His therapy career started with retirement/assisted living homes. It’s the place where therapy dogs start – kind of the AA of the therapy dogging. He did well, but didn’t like it much. Equal to his fascination with birds is the Llewellin’s energy. Henry has lots of energy, and sitting for long periods of time to be petted on the head didn’t do much for him.

Once he finished his apprenticeship in AA, he proceeded to the next level (AAA if you will): working with children in non-medical environments. This is Henry’s wheelhouse. He loves the kids. There’s something about how he works with them that is mesmerizing. He becomes their dog, their friend. He walks with them, sits with them, plays with them – just as if he has known them forever.

And there’s no way to know what he’s doing to calm the souls, soothe the hurts or rest the spirits of these special children.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea inform you.”
(Job 12:7-8)

I’m not sure Henry will ever make it to the majors – medical environments. As calm and reserved as he can be, I have this horrid picture of him catching the reflection of the nurse’s wristwatch on the ceiling (he loves “shiny”), twisting around the corner of a bed, yanking out two or three random tubes and knocking over a $135,000 piece of equipment. It’s not a pretty sight.

But he’s a great AAA player. I love Henry.

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One response »

  1. Cheri says:

    I had no idea Henry was a therapy dog or what becoming a “therapy dog” involved. (OK. Let’s be honest. I’d never even heard the phrase “therapy dog” before your post.) And, of all things, Julia (home sick, today) was just asking me how they “find” those dogs that go into hospitals and make kids feel better. Now I know! Thanks!

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