Friday, February 22, 2008

Amazing Story about an Amazing Family!

Margie Brooks and her Shelties, "Calli", "Kira" and "Little JJ", are an amazing family, not only do these dogs represent the kind, gentle soul of our breeding program but we are so proud of them and the work they do in the name of Pet Therapy. Just a few days ago, I sent to my friends a poem called "Just A Dog" and this was Margie's reply, it was very touching to say the least............

Oh Gloria !!!
This is such a great story!
I see so much in this story.
I'm not sure if I ever told you about some of the things that I say to those that say to me.."it's just a dog"
My work with my three wonderful, loud, excited, loving, working dogs is something to see.
I have worked from Sept. to January with the students at our High School called the GATEWAYS students. These are students that can not move a muscle, can not open their hands without help, have Downs Syndrome, learning problems or other difficulties.
The dogs and I have free reign in the two rooms. We go from each person to another.
One boy with Downs Syndrome does not speak, yet he can. So, he puts the dogs through their obedience work. So, he HAS to speak to them to tell them what he wants them to do.
One girl is unable to speak and has great learning problems. She and I have been working on sign language between the dogs and her.
Then there are the ones that can not move. Many have to have help with their hands to open them. I have brought each dog to them and the dog has laid beside these children and their eyes open up and they may not smile, or show much emotion, but there is "something" that is there when I bring the dogs to them. I have seen those hands open and reach out to the dogs the best that they can just to touch the dogs. Oh Gloria !!!! It's an amazing thing to see !!! We used to have two days a week and then down to one day.
With their schedules it was hard to get us there for two days. I spoke to one of the workers there and told them honestly, that I enjoy coming to see these children and that one day suited me better than two. My heart aches to see some of those children. But, then again,,,,, there is one boy that can not speak, can not move, can not do anything and I can have Calli sit on his bed and make Calli bark and you'll hear that boy laugh all the way down the hallway !!!! It's such a joy !!!
We are back at the Reading and Bite programs now. A new batch of students at the elementary school. First week.... the kids were kind of nervous around the dogs and me. The second week. we are having a blast !!! Kira has decided in her own special way to make each student that reads to her HERS...She just lays there and suddenly just plop her head right in their laps!
It startles the kids at first then makes them laugh !!
They are now telling me which dog to bring to their class hahahahahaa
I have to tell them .. to make it fair, I rotate each dog so every student gets a different dog each visit. They seem ok with that,,, yet they still want J.J. for Thursdays hahahahaha
So........... I totally agree when someone says to me.. Well, that's just a dog
But, they don't know just what those dogs do. Either helping me or anyone else. Whether I am baby talking to them and spoiling them rotten or reprimanding them for doing something wrong.

I don't know if I have told you what I wrote before...
I just keep those precious memories inside and sometimes I can't help but tell them and sometimes others might hear them many times.
It reminds me of being at the rest home.
this one lady is blind. She usually sits and talks about things of no importance to the others. Or just blurts stuff out at times.
One day, I explained to her that I have a dog and would she like to have him sit on her lap? She said yes.
So, I told her what I was doing.. I'm placing a towel on your lap so you wont get hair on you, now I'm placing J.J. on your lap. He's about 20 pound ok? She said fine. So, gently I placed J.J. on her lap and she started petting him. And talking in real sentences, and conversing with the others there in a normal way. J.J. decided to make himself at home by laying between her out streached legs. She was in a recliner. She just kept petting his bum and talking away or just enjoying him being there. Soooo sooo amazing.
Another is a patient at another home at the Alzheimer unit.
He seemed too young to have this condition. Anyway, (most of these are about J.J. because of his small size he can sit anywhere). I had him there and I asked who would like to have him sit with them.
I gave J. to this fellow. His wife was there visiting and they all enjoyed having the dogs there. Kira took off to sit near someone. In fact, she does this often. She will just go off and sit where ever she thinks she's needed. I have often heard that animals will do this. I have sometimes wanted to call the nursing homes to see if that person is still alive the following day. Because sometimes a animal just knows.
Anyway,, it was time for us to go to another floor. I said. well, we have to go now and visit others. J. it's time to get going. Well the man made a sad face and I said, (sucker that I am ) ok, let's sit for just a little bit longer then we really have to go. The man smiled.
While he was holding J. his wife came to me and said. You have done a great thing today. My husband has not smiled this way in a long time.
He misses his own dog at home. That sure made my day. I was walking on air on my way to the car and on the way home.
The time came when it was time to leave and the man gave me J. willingly.
Oh Gloria !!! I have read and heard many stories of things like this happening but never witnessed them till I was working with the dogs myself. !!!
I am just amazed at how these dogs can bring such joy to anyone. Even a simple thing as to have Kira just sit next to someone. The next thing you know, there is a hand petting her head.
I've even seen Kira go to someone who does not want a dog near them. She just goes there. I pretend that I'm too busy to see them all when I see her do this. And those people take their time, and you'll see that hand come out and give her a pet.
And the stories these people have to tell about when they were young, had a dog, had a cat, any animal. Or to talk about the one they had before they had to move to the home.
I have a feeling I've told you this story before. But, I'm telling it again.
I know we all have different ways of working with our dogs. Whether it's showing them in a ring of judges, just having them as home pets, or having them work as "working dogs" or just having them visit people and give them a few moments of satisfaction and memories by our visits. It's all worth it !!!!! And amazes me every time.

A funny story..
I had Calli at the church. Yes,,,, we greet at the church. And I usually lay a cloth on the pew so the dogs can lay there. Well, it was hot so she and I sat on the floor. Her leash slipped out of my hand and she decided before I knew it to go to the front of the church, and sit next to this man in the front row isle. The pastor stopped for a second because the dogs never get away from me and this was a first time. But, he kept going. So, instead of chasing her from the front to the back, I went to the back of the church and motioned her to wait and come.. (thank goodness I taught them all hand commands along with voice. so I didn't make a sound). She calmly waited, then came to me . But, as she did. she was in the front of the church and I was in back. Everyone of of the people sitting on the isle side reached out as she passed by to give her a pet. It was something to see !!! I was embarrassed by the episode. But, the pastor wasn't. She didn't cause a commotion and he just kept going on. And no one said that it was a problem when it happened.
I'll have to be more careful next time with the leash. But, now I know that the dogs will do well should they get loose again.
OH man........... I'm typing up a storm again aren't I?
Sorry Gloria,,, I get so carried away. stop this book I'm writing to you I'm going to stop right now.
And yes again to your simple question.... go head and put what ever you want to on your blog. Let others out there know what amazing things "just a dog" can do !!
Talk later,

For those of you that never read "Just A Dog" here it is...............

Just a Dog

* From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a dog," or,
"that's a lot of money for just a dog." They don't understand the
distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a dog." *

* Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a dog." Many
hours have passed and my only company was "just a dog," but I did not
once feel slighted. *

* Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a dog,"
and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" gave me
comfort and reason to overcome the day. *

* If you, too, think it's "just a dog," then you will probably
understand phases like "just a friend," "just a sunrise," or "just a
promise." "Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of
friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the
compassion and patience that make me a better person. *

* Because of "just a dog" I will rise early, take long walks and look
longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a
dog" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the
fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. *

* "Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away
from myself and the worries of the day. *

* I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just a dog" but
the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a human." *

* So the next time you hear the phrase "just a dog." just smile, because
they "just don't understand." *

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