Giving is on my mind at this time of year. Not things, not money, but giving. Perhaps a random act of kindness requiring a small effort, but of great value to the recipient. Which brings me to the reason for this post. Today Cody, my mini poodle, got his volunteer badge so he can offer his gifts of kindness, affection, total acceptance and his waggy tail to people in need of attention at the hospital. Tomorrow, he will make his first official therapy dog visit there. This is not done lightly. He and I have trained, and passed ‘tests’ of obedience and resilience in the face of the unfamiliar surroundings of hospital-like settings.
But to say that this is his first therapy dog role does acknowledge his contribution to our family. He and Chewy (my other therapy dog) love us unconditionally; guard us while we sleep and provide fun and comfort every day. And, despite my best efforts to be the pack leader, they have trained me well, as I have trained them. They barter tricks for treats and know the most comfortable and geographic center of my bed better than I do. When I visit, I tell people that I am simply the handler — that my dog works the magic. And the gifts he offers so freely are as rewarding to me as they are to the recipients of his attention and waggy kisses.
So on this day before Thanksgiving, we will give comfort and receive it in return. How wonderful is that?