Inspiration Found in West

Wow! What an intense week we’re having! Yesterday, Sunday, we drove to West, Texas, a quiet, little town of about 3,000 people that lies about 65 miles west of where I live. Last week this quiet, little town had a big explosion that destroyed about half of the town including the high school and middle school and lots and lots of homes. On Sunday this quiet, little town was FULL of news trucks and fire trucks and all sorts of law enforcement folks and red cross helpers and insurance tents and food trucks and church vans and buses and trucks and trailers delivering donated stuff and more volunteers than probably the whole population.

And quite a few dogs. Therapy Dogs, International, the organization that I am registered with, put out a call for dog teams to come provide some comfort and emotional support for the people in West. So, there have been dogs there working every day since the tragedy happened. On Sunday, there were 6 dogs from TDI and a few dogs from other organizations. For me, it was a lot like going to the State Fair of Texas! Soooo many people that wanted to pet and hug and talk and visit. And sooooo much food! Everywhere you looked people were handing out hamburgers and hot dogs and sandwiches and fruit. And all over the ground, everywhere my nose passed over, there was food. It was intoxicating!

We took my work bag with us that is full of all the tools of my trade. Brushes and toys and books. I did get a LOT of brushing! And a lot of hugs! And a few tears. And the tears were from the adults. I can always find those folks who really need a dog hug. Something about ’em just calls out to me. We did get to read some books to a few kids. We took one of my very favorite ones — Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates. This book was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2010. The little dog in this book is the happiest little dog I have ever seen! And he sure put some smiles on the kids’ faces. It’s about a dog who loves books and wants to open a bookstore. But no one comes to buy books. So he reads and gets lost in his book. It’s a lovely story.


They asked us not to take pictures of the kids, so we just took pictures of the surroundings. I wish you could see these inspiring young folks! They are full of such courage!

Today, Monday, was the kids’ 1st day back to school and we were there to visit them when they got out. Tomorrow, Tuesday, we’re going back to visit in the classrooms. That should be fun! And I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow.

And now all of you say your prayers and be thankful that you have your own bed in your own house to sleep in tonight. There are people in West who still don’t even know if they have a house to go back to.

13 thoughts on “Inspiration Found in West

  1. Rhythm, such a lovely thing for you do. You do such important work when people are so vulnerable and need contact and love. Sounds like your visit is needed. Will continue to hold the families of West, Texas in thought and prayer. Great photos of people helping. Look forward to future posts.

    • I sure enjoy my job. Sometimes I worry when I make someone cry, but I think that hugging dogs somehow makes people feel better. And that makes me feel good. Please do keep these folks in your prayers. They have a long hard road ahead.

  2. I knew you’d be just what the doctor ordered, Rhythm. You will cause a LOT of excitement when the kids see a dog in school. That is the best medicine. Mom and I say prayers for the people of West every day. Keep up the good work! xoxo

    Love and licks,

    • Yes, we did cause a stir at school! I find it odd that every school doesn’t have dogs! For the people of West, I thank you for your prayers. They are greatly needed and I know appreciated.

  3. There are going to be people lined around the block in need of hugs – glad you are there to give them out. I’m sure the kids will appreciate having your friendly face welcome them back to school.

  4. Thank you Rhythm and your Mom for all the good work you do and all the hearts you help.
    My first Basset Gracie was a Therapy dog with TDI, we had a wonderful life together and she made a lot of people feel better, so I know you do too.

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