Spreading JOY

IMG_1688I have a guest today. This is my buddy Walker. Walker lives with me and makes a very fine pillow. Walker and I take turns with work days. Yesterday, Tuesday, was Walker’s turn to go to school in West. He doesn’t like to talk much. He mostly says it all with his tail. So I’m ghost writing for him.

About 8 TDI dogs showed up at West Elementary School Tuesday morning. They were all different kinds of dogs. As soon as they walked in the school the oohs and aahs began. The dogs each visited rooms for about 15 or 20 minutes. That makes for lots of petting!!! Walker got to show off some of his tricks and play some hide and go seek. (This is our favorite game where someone hides our toy and then helps us find it by telling us if we’re hot or cold.) (I can play this game all day! Walker gets tired of it pretty quickly.) He also got to read our book, Dog Loves Books. And all the kids sat around and petted and brushed. They asked all kinds of questions about Walker. Kids always want to know how old we are in “dog years”. I don’t ever understand this question. But the Mom Person tells them that they have to do math and that if they multiply our real age by 7 they will have an approximate dog age. So in one of the classes at West, they did more math and figured out that we dogs have a birthday every 52 days! Isn’t that something! If you would like to check into this issue further check this link.

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After visiting the classes, all the dogs settled in at the school library. Then more kids came in to visit. This time the dogs got to stay in one place and the kids rotated around. More pets and brushing and reading and questions. Walker said some of the kids had lost their dogs after the explosion and were worried about how they would find them. I think that there are lots of folks working on this problem. I hope those kids and dogs find their way back to each other. That must have been a really scary thing for those dogs. And now they’re somewhere worrying about where their kids are. There sure are a lot of puzzles to be worked out in West.

Here are some links to websites that are helping in this lost pet puzzle.
https://www.facebook.com/westanimals
http://www.spca.org/

But for yesterday, West Elementary School seems to have been a pretty JOYful place!

Copy of 904545_440154319409108_1390469710_oThis is a picture of Walker reading with a little girl at the Distribution Center on Sunday. It was taken by a photographer who has a studio in West. Lindsey was nice enough to share it with us. Her studio is called The Studio on Austin.

There has been a great outpouring of goodwill flooding into this small town. People are coming from far and wide to pitch in and help out in whatever way they can. West has a big heart and lots of courage. The town and its people are standing tall through this crisis. I’m glad that we have been able to help out in our own small way.

And since I don’t have a book to tell you about I’m going to leave you with a little uplifting music from Michael Kiwanuka —

School is Back in Session in West!

Yesterday, Monday, we were in West greeting kids who were just going back to school after a horrendously frightening few days off. The High School and Middle School were completely destroyed so the big kids don’t have a school to go back to. From now until the end of school, they will be bused to another small town nearby that happens to have an empty building that West can use. They don’t have textbooks or school supplies or backpacks. Lots of the stuff they need has been donated by Helper folks around the country.

At the end of their school day the big kids were bused to a car dealership in West where their parents came to pick them up. And that’s where we went to meet and greet. They all seemed pretty jolly as they got off the buses and were quite excited to see a bunch of dogs waiting there! There were 7 of us — all from TDI — all shapes and sizes. Some of the kids gave us quick rubs as they passed by. Some sat on the parking lot and gave us good rubs and hugs and talked a lot. Some of the teachers cried. They all thanked us for being there.

Next we went to visit the elementary kids as they were getting out of school. Their school was not damaged except for water pipes. Most of the town is without water because of damage to all the pipes. They put in some special pipes for the school so they have water but it’s not drinkable. No worry though, because the command center is overflowing with donated bottled water! At the school, we laid down on the porch and under the trees and waited for kids to come out. And was it ever fun when they did! Just like the big kids, the little ones were excited to see dogs at the school!! I have a hard time imagining a school without dogs. But I’m finding out that school dogs are pretty rare! It’s odd. Well, we got some good belly rubs and ear rubs and kisses and heard lots of laughter. I like that. And lots of Thank-yous.

After all the kids had been safely transferred to their parents, the school adults had a meeting. The superintendent stopped to give some ear rubs and got up with tears in his eyes saying ” Thanks for being here. It’s not just the kids who need these dogs.” Now doesn’t that make you feel good? It does me.

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These pictures are not from West. No pictures from West today as they asked us not to take any. But this is what my day was like.

I sure love my job! It’s the best job a dog could have!

To be continued …………

A Word about Rhythm

Guide Dog pups in training

The Mom Person is taking to the keyboard today. We went to visit an obedience class for the DFW Area Puppy Raiser group of Southeastern Guide Dogs. And since This was at one time a big part of Rhythm’s life and is a big part of who she is today, I thought I needed to write about it. Rhythm was bred by and born at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Fla.  SEGDI pups are placed with volunteer puppy raiser families when they are 8 – 10 weeks old. We were Rhythm’s puppy raiser family. It was our job to socialize her and teach her good house manners. With that goal in mind she went most everywhere that we went and became quite famous around our small town.

When she was about a year old she went back to SEGDI for her guide dog training. Sending your pup “off to college” is a very hard transition for the raisers and sometimes for the pups as well. Rhythm began having chronic ear infections and eventually the decision was made to “career change” her and she came back to Texas to live with us forever.

She needed another job. To keep her busy I got her registered with TDI, Inc. as a therapy dog and she now works in several facilities doing Animal Assisted Therapy. Rhythm holds a special place in our hearts and the hearts of our community. She’s a hardworking, caring, special girl.

To learn more about Southeastern Guide Dogs and their puppy raising program visit their website — http://guidedogs.org/

To see what the Dallas Area puppy raisers are all about visit — http://northtxpuppyraisers.blogspot.com/