Thursday, January 20, 2011


"Dogs are the leaders of the planet.  If you see two life forms, one of them's making a poop, the other one's carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge?"
~Jerry Seinfeld

This 'make you smile' quote should resonate with anyone who has or ever has had a dog! 

It also has great depth when you think of all that a dog does for us. Yes, our dogs are in charge! It is just what they do!

Who comes to us when we need a wound healed or when a tear needs a snuggle? 

Who waits, with patience and understanding, outside our door when we want to hide from the world? 

Who gives us the thumbs up sign, just because they love us just the way we are.  No judgement, no conditions, no 'if you will do this for me, I will do something for you.'

Dogs with our wounded warriors are no different. The dogs quite simply don't see them as being injured or sick, but rather as already getting well. They don't notice amputations, severe burns, or the invisible wounds of PTSD or MST (Military Sexual Trauma)! They simply love and don't ask questions.

As for me, I sense, feel, and see my dogs watching my mood, my face, and watching after my soul.  Kelsie will bring me a chew toy or her squeaky duck to see if I want to play.  If I don't, she will wait.  Our dogs are not able to go to the medicine cabinet and bring us our medicine. Perhaps this is because they are our medicine.  Just a look from us, or the intonation in our voices will bring the dog to our side instantly, simply waiting to be touched, or held, or to offer what they offer best, their love and presence.  

Every path has its pebble. But you know what, as Frank Lloyd Wright said, "The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes."  I think our dogs already know this.  So when people lie about us, cheat, steal, and try to smash us into the ground, I choose the high road. I am FAR better than this.

Face it.  We all have those periods when we are lost.  So lost in our sense of low self-esteem that we forget that our lives are an essential and vital part of a greater whole.  For me, as Joyce Myers is quoted as saying, "A #2 pencil and a dream care take your anywhere." What about you ?  What leads you forward? 
Our ordinary pets come to our rescue many times a day.  And countless thousands of working therapy dogs come to the rescue nationwide for ailing, recovering, troubled, needy, depressed and distressed, or in need of comfort clients.  This takes a great deal of learning on the part of of the handler - how to keep our dogs safe in hospitals, hospices, classrooms, rehab centers - how to prepare for the unexpected - how to read the early signals that our dog is stressed and how to handle it - learning client confidentiality laws, rules for grooming both pet and person, and much more. Each and every dog must be responsive to basic commands, sit, down, stay, walk perfectly on a loose-leash and submit happily to foot and teeth exams and brushing, as well as accepting strangers, and wait with a stranger while the owner is out of sight. and meet another dog politely.  These dogs must also thread their way through crowds of people with canes, walkers, and wheelchairs and then there is the unexpected loud noise, which they must pass by calmly on command.
Once the dog has passed the tests, their visits can bring incalculable benefits to clients. These dogs are working their magic across the nation.  The Delta Society in Bellevue, Washington has 10,000 teams, Therapy Dogs International in New Jersey has 18,000 dogs registered, and Therapy Dogs, Inc. in Cheyenne, Wyoming has more than 10,000 therapy dog teams.  There are thousands more people and pets registered with smaller groups. 
As for Penny's From Heaven Foundation, Inc., we always have a waiting list.  We are waiting for the best of the best.  We want to set a standard for Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy that will move forward into various venues besides the norm.  It is working. 
Sometimes what we do is unrecognized, and then sometimes it is so vibrant and full of grace that you can't help but burst into tears.  For it is from that place of grace, when tears come, that we find out who we are, where our passion lies and that we are indeed in that place in time doing exactly what we should be doing.
At the Lackland AFB Fisher House recently, a precious little girl took her first steps.  Her dad has cancer and has been undergoing treatment since Kiana was born.  Growing up in the Fisher House, she has multiple moms and dads and brothers and sisters. For all there are family!!  They take care of each other. 
This one particular night, blonde and curly-haired little Kiana stood at the end of a long hallway, facing the children's playroom.  She saw Kelsie and squealed with a joy that I probably will never be witness to again.  She was beaming. Her entire body trembled in such a manner that the enthusiasm was contagious and brilliant and breathtaking.  She let go of her mama's hand and stumbled and tumbled down the hall to Kelsie. Every one of the twelve to fifteen people observing this began to cry, as she fell onto this eighty pound dog, wrapped her arms around the furry neck and said, "Oh, oh!"  Her first steps taken toward a therapy dog, trained for anything!  It was one of those defining moments, as I glanced at her dad and saw tears of joy running down his face. Camera's clicked and tears poured from all unashamedly.
This is what it is all about.  For just a moment I was her grandmother and everyone there was a family member. 

You tell me who is in charge! It most assurdedly wasn't us.


To help us further our work with our therapy and service dog programs, please send tax deductible donations to:

13423 BLANCO ROAD, STE 218


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