Last Sunday marked a very special day. I’m thankful I have the Facebook Memory reminders as it wasn’t a day I thought to have written on the calendar. Six years ago last Sunday a scared and very timid Schnoodle (later renamed Boji after Lake Okoboji in Iowa) entered my life. I had been contemplating getting a dog and my neighbor, a dog rescuer, knew my “criteria” – easy to care for, minimal shedding, one that doesn’t bark a lot. She knew the Schnoodle fit the criteria, well all except the easy part. The first 4 years of this little guys life were less than desirable. We don’t know much, except he was crated a lot and his coat was so heavily matted he had to be completely shaved upon being rescued. He wasn’t even that cute at first glance.
I have always had a heart for the underdog, and this little guy definitely fit into that category. I was hesitant to welcome him into my home as my first dog (as an adult), yet there was a fond attachment. He trusted me and needed me. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much I needed him!
Another “criteria” I had for a dog was that the dog would be able to become a therapy dog for our local K-9 program. A co-worker’s dog spent time listening to kids read a the library and visiting patients at the hospital. I always admired that and knew that if I did have a dog, I’d like to follow suit. If there is a will, there is a way – has often been my motto in life.
So – instead of looking to this dogs limitations (scared, timid, fearful of people and other dogs) I set the course for his success. We found an masterful trainer who understood all dog personalities and how to help them (and the owner). We enrolled in several set of training from beginner, intermediate and advanced. We practiced our new learning between classes and visited areas that allowed for dogs so that he could get use to a variety of settings and encounters. Our hard work paid off and he earned his American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certificate and later passed his tests to become a member our our K9 Therapy Dog group with STARS.
For the past 4 years we have enjoyed spending time at our area library and some local schools. Our visits brighten the lives of children, but they brighten our days even more. There is something magical about helping others. Some of our most memorable encounters include kids warming up to a dog for the first time or one young boy’s first time getting close to a dog after a terrible dog attack a year prior. We’ve listened to countless books read to us with dog books topping the list, but we’ve enjoyed many other topics as well. And we’ve visited with kids about their own pets, their hobbies and interests, the books they like to read and any other topic that comes up in our conversations – princesses, trucks, snakes, trains, creepy crawly things – you name it!
But I started this blog with “Who Rescued Who?” As I look back over the last 6 years, I now realize Boji may have rescued me more that I rescued him. Six years ago I was at a time in my life where I was searching – searching for my purpose. I thought I knew the direction I was to go. I had studied hard and was ready! But that road kept being blocked with dead ends no matter how hard I tried. Boji seemed to know the way, but I wasn’t paying attention to the signs – even signs cast by Boji himself, like the day I came home to a shredded application I had left in his reach. He has never shredded anything in the past or after that.
I can now say, I have found peace and contentment on where I am going. I don’t know the exact path yet, but the journey has been full of exciting open doors, rather than barriers. Instead of hoping for “the something” to happen, I am enjoying each new twist along the road. I am grateful for the new experiences. Boji has brought me so much joy and happiness. He taught me to enjoy each adventure and look forward to each new step.
I wasn’t home last Sunday, so we celebrated yesterday. We went to all our dog friendly stores in the area since it was too hot outside. We visited a farm supply store, an area dog friendly sporting good store and of course the pet store.
Boji was searching for something in his life to. His path brought him to my door. Not giving up on him also taught me not to give up on myself. Together we will continue to make a difference.
Have you been rescued by a pet? I’d love to hear your story and meet your pride and joy!
You may be interested in…
5 Reasons to Read to a Dog – A ClassFlow Guest Post
A Master Teacher (about our dog trainer)
Therapy Dog Books on Amazon (Affiliate Links) – We’ve been told to write our own. Maybe some day!