It all started with a little dog named Pizza.
Between tours I would find myself at the Colbert County Animal Shelter, walking a few dogs each day. A friend of mine once said: “You know, you can only go into a barber shop so many times before you end up with a haircut.” I was happy to help many dogs as often as I could.
I don’t need a dog of my own. It is better that I can help many dogs.
Walking shelter dogs not only gets them out of their cages so that they may find relief somewhere other than where they sleep…it also takes a little bit of pressure of the shelter employees, with one less cage to clean up. It increases the chances of a dog being adopted because he or she may learn to do better on a leash. Plus it’s just a ton of fun.
I knew I could never have a dog of my own because I was always on the road. Then one day it happened. “Do they ever let you have sleepovers?”
She was a stressed out blue heeler mix, afraid of everything from doors to cars. We would have to cross the road every time there was a garbage can out on the street.
What could have possibly happened to you?
So we did it. We had a “sleepover” and less than two weeks later, I was filling out adoption papers.
Over time, something else began to happen. I realized that I liked being at home. I liked spending time with her, and watching her improve each day. I taught her to raise her hand when I asked “Who’s the best dog ever?”. She learned to place her tiny paw on my knee when I said “Who’s your best bud?” (then, of course, we had to make sure she that she really meant it, and “shake on it”).
She was so smart. She learned “May I have this dance?”, “Lay one on me!” and “What does a dire wolf do?” within days.
What am I going to do now?
I am a firm believer that sometimes we don’t know how to truly live until we can see it in our minds. I started to imagine myself at 65. What would I be doing? Surely I wasn’t still on the road, slugging it out night after night and trying to track down lost luggage.
I’m a little old piano teacher…
It was still music. It was still helping people. Right out of high school, I was in university with plans to be some kind of teacher, maybe an English teacher, history…it wouldn’t have even really mattered. Everyone has that one teacher; the one who changes everything. Maybe you’re thinking about him or her right now. I thought maybe I could be that to someone. This combined an old goal with a new chapter.
So here it is. Another chapter…