While going through our house in search of anything extra we can donate, I came across some of my brother's old clothes in my basement. They were in boxes we had brought back up to Virginia after he passed away. We are donating them to the people in Alabama. This trip all of a sudden just took on a bigger meaning to us. We love to help others. A lot of what we do is in memory of my brother. Finding his box of clothes was almost like him saying to me, "thanks for living for me." John is now a part of our effort to help victims of the storm. My brother continues to help others even after death.
While in Alabama, we are staying with one of our very best friends, Jocelyn. Jocelyn and her boys mean a lot to us. We are very excited to see them. We are also picking up our new puppy, Bella. For those of you who have not already heard, Bella is a border collie/lab mix. Jocelyn's neighbor's dog wandered onto her property pregnant and her neighbor no longer wanted anything to do with her. Jocelyn was forced to find homes for all the puppies. I had already been thinking about getting a new puppy to train as a therapy dog. After Tanker was in the ICU a couple months ago having multiple seizures, we realized that he will not be able to work as a therapy dog forever and that he may have to retire earlier than expected. Also, Wes and I were devastated over the death of Blondie. I am a realist and I know that with Tanker's epilepsy he could pass away unexpectedly like Blondie did. To lessen the pain on Wes, I feel that having another dog for him to work with would make things easier if that were to happen. If we already have a backup dog for Wes, he would not have to stop volunteering either.
This is a picture of sweet Bella
After our trip to Alabama to help others in need, our lives will be non-stop. The following weekend, we are volunteering to help with Delta Society Pet Partner evaluations and the next day volunteering with Topher and Tanker at the Marine Corp Half Marathon to cheer on the runners. Then we get to take our dogs to Snowden in Fredericksburg (psychiatric hospital) to be watched for one visit as we work with patients. After that, we are on our own. Following that, Tanker and Topher are signed up almost every month to be read dogs at the library. Somewhere in between all of that, we will be orienting to volunteer in our local hospitals and doing a meet and greet with Veterans Moving Forward to volunteer in the military hospitals. Topher and Tanker are busy boys! We need to buy them their own blackberries.
This is Topher and Tanker looking serious. They think they are serious enough for blackberries.
We have been very blessed with our therapy dog work. Although we have only shadowed so far, to see the faces of people light up when the dog enters the room enriches our souls. It feels good to help others.