5.23.2012

Everything but the halo ...

I have written more than once about how Tucker is the perfect dog, (and how he, now, even has a tag to prove it!) but the truth is, I know that, objectively, he really isn't.  For one thing, the "perfect dog" is different for different people, and the very things that endear Tucker to me might be things that would bug other people.  And in fact, despite his being very near to absolute perfection in my eyes, there are still things about him that I wouldn't mind changing ... his barkiness, for example.  He'll quiet when I ask him to, but that doesn't stop him from being sure to let me know about every little thing that goes on in the vicinity, whether I want to know or not.  If an intruder is attempting to gain access to the house, intent on theft, murder, or mayhem, then by all means please let me know.  A leaf falling off a tree two blocks away is not quite so important to me.  Especially when it happens at 3 am.  

But barkiness notwithstanding, and despite the almost certain fact that he'll probably never rescue me from a burning building or alert anyone to the fact that I have fallen down a well, he is a darn good dog, and I honestly can't take much, if any, of the credit.  True, I happen to have been around a dog or two in my time, and the lessons I'd learned, and mistakes I'd made, with previous dogs probably helped me do more things right with Tucker than I otherwise would have, but even without that I think he still would have been a great dog.  So great, in fact, that I am often given cause to wonder just what kind of a moron it was who didn't recognize all the wonderful things in Tucker that I did, and do, and was stupid enough to give him up.  Whoever he or she was, though, did me a HUGE favor! (Well, me, and every other person lucky enough to know him - from my family, friends, and co-workers, to the UPS and Fed Ex guys ... because whether it's due to his Muppet-like appearance, his goofy grin, his irrepressible zest for life or his heart-on-his-sleeve freewheeling affection for every man, woman, child, or animal he meets, almost without fail everyone who comes in contact with Tucker falls in love with him.  He's just THAT freaking awesome!)

 My own personal angel ... can't you just imagine him with a halo?
Which is why it makes me sad that it's taken having my grandmother in the hospital (and now in a nursing home, and probably Hospice sooner than I can really think about dealing with) to really appreciate how much good Tucker was doing as a therapy dog before we stopped going.  When you see how much someone you know well and dearly love lights up at having the opportunity to hold a dog on their lap for twenty or thirty minutes, or even just see one or stroke its head, it makes you feel really crummy that you have this amazing dog who has the potential to bring a lot of joy to people who most need a helping of it and you have been too selfish to MAKE THE TIME for such important work.  

After all, even though it's Tucker who's really making the magic on these visits, (my grandmother is always happy to see me, of course, but it's Tucker who has the ability to break through the pain, the fatigue, and the general malaise of being terminally ill), he can't get there on his own.  It's a lot easier to make the time for these visits when it's your own much-loved family member in the bed, but everyone (hopefully) matters to someone, and if they don't, then they need those visits even more! 

So at some point, Tucker & I will be back in a hospital or nursing home (or other facility in need of therapy animals) and the human will be back with a renewed commitment to doing whatever has to be done to MAKE TIME for the therapy visits to happen.  Tucker's commitment, as it happens, never wavered, but unfortunately he has to depend on me to get him to "work."  We'll still be concentrating on our VIP patient for the foreseeable future, but the facility where she currently is does have other patients who are happy to see Tucker also, and we are committed to making time for them as well.  

It's a humbling thing when your dog is a better human being than you are.  


14 comments:

tubby3pug said...

Tucker and you are doing something so wonderful! I used to have a therapy dog visit my severely disabled students and they loved every minute

urban hounds

Random Felines said...

we are sorry to hear about your grandmother but so glad to hear that you and Tucker are spending this time with her. we hear so much about therapy animals - keep up the good work!!

Old Kitty said...

Awwww Tucker is truly terrific! He brings such joy and comfort to your beloved grandmother and will do so to many more. What an angel! Take care
x

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

We think you are being a little hard on yourself. Don't forget Tucker wouldn't be able to be any of these special things if it weren't for you rescuing him.

Sweet post, full of love for your best furry friend there. So sorry about your grandmother. We are sending you big hugs.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning and Mom

Mr. Pip said...

We agree with the OP Pack. I bet Tucker would much rather be by your side helping you through your grandmother's illness.

Your pal, Pip

Jeanne Pursell said...

Very well written post! We agree with the Op Pack and Pip!! Tucker is who he is because he loves you and the two of you together bring joy to your grandmother!! We are sorry to hear that your grandmother is not doing well.

In time, you will be able to go and visit some others. You two are a great team!! xoxo Chloe and LadyBug

Sagira said...

What a great post. We love doing our therapy work, the smiles on the patient's faces is so rewarding and really...it only takes a few minutes in your day to make someones ENTIRE day. :)

snoopy@snoopysdogblog said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Grandma :(

That was such an amazing, heartfelt post - you nearly had my Mum in tears! :)

I don't think it matters why Tucker is now doing some Therapy visits again, I think it's wonderful that he's getting to share his joy with your Grandma and the other people she's with.

That's how Mum feels about me, she doesn't just want to keep me to herself and it makes her so happy to see other people smiling when I visit them….. or even knowing that they smile at my silliness when they see me online :)

I'm off to see some of my friends at one of the Nursing Homes today and we're super excited :)

You guys are awesome :)

Your pal Snoopy :)

NCmountainwoman said...

What a nice post about Tucker. We will be sending positive to your VIP patient. I'm so glad she has you and Tucker to help her in this trying time.

Posie said...

Oh am gooderyness, what a grate n loverly n sentermentall posht, ees mayde am eyes watter. Sniff. Love n likkers, pdorg xox

Bocci said...

We love this post! Tucker is indeed, adorable and sweet, and we're sure he's a wonderful therapy dog.

Parental Unit intends to put me on that path-she sees how much I love people-and the feeling always seems to be mutual. But...she needs to find the time!

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

That's so great Tucker has such a talent. Good work!

I would love if you or someone who has a therapy dog would someday outline the process for making your dog a therapy dog--necessary certifications? How do you find out what facilities use therapy dogs? etc.

Not that I expect I'll ever have a dog who would be remotely suited! But sometimes friends and clients ask, and I've never had the chance to look much into it.

Tucker The Crestie said...

Thanks, Kirsten! This sounds like a great idea for a blog post - and I am finding myself short of inspiration these days, so thanks! I will start working on this!

Bassetmomma said...

Awwwe! what a great post! Tucker will make an excellent therapy dog!