When tragedy strikes, look for a soft and caring paw

I lost an old friend yesterday, someone I’ve known and worked with for many years. He was taken from us far too soon, victim of an auto accident. When I read the news, I gasped. The breath left my body. I had spoken to him just a few weeks ago, and we were going to have him on my show and podcast to just tell old stories and have fun. 

That will never happen now. He was busy, I was busy, we both thought there would be plenty of time. 

There wasn’t.

When I came home and told Lady Shannon, I started to cry. Not a lot, but the words were coming out in pieces with tears between them. She reached out to hug and comfort me. 

Then, the power of my furry kids. 

Magnus the Norwegian Elkhound and Bailey the Beagle ALWAYS greet us when we come in the door. Gone for 5 minutes or 5 days, they are there, tails wagging, big hugs and licks. Some “experts” say it’s not good to do this every time, but screw ’em. It’s a wonderful moment of true love. 

When she released her hug, Magnus did something he NEVER does. He jumped up, front paws reaching out for my chest, big smile on his face. Shannon said, “he’s trying to comfort you. Let him”.

She was correct, He sensed my grief and wanted to help. I kneeled down, we rubbed faces, as always, I buried my head in his voluminous fur, and it was as if I was bathed in sunshine. A few seconds later, there comes Bailey  sticking her nose in between us and putting her paws up around my collarbone. 

My kids, my furry kids, were changing my life yet again. 

I mention this in light of today’s post. It’s a story from last year, but it could have come from any day, any place, any time,  About a woman who saw first hand what happens when a dog is in the mix to help someone deal with tragedy. In this case, two dogs named Snickers and Tabor. In this case, it was she who needed the assist. 

What Nancy Trepagnier experienced is not unique. Dog therapy teams have been around for some time, assisting the elderly, the affirmed, the mentally ill, those recovering from great injury, the list goes on. But is is a growing trend to see such groups, then experiencing the emotional power they have. 

I found out, first hand. 

Would that we all could understand the emotional power and love from a creature that does not speak our language, passes thru our lives in such a relatively short amount of time, and is so sensitive to our feelings, they only want to be there as comfort. No reward. Nothing in return. Just to be there. 

Magnus and Bailey taught their Daddy a lesson I won’t soon forget. They are, no offense to human professionals, the best there is at what they do. That emotional therapy when needed most. No office visits. No prescriptions. No judgement. 

We need to learn more than a few lessons from them, and realize that in times of crisis and need, a helping and loving hand is sometimes all we need. 

Or in these cases, a loving paw. 

Good dogs. 

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