Earlier this week, I had left Jaz over at my parents house to play with their dog while I ran errands and got my hair cut. When I came to pick her up, to my surprise, Jaz was wearing this new outfit! She's Santa's Little Helper! (or "Santa Paws")! :)
I decided she had to wear it on Friday when we volunteered at the hospital. I figured the kids would get a kick out of it! (And I was right!) Almost everyone we passed smiled or laughed at seeing Jasmine dressed up in her Santa outfit!
Last night's visit was interesting. I often don't know why kids are in the hospital. When we came to the 5th floor, we passed a 10 year old boy in the hall. His leg and hand were all bandaged up. And they were having him walk down the hall with a walker. He was hesitant to pet Jasmine, but he stroked her head a little bit. (Not everyone loves animals or feels up to seeing them, which is fine.) I continued going room to room around that floor. And when I got to the end, a man approached me and asked if I would come visit his grandson- who had been attacked by a dog. (He said it was a pit bull, but I don't know if it was.) I agreed, and when I went into the room, it was the same boy I had passed in the hall. I joked that he had already seen Jasmine, but I could show them a little trick show. By the end, he was smiling and liking Jasmine. So I felt like Jaz had helped repair that bridge of trust that was broken.
It makes me so sad that people don't train or socialize their dogs. Dogs can enrich our lives, and are such wonderful companions. And I personally have fostered 2 stray pit bulls. Oliver and Annie. (Named after the 2 orphans!) They were soooo sweet. The guy who eventually adopted Oliver renamed him "Mr. Wiggles" because we was always wagging his tail! (Which in turned wagged his whole butt!) He was such a sweetie. Pitties can be such wonderful, loving companions. I don't believe any breed is inherently bad. It's all how they are trained/raised. It seems like in the 80's, German Shepherd's were the "bad" breed. Then in the 90's, Doberman's were the "bad" breed. And in the 2000's, it changed to pit bulls. It's not the dog's fault. It's the owners. I don't mean to get on my soap box, but that's something I feel strongly about.
Anyway, I was glad Jaz was there yesterday to help re-establish a positive relationship between this boy and dogs.
Jasmine has been there a year and a half now. So we have little trading cards with Jasmine's picture on them to pass out to the patients. And she also now has her picture up on the wall, along with all the other seasoned therapy dogs. I feel proud that it's up there. Yet at the same time, I feel like that's not why we do it. It's not for the recognition. It's not for me. It's hard to explain. But Jasmine really loves coming to the hospital. She pulls on the leash to get in. (Which she rarely does.) It's a win-win. She gets treats and attention. And the kids get to pet her and laugh at her little tricks. And it really does make me feel good to help out. And it puts my life in perspective. The people at the hospital are more real to me. They are more focused on the things that matter... our relationships with others. The rest of the stuff is so trivial. But yet I get caught up in it. Our visits at the hospital keep me grounded and help me to remember to share my love with the people I care about. (Sometimes we just take for granted that they know, and forget to tell them.)
We stopped for gas on the way home from the hospital. (as you can tell by my empty gas gauge!) I snapped this picture because it was so funny to me. We have plenty of static electricity to share, if you need any! Poor Jaz!!! LOL
While I was typing this blog entry, my roommate was in her room wrapping Christmas presents. She brought out gifts, then added the labels who they were for. Then Jasmine wandered out of the room, and she had a label tag attached to her.
It said: "To: CJ. From: God." That little message warmed my heart. And made me think. It's true. Jasmine is truly a gift in my life from God. She has done wonders for me. She has allowed me to develop a talent as a dog trainer. (Which I never knew I had.) By sharing her and her tricks, she has given me a way to help make others happy. (which makes me happy) Jaz is just such a happy, cheerful dog. She has brought such joy and laughter into my life. She really is such a special dog. And I'm grateful for her.