Maddie is my dog. She is atwenty-pound, nine-year-old Cavapoo (King Charles Cavalier Spaniel/poodle mix) and practically perfect in every way (just like Mary Poppins!)
We first met Maddie before we moved into the neighborhood last Spring. Driving in one day to check on house progress (Mom and Dad totally remodeled our house after they bought it)we saw a man walking the cutest dog. We pulled over, unrolled the window and asked if we could meet his dog. Bill said yes and we met Bill and Maddie for the first time. As we got to know Bill better, we offered to dogsit if he ever needed someone to watch Maddie. She came to visit for a week here and there, weekends every now and then, and the occasional Saturday when Bill had plans to be gone all day.
I fell in love with her and hated to give her back when Bill came to pick her up. This went on most of the autumn of 2014 until Christmas day when I received a card from Maddie, asking if she could live with me for always. I called Bill and talked to him for a bit, and said, YES! (of douse!) Maddie came over the week after Christmas and has been mine ever since. She is queen of the house, very spoiled, a total love. She brings me great joy every day and cuddles each night. In short, she is a wonderful gift!
And like all gifts from God, she is a gift that gets better when shared. My sister's kids adore her and she loves them right back.
When I was in the hospital for all those many months after my stroke, animal visits were too few and far between. When animals did visit, it made my day and all the other patients' days too.In therapy group at Spalding, everyone always said more animal visits were needed...
So I have this great and loving dog who loves people and is small enough to get on a hospital bed to love someone and be loved and petted and adored. How to share the gift of Maddie? Hospital visits, of course!
She and I went to Spalding Rehabilitation hospital about a month ago and met with the volunteer coordinator.She had her picture taken for her volunteer badge while I went through a quick training.
Yesterday afternoon we went back for our first afternoon of patient visits. We started with my old room (236) and worked our way down the hall, visiting people and hearing a bit of their stories. Maddie was beyond wonderful and behaved as if she were born and trained to be a therapy dog! We saw a couple of my nurses and my speech therapist, plus the woman who used to be the cook and took such great care of everyone by making delicious meals and knowing all the patients by name.
It was good to go back and walk through the doors feeling healthy and strong and to remember the progress I have made.
I talked with patients about hard work, perseverance, and hope. The afternoon was super rewarding and we will definitely be going back regularly as the calendar allows. I got my picture taken too so I will have a badge like Maddie does.
So what gifts has God given you that you could share with others?
In other news, well, there's not really much other news, so have a great weekend!