I have long believed that you are sent the dog or dogs you need. Potential adopters may have a certain type of dog in mind for themselves that they want but after much discussion with them, I will suggest a dog they may never have considered. Perhaps they have a strong need for control and are frustrated by not being able to manage every moment as they would like to. I may suggest a dog that experiences random moments of glee or who truly appreciates life’s opportunities while seeking wild possibilities. The dog will lead his or her person on adventures they never would have scheduled into the daily agenda planner and together, they will stop to smell the daisies.

People contact us wanting a dog but manage to repeatedly talk themselves out of one during the discussion process. They worry and doubt themselves. They get in their own way by creating barriers and obstacles that don’t exist. After working through their imaginary fears, I suggest they follow through with the adoption and promise to stay in touch during the initial stages. It takes very little time for people to realize just what a dog and a human can accomplish together. Confidence is gained, joy is discovered and brave new hearts overcome fears.  A well needed bond is formed that gives life a brand-new quality.

Yes, I believe that you are sent the dog you need and I now understand just why, after fourteen years, I was sent 1,587 dogs. I needed them all.

In the ongoing saga of my brain tumour I just learned how complicated it actually is. It is the placement of the tumour in my eye that is rare and unique. There is no research or information on a case like mine so no one can truly weigh risks or predict an outcome. A second surgery is now most likely as the remaining tumour is quite large and the headaches are worsening. The hope is that I won’t lose my eye.

I felt slightly numb when I was given this news but was not filled with any sense of dread. I seemed to immediately accept the situation. I was reacting just as I had witnessed others do many times over. I was trusting something deep within me – lessons learned from dogs.

Dogs are not able to ask a multitude of questions so they trust their instincts. They need a stillness within to do so. They live in the moment and do all they are able to within that time. Dogs don’t project into the future or expect life guarantees. They simply cope. Rarely do they have many options so they simply do what is asked or expected of them. They are noble, courageous and remarkable creatures and it has taken close to 1,600 of them to prepare me for this time in my life.  I will remain still enough to trust my instincts, I will deal with only the moments I am in and not worry myself into the unknown and I will cope with whatever I am faced with. The dogs and all the people they led me to will hold me up and give me strength.

This year at the reunion, I will tell the stories of a few specific dogs who helped me to be, and do, better.