Gus is retiring. After more than 200 visits to nursing facilities, libraries, special needs schools, family homes and rehabilitation centers, my almost ten-year- old golden retriever is calling it quits.
He will be available for the occasional visit, but he has done his time and done it well. His days of bringing comfort to hospital patients, laughter to the elderly, joy to children with life challenges and love to all those he met are over.
Time for Some Much Deserved Rest
I am not sure that Gus is depressed about his new status. He now can take it easy at home, go for more walks and pee incessantly, do lots of smelling, continue to beg for food from the dinner table and beyond, chase the occasional squirrel and sleep on his favorite sofa (yes, I admit – my dogs sleep on our furniture). And while he was wonderful with his therapy work, he was always seemed relieved when it was over.
Always calm, gentle and friendly, he pawed me ever so gently during our sessions with children and adults, placing his front right paw on my arm as if to say, “ I am fine doing this and spreading happiness to everyone, but when will it be time to jump back in the car and go back home?” Yet, on every visit, Gus was infinitely patient, magnanimously accepting hands and arms and faces all over him, sometimes loud and strident voices and unusual places, surfaces and smells. He never, never freaked out or lost his composure, doing his work with grace and dignity.
Thank You, Gus
Gus is the reason I started Nellie’s Schoolhouse. I saw the work he did with people and the positive effect he had on all whom he encountered, the joyous looks on their faces after they sat with him, petted him and gave him the occasional hug. I saw children grow in self-confidence when they met him, knowing that he was not judging them for how they looked or acted, never acknowledging the labels society had given them. His sweet disposition was contagious, his sweet eyes were honest and, his sweet smiles were real during those times when he made a difference in so many lives,
Gus deserves some rest now. He has earned it – twice over. He is still active, though he goes about his life with a slower gait and at a slower pace. His youngest brother, Zeke, has taken up the mantle, and at two -years old, he is performing well with the Nellie’s Schoolhouse. But he has big shoes to fill, or should I say paws. There will never be another Gus.
I thank you, Gus, with all my heart. We have many years left together….. and many more bushes to pee on. I love you, my dear boy.