“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
— Charles M. Schulz
Kendall picked out Gretchen when he was just a puppy. Ever since, they have volunteered to make the world a little brighter.
You see, together they are Pet Partners, and they help bring a little joy and comfort for elderly people confined in nursing homes or to shy children as part of the Read To Dogs program at local libraries. When Kendall arrives at his volunteering assignment donning his green Delta Society vest, people break into smiles and laughter. Returning as much affection as is bestowed upon him, he is a ray of bright sunshine for those in the sunrise or sunset of their lives.
Naturally, it’s not all fun and games. Kendall and Gretchen both had to go through some very rigorous training to be selected as a Pet Partner. Constant socialization as a puppy, daily obedience training, Oregon Humane Society courses, and an extensive evaluation were part of the preparation. Not every dog is selected to be a volunteer, but Kendall was one of the chosen (on his second try).
It’s just as hard on volunteering days. A brushing, a bath, and an obligatory run around the house starts off the day usually followed by hours of dry time. Then it’s down to business, which can be a little stressful depending on the difficulty of the assignment. Nonetheless, Kendall knows that there is a job to be done.
I met Gretchen through Toastmasters, and today she told me that thanks to some hard work, volunteering and new-found speaking confidence, she was just promoted at her company from employee to partner. It’s a testament to Gretchen and her company, Vernier, which is very supportive of volunteers. Kudos!
You don’t have to be limited to two legs to volunteer. You don’t even have to be human to have a good volunteer … tail.
Today was a preparation day at the Tigard Good Neighbor Center for us. My family will be cooking dinner for the homeless families Christmas night. Sadly, our own dog Daisy won’t be able to help.