My friend Roberta is a force of nature. She’s strong, bright, honest and compassionate. Her accomplishments in the field of education are legendary. She was on the Los Angeles school board and founded the high school magnet program that I worked with for several years. Above all she’s a fighter who is now waging the battle of her life against brain cancer.
We’ve been friends for over thirty years. It’s the kind of friendship where we may not talk for quite some time but once we pick up the phone it’s as if we chatted yesterday. She called the other day about getting together, but it was really the Doods she wanted to see. Roberta, like me, is a crazy dog lady. She is also a long time exercise person. I’ll admit right here that we actually flexed for each other during our visit.
She really can’t deal with a pet right now but she figured out a way to combine her exercise and her love for dogs. She works out on weight lifting equipment in the garage, so she let her neighbors know that as soon as they saw the door open in the morning, they were welcome to bring in their dogs. Of course she added a box of biscuits as a little incentive. Soon four or five started dropping by every day.
Figuring that if neighborhood dogs were lifting her spirits, therapy dogs would be even better, she got in touch with me. I told you she was smart. She called to ask if I would bring a Dood or two over to her house. Gus was working at UCLA Wednesday, so I offered to stop by after we finished. From the moment we arrived Gus was treated like a VIP or would that be a VID?
It turned out to be a great afternoon for Roberta, the other people at her house and for Gus. The mood was light, everyone smiling and laughing. I don’t think Gus’s tricks ever got more applause. He was being offered treats from all directions. He even got a seat at the dining room table. I had to put my foot down, however, when they offered to serve him lunch.
After all of the activity, Roberta sprawled on the floor for a little quiet time with Gus. As soon as she lay down, he walked over and cuddled next to her. Then in his signature move, he rolled over for a belly rub. It was such a sweet perfect moment of healing. It was my beautiful therapy dog doing what he does best for my dear friend.