“He looks just like my dog.”
“He looks like a dog I used to have.”
“I miss my dog.”
“I can’t wait to have a dog again.”
“He just makes me smile whether I feel like it or not.”
“I love how soft he is, but I really feel better just seeing him. I don’t even have to pet him.”
I hear any one of these at least once each time Duke and I go to the Homeless Emergency Project (HEP). After a few minutes, they are so into petting Duke that they start only talking about him and what a sweet soul he is.
As Duke was playing the King of Christmas yesterday, I was sharing a bit of my own story with folks as they would share about their own canine companions.
One woman is lucky enough to have someone keeping her dog for her. Tears welled up in her eyes when she talked about visiting her dog and cat. Her dog is 13 and she was talking about how Duke’s gray muzzle reminded her of her old girl.
I remember living at HEP and being so heartsick for my dogs that I could hardly stand it. I will never forget what that felt like.
I shared with this woman that visiting my dogs every couple of weeks got harder as time passed, but that it also made me figure out a way to get back with them. The idea of being back with them kept me motivated to make it happen.
She rubbed on Duke’s ears as we were talking, nodding that she too would be back with her dog soon. Duke stayed with her despite the distraction of others vying for some time with him. When she got what she needed, Duke took a small step back for the others to get to him.
I had his leash, but this was his show. My heart melts as he is doing his thing. If there was such as a thing as beams of pride, I was beaming them out of every pore of my body.
He worked his magic despite the uncomfortable and hot king’s robe he was made to wear. He wagged and smiled at everyone even when I know he wanted to swat off that crown headband. The smiles and love he received with his outfit on seemed to make a difference.
When no one was around, cooing or taking his picture, he got that crown off and undid the robe.
He was dressed as King Duke, but to me, he is more like Mighty Dog or Super Dog. I never grow tired of marveling at his ability to bring smiles and a little bit of healing throughout his kingdom.