On and off for quite some time we’ve been trying to make it happen that I would visit RCS. They are a private nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower individuals with disabilities and special needs so that they may work, live and function with dignity and respect. Originally, we had a time set up for me to visit with Frankie in July 2012. But then Frankie passed away June 21, 2012.
As they put their holiday programming together earlier this year, and with the help of my friend, Mary who works there, we finally set a date for Dec. 30th. We agreed I would read one or two of my Frankie children’s book to the clients. I had also sent them leftover posters and magnet sets I had of Joie after she passed away. I felt they would inspire their clients. We decided with my visit for the holiday programming it would be extra special if we handed them out then.
As it would also turn out, as many of you know, I also adopted Gidget mid-November. I didn’t promise anything because I wanted to be sure Gidget would be up for the visit. But I said if I felt she was, I’d bring her along to meet the clients.
She was such a good little dog. I held her in my Take-a-Long bag as I read Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dot to the clients. I also brought Frankie and Joie’s wheelchair along so everyone could see what a dog wheelchair looks like and how it works. I then shared with them Gidget’s story.
After we were done with that, Gidget “helped” me sign posters and magnet sets as each client came up and chose which they would like. They also got to take a moment to pat Gidget on the head. The whole time she was calm and relaxed.
My heart and world is always in awe and opens even more when I experience the lives of those living more challenged lives than most of us. To see the staff in action nurturing and taking care of those with special needs is something I define as grace. It takes very special hearts to do this line of work. It truly is with deep gratitude that I am thankful for what they do.
My heart was full of joy as everyone made their way to the tables set up for lunch. It was also then that two unexpected surprises came my way.
Mary asked if I had a few moments because they had some gifts for me. As I sat with Gidget in my lap, Mary presented me with a large bag. Inside was a big fleece blanket with a dachshund pattern on it. Mary and another co-worker, Emily, made it for me. I just love it! As you can see in the photo below, Gidget made herself right at home on it when we got home later that morning. She could barely keep her little eyes open from all the excitement of the morning.
She reached inside the bag and slowly pulled out items that were bubble wrapped. One by one she presented me with sketches she drew of Gidget, Joie, and Frankie.
I was moved to tears as Mary said, “Now you have all three of your girls together.” No words can truly describe what this gift means to me from one dog lover to another. Laura also knows the depth of working with our beloved dogs as therapy dogs, and the impact that has forever on our hearts.
Laura’s work is simply amazing. She really captured the spirit of each of my girls. A gift I will treasure always.
My time at RCS is also a reminder to me of all the good I have in what I define as my simple and meaningful life. I’m grateful for quiet moments reading or writing, time talking with John in front of our woodstove during the winter, or in front of our chiminea on the deck in summer. Walks with Kylie and Gidget, as well as plenty of snuggle time…. and the list of my simple pleasures goes on and on.
But I leave you this last day of 2013 with the one thing I wish for everyone… and that is to sit in the silence of your heart and listen to what it is you really want. Then begin today to take steps, whether large or small, to live from that desire of your hearts whispers.
**I invite you to learn more about Laura Griffin’s art work on her website at Griffin Animals Graffics.**