In memory of Rose:
Rose and I first met in 2006 following the death of my daughter, a physician and my twelve year old borzoi, Lexie, both of cancer. We were both wounded warriors but this was to be a match made in heaven! Rose was a rescue and suffered from gunshot wounds and malnutrition. In my depressive state she forced me to get out of my home and go on long walks. Her funny antics made me laugh and smile again. We began to heal.
I wanted her to become a therapy dog with Hospice as a payback for the care my daughter received. We entered dog obedience only to fail. Rose had not experienced treats and refused to eat them. The only reward she accepted was love. We entered dog obedience a second time. This time she knew what she was there for and excelled. She then passed her test for Therapy Dogs International, Inc. and our journey began. On occasion at Hospice, a patient would save food from their meal tray, awaiting the opportunity to feed it to Rose. By regulations Rose was not to eat on the job but who could deny the joy it brought to the patient.
While visiting the Veterans Administration Hospital in the long term psychiatric unit, one patient told Rose he was Elvis and played the "air guitar" and sang, "You Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog". Three other psych patients would sing, 'How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" as she would enter or leave the recreation room. On one occasion two long term psych patients, both in wheelchairs, both with helmets on were screaming and swearing at each other. Rose's nose was four inches from the arm of one of the men. Rose observed but never moved a muscle! At a senior day care facility the attendees sang, "Happy Birthday" to Rose on her birthday. The joy on the attendees faces was priceless! You would have thought it was their birthday!
When servicemen and women from Iraq returned home the Kalamazoo Air Zoo invited them and their families for a day of celebration. Rose was invited to do her therapy as part of the celebration. At the age of eleven Rose died of Lymphoma. Rest in peace my beloved love buggie! Rose (2.2.02- 8.6.13)