All month I’ve been struggling with the thought that Kirby is slowing down. His vision is worsening, his legs are showing the toll many surgeries have taken on him and he is so sleepy sometimes.
But his heart and spirit are still strong.
I watch him so closely now. Does he still want to be petted and held and cuddled? Does he still want to be surrounded by people, especially children? Does he still enjoy car rides and meeting new people?
I watch him when we are with the elderly and when we are with children. I watch him when we are with able bodied clients and when we are with those who have challenges.
Today in our second grade class we only had two dogs instead of our usual four or five. I was concerned how he would hold up having many more kids around him than usual. How would the students be with only two dogs instead of the usual group? Bailey was with us and these two old guys showed us they were up to the challenge!
Maybe because Kirby was slower today and actually fell asleep, the students were the sweetest ever as well. They took Kirby’s lead and understood today was a day to be calm and quiet. They understood not to bother him while he was resting but to gently rub his back and appreciate how being gentle could be the greatest gift to this little dog.
I watch him when we first arrive and I watch him after an hour … I watch him when we are visiting quietly and when we are teaching a class.
And this is what I see.Kirby is the most perfect imperfect little dog ever.
I see that he has a way of reaching into everyone’s hearts and souls.
I see children learning compassion and patience and kindness from this little dog.
I see clients with special needs learning they are special in a different way – a profound way as little Kirby is. I see people who would never come up to a dog crying with joy when they see him.
I see our special friend Julian so gentle when he picks him up and cradles him in his arms.
I see Kirby look right into Julian’s eyes with love and respect and Julian looking right back.I see a dog that has made such a difference in so many lives that he deserves only the kindest years to come.
I see Kirby – the dog no one wanted who has become perfect – in my eyes and everyone who has met him.