When I was growing up, we had cats as pets. We had a dog when I was very young, but she died when I was around 5 years old and we never got another. My childhood cat lived to be almost 21 years old and she had many litters of kittens.
When Kevin and I moved to Hickory, I was shocked at how empty our apartment felt without a cat. Luckily, my birthday was a month after we moved, and Kevin got a Persian for me as a present. Her name was Heidi and she was a great cat. We had two more cats before we decided to get a dog for our then family of three. Our daughter , Molly, was eleven and we wanted her to have a childhood dog. We got a cock-a-poo and named her Annabelle. She was the perfect family dog and she made us a dog family forever.
When Molly was getting ready to graduate high school, we knew our house would feel empty again when she left for college. We decided to get a bigger dog this time, a Goldendoodle, and a companion for Annabelle. We found a breeder and picked out our boy. We named him Archie and brought him home when he was eight weeks old. Little did we know when we picked him out that he would fill a void much larger than our daughter going off to college. My beloved father passed away suddenly on July 8th, 2011. We brought Archie home July 23rd and we say “he saved our souls”. Molly had time to bond with Archie before she left for school and when I quit my job to grieve my father’s death, Archie was by my side everyday. He was loving and sensitive and just want I needed.
I found out through some volunteer work, that there were organizations in the area that worked with therapy dogs. This was perfect for Archie! He was already very well -trained. I joined a group called Paws and Think and Archie and I became a therapy team. I have always been passionate about reading, so we naturally fell into going to places where kids could read to Archie.
I had decided to go back to work and the school I worked for was open to Archie coming in once a week to read with special needs kids. It was a wonderful and joyful experience for us all. The children loved reading to Archie and Archie loved the children. The classroom we visited is run by a compassionate and caring teacher whom I have come to respect and admire. The staff at the school is caring and loving. It has been an honor to be a part of this community of educators.
Today, Archie did his last “gig” at the school. We celebrated his seventh birthday and all the children made going away cards for us. Archie and I are retiring as a therapy team. It has been a glorious five and a half years of reading, laughs and fellowship. We will miss them all greatly and we are a better human and canine for having them in our lives.