Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sparky the dog!

This is Sparky, our dog. We don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet but we know it's a Portuguese Water Dog. (no relation to the Obama's dog, for the record). We don't know when Sparky will join our family but we know it will. We are sure as the sun will rise tomorrow that this dog will be our friend, our helper and our guide in so many ways the possibilities are keeping me up at night. This might just be the biggest thing that has happened in our family since Victor was able to drink regular milk or since Rebecca discovered Dr. Who, the series. I tell you, it's BIG.

Sparky is not going to be a regular dog. It will come from the best line of dogs we know, raised with love to work for love. I can't put it any other way.

So, we are not big animal say the least, our daughter Rebecca has suffered for a long time because we wouldn't get a pet, specifically, a dog. We couldn't commit to the extra work and I personally felt it was just too much of a responsibility and I couldn't be bothered. Truth is, I didn't want to get emotionally invested with a pet that I knew will die one day. Well, life has a way to make you face your fears and I did fall in love with a dog, our sister's dog, who came to live with us two years ago. Although she was an older lady, Chiqui was amazing with our kids and when she was gone she left a big hole in our lives and in our hearts. I did learn one thing out of our experience with Chiqui; she brought the best out in all of us, especially in Frankie. They shared a especial connection and when the end was near for her, she chose to lay next to his bed - sometimes I wonder if she knew how much he really needed her and did not want to leave.

Since then, one thing has led to another and on a fateful sunny day we were at the City of Shoreline Parade and met a happy bunch - they go around helping people, young and old through their labor of love. This singular troop is lead by Mrs. Laurie Hardman, who is a certified breeder and trainer of these amazing dogs, the Portuguese Water Dogs. I must confess I'm very ignorant about dog breeds and I had no knowledge of them before; I did like their no-shed coat and hypoallergenic quality but that was that. Because I like to know and I like to research, I have made it a point to find out more about who these dogs are. I have found out they are intelligent, independent, working dogs that are easily trained into the various Service Dog roles such as hearing dogs (assistance dogs for the deaf), mobility dogs, and seizure response dogs. They also make unusually good therapy dogs . Therapy dogs! Did I hear therapy dogs? Once I bumped into Ms. Hardman again at the HS where I work, I knew the universe was trying to tell me something, so we started our journey to find our Sparky. With her help and guidance, there is no price tag we can put to the realization of a dream.

By the way, the name Sparky is a "puppy" version of Sparkles, the name that Frankie wanted for our dog. I'm not sure where he heard it but it couldn't be a better fit - this dog is sparkling, shining full of possibilities and it's already loved and wanted by a family that enjoys hard work and values hope more than anything in the world. Also, what better dog could we find for our water-loving kids than one that would swim with them? It's a match made in heaven!

More to come soon......

****If you want more information about Mrs. Hardman's labor of love, please visit ******

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