I used to call Lenore "The Love Dog," and she earned the title But I think Red may be surpassing even her. Ruth, a new resident at the Mansion, is wild about Red, when she sees him she drops to the floor and gives him the biggest bear hug, which he seems to love.
I am always a little surprised at how much Red means to so many people at the Mansion, and of course I should be. He represents the love and life they left behind, he is a living thing they can touch and feel and hug.
He loves unconditionally but always appropriately. He will ever jump or start or jump on anyone. He senses need and attention and responds to it.
My therapy dog training with Red is the best dog training I have ever done and the most effective. Sheepherding training is complex, and often beyond me, but therapy dog training is somehow right in my wheelhouse.
Red is a magical dog, he connects with people in a particular way.
And I am grateful. Red has done so much for the Mansion and its residents, he reaps smiles and hugs and excitement wherever he goes. Slowly, the Mansion is filling up with life. The residents, enthusiastic and loving management and staff. two parakeets, a rescued cat, a Geranium garden and a therapy dog.
When Dr. Karen Thompson gave me Red, she said she hoped he might become a therapy dog, and I was determined to honor her wish. It was a great instinct on her part.
I'm going to ask Morgan Jones, the Mansion Director, if she will let me bring in a fish tank, I think the residents would love keeping an eye on some fish, naming them and caring for them. The goal is to ease loneliness and boredom and helplessness. I can help with the first two, the third is beyond me.
I think Morgan will go for it. She is wild about animals.
I don't know if there are any regulations against fish, but we'll see. Maybe some goldfish and some guppies, and a couple of neon tetras.