Kind of fitting that it is my stepson's 11th Birthday today; it will be easy for me to remember our very first outing! We signed up to work twice a month for the next quarter. I felt it was important to see how Gabby enjoyed her new 'job' and break her in slowly.
Our trainer suggested that I use a 'special' leash, different from her normal walking leash and hang it in a different spot, away from the other leash so Gabby can learn the difference between going on a 'normal' walk and getting ready for 'work'. In a few weeks, we'd like to hope that Gabby gets excited when I open the closet and grab her 'work' leash.
We were assigned to a place on Mission Street - an area in San Francisco where a lot of homeless and less fortunate people live. Gabby and I arrived about 10 minutes early and were introduced to the receptionist and a few office workers. We were told it was a Psychiatric Day Clinic. People with problems could come to this place, receive counseling and a meal. A group of 15 people were in a room, eating their lunch when we arrived. Gabby seemed happy, tail wagging upon our arrival to meet our new friends.
We were told that the patients may need some coaxing and discussion to feel accepted by us, as newcomers to their group. We sat on a couch in the corner and patients interested could come over and see us.
The most memorable story I wish to recall from this particular visit is when a woman came to our little corner. She sat down next to us on the couch, Gabby rolled over onto her back and licked the women's fingers. The woman smiled, giggled and said in a very happy voice, "Gabby likes me!!! She likes me!! She kissed me!! She likes me!!" See, that is all we want...for someone to like us. It was really cool to watch and be a part of something that made this woman smile for a few minutes in her day!
We stayed for about 50 minutes. Gabby was very comfortable and would lay on her back to allow people to rub her belly, and pat her head. I told funny Gabby stories and everyone laughed.
As in many things, when we volunteer in hopes to help someone, to give our time to others, and in the end, THEY turn out to be much more of a blessing in OUR own lives! It was a delight to be a part of their day - it did my soul good and I think Gabby walked out feeling pretty happy herself!