Dec. 19, 2019
Just a little more than a year ago, a tiny, but feisty, little nugget of a pup was born. At the time she was born, I was still grieving the loss of my cherished border collie mix. Fast forward to the end of January, when I was grieving the loss of so many things while listening to survivor statements. Everything seemed dark and horrible. And then, my husband showed me a picture of that fluffy little puppy and there was some light to be found.
I took one look at the photo and said, “Go get me that dog.” (Honestly, I might have used more colorful language, but I won’t share that here.) So, he did. Little Ms. Islay Skye immediately became my therapy dog. Technically, she’s a pet and not a recognized therapy dog, but don’t all pets really serve as confidants, mood lifters and bringers of joy? If that’s not therapeutic, I don’t know what is.
I brought her to the office for a visit in early February and my colleagues immediately turned into children sitting in a circle on the floor. Her rambunctious energy and wiggly butt was exactly what we all needed to lift our spirits. Therapy dog, indeed.
There have been many days during the last year when I’ve buried my head in her scruff and cried about any number of things. She never complains, she always listens (unless she’s run off with a sock) and I always feel better after spending time with her. She became exactly what I needed.
Today, my coworker brought in his new puppy, Ruby, who ran around with abandon and made off with my glove. Again, everyone turned into children sitting on the floor calling her to come to them for cuddles. I challenge anyone to say that wasn’t therapy.
Justice, an adorable Labrador retriever, is an actual trained therapy dog who has become exactly what many people need. She works as the canine advocate for MSU’s Sexual Assault Program. She provides emotional support to survivors during interviews and court proceedings. Check out the short video MSUTODAY FEATURE: A dog called Justice, to learn more about her important job taking care of people.
Merdith Gore, an associate professor of fisheries and wildlife, has an important job taking care of animals. She is a conservation social scientist who is fighting illegal wildlife trade. Read her FACULTY VOICE: Ending wildlife crime, to learn more about her work and why she says, “it always seems impossible until it is done.”
Recent graduate Kathryn Bailey, has lived by that sentiment. Born with no hands and missing her big toes and supporting bones on each foot, she refused to let her quadrilateral limb deficiency keep her from pursuing her dreams of being an artist. Watch the video in the STUDENT VIEW: I will, to learn more about this inspirational young Spartan.
There is so much inspiration to be found among Spartans. I’m still basking in the glow of all the inspiring thoughts, wishes and good will that we gathered from alumni, students, faculty and staff during our holiday project. In fact, a lot of people around here are so we decided to gather up some of our favorite messages that we had left to share them in another MSUTODAY FEATURE: Flurry of good will. Give them a read and take another look at the video my talented colleagues produced — it will give you the warm fuzzies almost as much as a new puppy.
Even though I’ve watched it countless times already, it always puts a smile on my face and reminds me to stop and enjoy the little things this season — like Spartans caring for Spartans. As we wind down this year, my wish for you is that this season brings you all peace, joy, hope and good will…and maybe a new puppy. #SpartansWill