Baxter, Our Joy Guru

Two years ago, my mom adopted Baxter – pictured above coming home from the pound http://www.mcohio.org/animalshelter/. He was six years old and was being offered as a “senior to senior” special for $20. When Baxter hugged on her legs, as if to say “take me home” mom couldn’t resist – even though he was a bit bigger dog than she planned on. Two weeks later, mom was walking Baxter and bent over to pick something up. Baxter saw something interesting and tugged on the leash, knocking mom off balance. Mom fell and broke her finger. She called me and said, “Baxter’s too much for me – if you don’t want him, I’m going to have to take him back to the pound.” My husband and I quickly agreed to round out our family to 4 members – as Emma, our half-border collie and half-great Pyrenees welcomed our new addition.

On one of our first outings, Baxter and I went to meet our life-long friend and her new puppy at the dog park. When someone new entered the park, Baxter walked up to them, sat down by their feet and leaned into them as if to give them a hug. Repeatedly he did this and was dubbed by those in the park as the Walmart greeter.

Seemingly unfazed by me playing with the puppy in the middle of the park, Baxter found contentment and joy as he laid down next to a man and woman on the bench. Baxter befriended the woman and was able to penetrate her wall of fears surrounding big dogs as one had recently knocked her over which resulted in a broken arm. At the end of their visit, she was petting Baxter.

Our newly acquired friends in the park thought he would be a natural pet therapy dog. So we called the Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association and signed up for classes. We have since graduated and Baxter has been doing what he loves and does best – being with people and spreading joy. It could be said that we “rescued” Baxter, but I must admit that he rescued me – as he reminds me that joy can be found in unlikely places and at the most unexpected times. Baxter, this blogs for you!

 

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About Tina Donovan

Tina Donovan, M.Ed., PC has dedicated her life both professionally and personally to improving the lives of children. From volunteering as a youth leader to developing a non-profit youth organization, her focus has been on providing opportunities to children enabling them to discover and develop their own unique talents.

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