Submitted By: Amy Stritikus, Dickson TN
Well I had always had a dog while I was growing up. And shortly after my husband and I married we bought a Golden Retriever. So now two years into our marriage, we decide that Gracie needed a playmate. We were given the name of a breeder in our area from the doggie daycare, where she stayed while we were at work. So after contacting the breeder it just so happened that a litter of 8 sweet Golden pups had just arrived! We went saw & fell in love of course, with a lovable, passive, pudgy male. Made a deposit & prepared to bring him home in a few weeks.
After much time to think about having a second dog to take care, travel with & house train all over again, I got coldfeet & canceled our deposit on our sweet pup! Fortunately, my husband had his wits about him and made me realize that my love for dogs was much stronger than any fear I had about taking care of more than one. So I phoned the breeder who actually still had the sweet boy I had chosen the first visit and we brought him home on June 21st 2001. We named him Amos and he took to Gracie immediately! However, Gracie had enjoyed being an only dog for so long, I think she was quite shocked when this play date didn’t end like the ones before.
At age 2, I decided to enroll Amos in basic obedience class. He passed with flying colors & did so well, we then went on to get his Canine Good Citizen certificate. While we were working on his CGC, one of the instructor’s thought Amos would be a good candidate for the Therapy Dog training program they were about to offer. So we enrolled in the Therapy Dog International’s training program & became a certified handler & therapy dog in June 2003. Our first visit, which ended up becoming a bimonthly visit, was to an assisted living facility. It was wonderful to see how much joy he brought to the residents and how many of their happy pet stories they shared with me. There was also a gentleman there, who insisted Amos share his banana with him. I think Amos actually might have gotten a little more of the banana than his new friend;)
We visited the assisted living facility up until I became pregnant with our first child and then needless to say, we put our license to rest for awhile. When our son was in preschool, they had a special day held for each child, seperate from birthdays. Each child was to talk about and bring in something that was special to him or her. With the blessing of the director and his therapy license, Amos was able to attend with our son that morning for his special day. He loved it, the children loved it and passers by loved it as they made their way by the classroom.
Amos was definitely sent here to bring joy to other people but I felt more than blessed to have had him as my pet. There were some days, most days, he was an extra set of eyes and ears for me and my husband. When my son was an infant and sleeping, if I were in the shower, I always knew when he had woken up because Amos would come into the bathroom & stare at me as if to tell me something. There were many instances where “he let me know” when I was needed. But the one that I will never forget and will always be grateful was when he woke me from a deep sleep to the sound of my then four year old son, who was upstairs, having an asthma attack. I knew then he was truly an angel.
We had many wonderful experiences and memories made with Amos and I am forever thankful for everyday we had with him. On January 13th of this year, we said goodbye to our beloved Amos of 11 1/2 years. He had lost the use of his back legs and his internal organs were shutting down. We all felt blessed to have loved him and most importantly been loved by him. And I know he’s in heaven visiting with everyone and bringing smiles to the children and perhaps even sharing a banana!
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