I still remember my first day of kindergarten. My mom and grandma brought me to the classroom to check it out and be sure I wouldn’t pitch a holy fit at them for leaving me alone with strangers for a whole four hours. They assured me I’d be home again soon and that I would meet so many new people and would make many new friends. Their excitement wasn’t all that thrilling to me and I kinda called their bluff. I knew right away that change was afoot. They made such a big deal about me going down the tube slide (I admit I did think that was pretty cool). A playground tube slide right there in the classroom. Maybe I could get on board, so I climbed the ladder and sat my little 5 year old butt down at the head of the slide and pushed myself off. I remember looking down at my little buster browns and my ankle socks. My crisp grandma-ironed plaid shirt and jumper reminding me it was my first day of school: a day my parents and my grandma had been talking to me about for months. When I got to the bottom of the slide I was excited with adrenaline. My mom and my beloved grandma were… gone. My teacher was there waiting for me, smiling and ready for me to learn what she had to teach, but where was my mom and grandma? Gone. My. teacher was such a nice lady and I still remember her. But I can’t even tell you the relief I felt at the end of the morning when my grandma was there to pick me up in her Buick and take me back to my precious normalcy. Nearly 40 human years later I still remember that temporary feeling of abandonment. Loss. Wondering what was next for me.
I’m not trying to be a Sarah Mcloughlin commercial, but I do have to wonder what that feeling of loss must be like without the return to normalcy at the end of a four hour school day. I have to say I admire the resilience of all the dogs I see who go through such an enormous change when they arrive at Bob’s House For Dogs. Once upon a time I worked at a pet boarding facility and I recall the mind-boggling trust of the pets staying there who saw us and immediately allowed us to take care of them. No questions. No hesitation. Just a big “Hi!” and a “when is breakfast?” look. Their trust in us was a gift. The trust new residents at Bob’s House put into the existing residents already living there? Absolute miracle. It never fails. A newbie comes on the scene and within days they have latched on to some other fuzzy resident who is also still a newbie. After just a few days they have found their soul mate. Their mama duck who they can look to for guidance. When someone like Bailey comes in and attaches himself to Riley, you know he feels: accepted. Maybe it’s temporary, but if someone can come in not knowing a single soul, not knowing who will be at the end of that tube slide, not knowing what even the next four hours will bring, and they can find themselves cuddling with a total stranger (canine or human), you know that when they find their forever home, they will know the comfort of total normalcy and you know they will adapt to whatever classroom comes their way.
Written by Guest Blogger: Sue Olson