Can dogs be generous? This is a question has haunted me for the past few days. I always think of generosity as BIG GIVING or giving beyond what is asked, but I decided, since I am merely a curly dog employed as a dog dog walker, that I needed to do some research. I started with the dictionary, the place where humans write down exactly what words mean.
Here’s what I learned: Generosity is a noun, which means it is a thing (not a person or a place). It comes from the word “generous” which is an adjective (a word that describes a noun…remember, Gretchen was a middle school English and history teacher before she was a dog walker!)
One synonym was abundant which had to do not only with the act of giving, but how big your heart is when you give. In other words, a person who considered generous is so full of abundance it oozes out of them to others.
Well, this is the way I like to think of it because giving isn’t always about money or material goods. Giving is about that oozy stuff that comes from your generous nature. Once I wound myself around the depth of this definition, I realized that yes, dogs are some of the most generous beings on earth. We express our generosity with wagging, happy tails; sparkling, loving eyes; and through our steadfast companionship. We offer love and trust and commitment. We protect, we nurture, and we’re patient. We make great nurses when you’re sick, great teachers when a lesson needs to be learned, and spiritual guidance for those who are willing to listen.
But recently, I’ve come to realize how generous people can be. Sure, my family is generous and my friends, too, but if I believed everything I hear and read in the media, I’d think that people in general were stingy and self-absorbed.
This is not the case and I have proof.
As you know, Gretchen works at a pool for dogs. She and her co-workers spend time with dogs who are recovering from injuries or surgeries, dogs who are suffering from degenerative diseases, and dogs who are trying to stay fit in their older years so they can continue to be companions to their humans for years and years and years. At the pool the dogs swim in warm water to help relieve aching joints, strengthen their muscles, regain use of limbs, and receive non-weight-bearing exercise to prevent surgery or as a way to recovery from surgery. In addition, dogs get massaged and stretched by the human therapists to help them develop a better range of motion or relieve tension in their overworked or damaged bodies.
As a dog who has received this treatment, I can tell you that it’s wonderful in more ways than one. In fact, it’s so wonderful I think every dog should have the opportunity to receive such treatment. In my humble opinion, their should be a dog massage and swim therapy pool on every corner (sort of a Starbucks for canines), but I’m not in charge of the world so I know that this may never happen, realistically.
Still, there are dogs who really need what Wellsprings K9 has to offer and cannot receive it because their owners cannot afford the service. That’s why Wellsprings K9 has set up a special fund to raise money to help families with dogs in need of swim and massage therapy. A Chip-In blog has been set up so you can read about the work Wellsprings K9 does with dogs in need — dogs like Sprocket, the first post on the Chip-In site. Read Sprocket’s story and learn more about the kind of work the therapists do at Wellsprings K9.
And this is why I’ve been thinking a lot about generosity…after only a few weeks, people have contributed to the Wellsprings K9 Fund in abundance!!! It’s amazing. Gretchen and I (and all the employees of Wellsprings K9) have been overwhelmed with gratitude for the generous spirit of both people we know and people we don’t know. With $10 here and a $100 there the goal of reaching $10,000 by the end of 2011 is getting closer by the day!
Wow! Not only are dogs generous, but dog-people are equally so! It warms my Doodle heart knowing that by simply asking, the gates of generosity have been opened. My tail hasn’t wagged this much since the first day I was brought home by my forever family!
So thank you to all who have contributed and to those who will. Thank you to those we know and to those we don’t. Your generosity has filled me with hope and has renewed my faith that the world is filled with love. It’s not too late to contribute and you can do so here. Thank you for supporting dogs in need. Thank you for not only understanding the definition of generosity but for making it more than a noun — it’s now an action word!!!
Wagging happily and gratefully!
PS — I told some of my dog walking clients about your generosity and they decided to show you how happy they are about your giving with smiles of appreciation that you see in this post!