Thursday, February 10, 2011

Podley, Chester's Hero

Podley was Chester's hero.  His mentor.  Podley,a big lovable golden retriever.  From Chester's perspective, (and a kazillion others I might add), Podley was just about the best therapy dog ever. He had a gift.

Chester and I could not help but think of Podley, as we walked into Schreiber Pediatric for the first meet Naia (name has been changed). You see, Podley was Naia's first therapy dog ~~ he helped her in countless ways, mostly I think, he taught her about unconditional love (a Golden specialty for sure).  Naia.  Naia, a little girl, no taller than a yardstick. Naia with black pixie-cut hair and sweet-almond-shaped eyes. Naia, a little Asian princess, who demonstrated autistic tendencies, perhaps from the trauma she experienced as a young little girl in an orphanage half-way around the world.  Naia, who liked doggies.

As I said, Podley was Naia's first therapy dog. And as I mentioned before...Podley was special.  Podley, a huge-hearted, snuggle-bug golden retriever had a gift.  Podley's gift, 3 strong legs and a giant heart.  Podley was born missing a limb, but was given an extra measure of love and compassion.  At birth, he actually had been set aside to die, but as God would have it, he lived and thrived.  God had a special plan for this pup, who was destined to be adopted into the home and heart of Karen, the founder of KPETS.  Pod could reach people like no other (sometimes, you just need to have 3 legs to get the job done!), and could inspire and give hope and smiles beyond measure.  For all those who knew and loved Podley Eugene Gerth, it did not seem that this beloved pup lived long enough on this earth ~~ but he did leave a legacy of love & inspiration in countless hearts, young and old, lasting eternally.

Naia, was one of those hearts. As Podley poured on the unconditional love, he helped Naia learn a new skill.  Podley taught Naia to hug.  She had never hugged before.  Nope, never.  And one day, this timid, fearful, little pixie, learned what it felt like to wrap her arms around another. Someone who was completely safe and kind. On this day, while Podley stood very still,  Naia reached both her little arms all the way around Pod's soft furry back and tummy, rested her head in his soft golden curls, unclipped his vest, and in so doing... gave her first hug.  Podley was hugged by Naia.  There was celebration all around, tears and tail wags, in heaven and on earth!

I kept thinking Podley thoughts as we anticipated meeting Naia.  Chester had big paws to fill.  Somehow...I wonder if Podley and Chester had a heavenly chat while he pranced down the hallway to meet this precious little girl for the first time. Now, the baton was passed to Chester. Chester did not hesitate, and week after week continued to pour on that Golden unconditional love....and Naia began to trust and open her heart to her new furry friend, even if he did have 4 legs :-). 
  ~~Reminds me of something my Papa said....
We love, because He first loved us. 
We love you and miss you, Podley.
Chester sends tail wags and thank you's for showing him the way. 
We both do.