Friday, February 24, 2017

Habit of the Week - Leadership

Leadership - A person who guides, directs, inspires a group

Once again, throughout the weekend, I pondered The Habit of the Week. Without a doubt in my mind I knew the story I would share with my AACA students  ~~

At school this week, 1st to 4th grade students inspired Chester and me
 with words they used to describe a good leader:
 trustworthy, honest, kind, responsible,
 fair, respectful, patient, keeps a promise, hard-working.  

These words described Chester's hero perfectly, 
a Super Star Leader in Pet Therapy 
 ~ Podley ~
Podley Eugene Gerth
Pet Therapy Superstar, Extraordinary Leader

When Podley came into the world, no one thought he would live, let alone be a Pet Therapy Hero and Leader.  Podley was born barely breathing, with only 3 legs.  And since no one expected him to live.... he was wrapped in a towel and set aside in the corner of  the room.  After all the puppies were born and quietly resting next to their mommy,  a tiny whimpering-sound came from beneath the towel -- and it was discovered that this little boy puppy who had been stuck in the corner, was actually alive and well and HUNGRY and ready to live.  He had a destiny!

As Podley grew, he had all the wonderful qualities of a great therapy dog.  Qualities that made not only a super therapy dog, but an outstanding leader! Loving, kind, never a mean bark :), trustworthy, respectful,  fair, playful, patient, strong, hard-working. In spite of difficulties, he had a never-give-up attitude, with an eternal smile on his face and wag in his tail.   When Karen Gerth met Podley, it was love at first sight.  Not only did Podley become Karen's treasured pet, he became an outstanding Therapy Dog, and he inspired an entire Pet Therapy Organization in Pennsylvania (KPETS).

Podley became Chester's hero and leader.

Podley had a special way with the people he visited. When children and adults saw ALL that he could do with his 3 amazing paws & pawsome attitude, they were inspired to follow Podley's lead.  

There was a special little girl Podley visited regularly.  He helped her in so many ways ~ especially in learning to be brave, to trust, and to love.  In fact, Podley was the very first one that this sweetheart had ever hugged.  On the day she reached her tiny arms around Pod's soft furry tummy to undo his vest, a hug was born with her safe and loving friend, and her heart opened a little wider to give and receive love..  

As Podley grew older, a  time came when  he could no longer visit his treasured friend.  It would take a very special dog to follow in Podley's pawprints.  And guess who was chosen to be her next pet therapy buddy.


Chester knew he had big paws to fill.   How could a 4 legged dog be as wonderful as a 3 legged dog? Chester could never be Podley, but he could follow Podley's leadership....and be Chester.

The day arrived for Chester's very first visit with Podley's friend. We walked down the hallway to her room. Peeked through the doorway. Chester swished his tail and calmly walked to her side. She reached her hand out to him, and gently touched his head with her pointer finger. Eventually her little arms reached around his tummy to undo his vest. She nestled her cheek against Chester's warm furry back. And Chester smiled.   Podley had taught him well. 

I shared bits and pieces of this story with each class we visited. An unforgettable moment came in 2nd grade. Truth be told, I  have a very special place in my heart for red-heads :) ...  and in 2nd grade there just happens to be  a cutie-pa-tootie little red-headed treasure.  I would describe her as sparkley. She just sparkles.

After sharing Podley and Chester's story, she was the first to raise her hand for questions and comments. And I noticed for the first time, (honestly I'd never noticed this before), one of her little hands had a thumb, and 4 teeny nubs, in the place where fingers usually grow. She waved her hand, hardly able to contain her enthusiasm ,  "Podley and I are alike, it's hard for me to grip a pencil with this hand, and it is hard for Podley to walk,"   she said with smiles and exclamation points!   I don't remember my exact response because I sort of had this lump in my throat, but it was something about how she and Podley had all the qualities of amazing heroes and inspiring leaders.

Before leaving the classroom,  our sweet friend read Chester her journal thoughts for the day.  She gave me permission to share them with you:

 "Potle was a good dog. 
He led the way for Chester. 
Potle can not walk (very well).
 I can not grab. 
Potle was adorable. I wish he was here now. 
Potle I will always pray for you."

I think sparkly AND adorable describe our little red-headed friend just perfectly. 

No comments:

Post a Comment