That red bandana that Mr. Wilson is wearing is more than a simple fashion accessory, it's his official Therapy Dogs International kerchief! We are now certified to go anywhere and offer pet therapy to people in nursing homes, or home alone and unable to have a dog in their lives, or have kids with difficulty reading sit with the big W and read him a story. From puppy mill to Therapy Dog, it's been quite a ride!
From Mr. Wilson Makes it Home, available February 3, 2015
Chapter 17 The Spark
Wilson was safely tucked away in the air-conditioned comfort of the Alpha Dog Transport trailer, along with a few dozen other homeless dogs, all headed for an uncertain future. We knew that great things were in store for Wilson, but he had no way of knowing what was happening; only that things had changed. Again.
His life had been rife with changes until this point; we believe he was born in Arkansas in what has been described as a puppy mill. The internet is full of places that look fabulous on a computer screen, and come with lovely stories of rolling hills and fresh water streams, and puppies running through tall grass, lovingly followed by their doting parents, all under the watchful eye of a responsible breeder.
Those places may well exist, but what definitely does exist is the anti-heaven so delightfully described by web designers. The reality is stark contrast to what we are shown, dark, excruciatingly hot trailers in the woods filled with animals who breed until they die, or can no longer provide a revenue stream for the people who own them. Conditions at these places are appalling, malnourished mothers giving birth to malnourished pups, four weeks later those pups being taken away from their moms, packed in crates and shipped off to unsuspecting buyers. The mom is put right back at it, and is impregnated as soon as possible, and if she barks metal rods are shoved down her throat to sever her vocal cords, and she lies in her own excretement and eats the floor sweepings from dog food companies that ship their waste in boxcars to people who buy it in bulk and feed it to their charges, not for nourishment, rather to keep them alive long enough to deliver another pile of cash.
When the dogs have finished being productive they are shot in the head or clubbed to death and their body thrown in a fire, and one of her pups takes over pumping out four-legged money producers, and the cycle repeats itself.
Ole Wilson and his sister were sold to a pet store, and then bought by, and then lived with a lady and her kids. He didn’t like living there much, and took every chance he had to escape. He would run wild, and I’m sure he had loads of fun, until he got hungry, or cold, or afraid of the bigger, wild animals that shared his roaming grounds. Then, the life of a vagabond freedom loving little dog got much more complicated, and being on his own not nearly as much fun as anticipated, and he would slink back to the only home he knew, and be punished, and reprimanded, and probably whacked, and made to feel like a bad, bad boy.
A wonderful woman named Cheri took a liking to Wilson after seeing him running free with his sister too often. She had a feeling about him, and knew that he was special. And he is.
All living things need to be nurtured. People, animals, plants, even bugs need some sort of interaction with other beings to thrive. Flowers need bees, bees need flowers, bugs need something to do, and other bugs to do it with, people need other people to take care of them, to love them, to feed them and educate them, and lead them toward their inherent tendency toward good. Left to fend for ourselves we would revert back to a single-minded cell that does whatever it takes to survive. A dog is no different. The survival instinct will take over if prodded, and he will never know what he could have been if given a chance.
All too often a child’s creative spark never gets a chance to blossom into its potential for the simple yet cruel reason that nobody notices it. That creative fire burns brightly for a few years, and if stoked grows, and with the proper guidance is brought under control, and the gift is nurtured, and the child given the chance to be everything he is supposed to be.
Or not. Far too often potential for greatness is overlooked, and before long even the child forgets just how great she is, and settles for existing rather than living.
Much is the same for dogs. Wilson was headed for a life of being “trouble.” His free spirit was nearly extinguished because nobody saw that special something in him that Cheri saw. She knew, deep down that this dog needed a chance. He simply had to be given the love he needed to thrive, and grow, and be loved as much as his little heart could handle so that the love inside of him could be expressed, and given freely to anybody who asked for it. Or needed it.