When I first met Mike I thought he was a stand-offish kind of guy. Sure, he was eye candy, tall, dark and handsome with a roguish look in his eyes. But my five-year-old mind couldn't imagine what he was thinking. Then he grabbed one of my paper dolls and ran away with my heart.
Thus began my life-long love of Kerries which has never abated. Every time I sit down at my computer to commit an act of publishing for the Foundation, I think of Mike and the many Kerries that have enriched my life in the ensuing 60 years.
While the newsletter is a labor of love, it is hard work the kind I used to get the big bucks for in the technology world. But, isn't that what volunteering is all about using your skills with an open heart for a greater good?
I try to remember that when I'm struggling knee-deep in the publishing process, dealing with complicated software, edits, more edits and pulling all the puzzle pieces together into the publication you know as "What's New."
I feel pretty good about the final product because I know I have done my best for the breed with the US and Canadian teams' technical articles, research, practical advice and fresh news, particularly stories and photos highlighting Rescue operations.
Over the years, the Foundation's Rescue placed several Kerries with me for 'fostering." One was a lovely little six-year-old female named Abby who brightened our
lives for seven years. She wanted to be a show dog or a mother. She got part of her wish when we adopted another Foundation referral, a Kerry mix puppy we named Gunny.
Gunny was our first male dog and training him (and us) was an uphill battle. Housebreaking cost us our favorite piece of art. Learning to walk on a leash built lots of muscle and cop- ing with a street dog's defensiveness required lots of long, serious talks.
But it was worth it. After two years under our guidance and Abby's tutelage, our skittish little street dog became more Kerry than a full-blooded Kerry. Although Abby is gone now Gunny carries her banner proudly in his walk, his charming demeanor and an ability to read our minds that is downright spooky and very Kerry.
Whether it's a purebred Kerry or a Kerry mix, our Kerries are family. We go everywhere together, whether it's just a ride around the park in our golf cart or six months on the road in our camper. They are priceless gifts from God and cherished parts of our lives.
And so when family and friends ask me why I "spend" so much time putting together a newsletter without getting paid for it, I tell them I've already been paid. It's my way of saying thank you to the Foundation for everything they do to protect and support the Kerry and the Kerry owner.
No matter how messy or demanding it gets, doing the newsletter is also my way of giving something back to the breed, to all the Kerries I have known and loved, for all the joy and pleasure they have brought me.