Here is a series of short stories about the impact Kerrries have on people.
Is Fostering a Kerry Worth the Effort?
Sometimes, with prodding from skeptical friends, and struggles about funding, one wonders about the real value of putting so much time & energy into rescuing Kerries. There are many other worthy causes to support right?
I've lived at this location 18 yrs, there is a "Halfway House" down the street that's been here longer. One of the residents has been here at least 10-15 years, I know his name but I'll call him John Doe.
Johnny has several problems, physical and mental, one is memory. Periodically he introduces himself as though for the first time, and waits for me to tell him my name again.
When Jake was a puppy, John asked if he could pet him. The next time I saw him, he remembered that Jake is a Kerry Blue Terrier. Johnny had done some research. He likes to meet every Kerry that stays with me.
Last night he met my latest foster Kerry, Viktor. John was gentle, as always. Viktor quickly got so comfortable with him that he stood near him. When John would stop touching him, Viktor would nose his hand. He even licked it twice, to John's joy.
While we visited, I learned that this man who can't remember my name, can remember the name and the order of arrival of every Kerry that's been here. He can recite some of the physical characteristics for each dog. i.e. older dog, soft coat, darker color, he still knows that they are from Ireland, that they are a working breed, that they have been at Westminster, and that one of them won.
He doesn't remember my name, but he remembers the dogs. He remembers that I "take in Kerries that need help and take care of them". He thinks that's good.
That these dogs can share love and joy is a good enough reason for being. Love and joy are so nourishing for the soul, and these little ones are able to reach people like Johnny and touch him with love and joy in a way that few others can.
I came in the house last night and hugged an angel.
The Kerry Impact
Several months ago, when Viktor was living here, I wrote about a man who lives in the halfway house at the end of my dead end street. I probably called him John. For those of you who may not remember, John is mentally challenged. We still see him of course, and speak now and then.
Yesterday Quinnie and I were out when John walked by, and he stopped to say hello. He talked to Quinn for a bit, then told me this is the friendliest Kerry of any I've had. He's right. During our conversation, he remembered Viktor, remembered one of his nicknames, and commented again on his loss. John was good about helping us look. He still remembers that we foster Kerries, and he remembers our other Kerries. Even though he hasn't seen them, he remembers that one of our Kerries had a litter of puppies.
It took about 15 years for him to remember my name, and the name of one son, and I don't think he realizes that I have two sons. But John still remembers all the Kerries that have been here, he remembers individual aspects of each one. He doesn't seem to be fixated, by that I meant it's not the only thing he talks about. It only comes up when a Kerry is present. He rarely mentions other animals. A man who lives in a small world with a lot of limits has an interest he can pursue and enjoy without significant frustrations of failure. He has read about them, seen them in dog shows on tv, and had personal contact with quite a few. He has never been afraid of any of them, & truly enjoys knowing them. Kerries make a difference.
What Good is a Kerry?
Many of you may remember my stories about John Doe, who lives down the street in a home for people who are not able to function alone.
Over the summer, with the puppies playing, he has stopped by several times. Often he stops by with a friend (roomie) Yesterday one of his roomies (Jack Doe) stopped by. This time he didn't leave when I stepped outside & walked up to the fence. He looked ready to flee, but he didn't. He told me immediately that he lived with John & that he had stopped by before with John & that John said I was a nice lady & that I didn't mind if they petted the puppies. I said I didn't mind & that the puppies loved it. He told me that the puppies knew him & they liked him & they didn't bark at him. I picked up each puppy, one at a time, & held them high. He put his face to the fence, they leaned across & covered his face with kisses. He petted them & said things like: you goin give me kisses, you like me, Little Dog, you give me lots of kisses, I like it, you go ahead & give me kisses. Then he stopped talking to the dogs. He had tears in his eyes, told me his name, & told me that John told him about me, that I take dogs that have been abused, & I take care of them, & find them good homes. I said Yes, that's right. He said "I've got to go now, you have a good day, & God bless you" I said "Thank you Jack, God bless you"
Our dogs not only cross a bridge, sometimes they are a bridge.