Joanne Schaus & Tango–Sometimes our dogs help us to help others
I’ve wanted to do nursing home visits with a therapy dog since we got our first dog 25 years ago but none of our dogs (all high energy Australian Shepherds) were well suited for the job. After a while I began praying for a therapy team mate. We weren’t really ready for another dog but along came Tango…confiscated from an animal hoarder as a neglect/abuse case. In spite of his rough start in life, Tango’s sweet and gentle nature was perfect for working with the elderly. Thankful for God’s continued blessings, I researched several pet assisted therapy organizations, deciding on Pets Helping People after appreciating … and their loving heart for helping others. The skilled, professional and dedicated PHP staff were able to see through Tango’s initial discomfort with beds, wheelchairs, walkers and loud noises, focus on his potential and gently guide us on a training path that resulted in our certification as a PHP Team.
There are many stories of Tango’s uncanny sense of when he is needed and by whom, even when I cannot see it. There are also stories of times when Tango’s mere presence led to something supernatural…the one below really grabbed my heart. God has graciously opened many doors for us and has blessed me enormously with this amazing opportunity to love on others.
“The frail elderly gentleman asked me if his hair looked okay. I said it looked fabulous. He then sat down to meet Tango. We chatted about dogs while he stroked Tango’s head. After a while he asked me if his hair really looked okay…was it parted? I reassured him that it was parted correctly and smooth with no wild hairs sticking up. Then I asked him if he had a hot date. He started to say that he didn’t want to bother me but then continued on to tell me how his dear wife had just been placed in hospice. And he was going to see her. I held his arm and listened while Tango patiently stood by. When it seemed he was finished I assured him that God was comforting his wife with His constant and loving presence. And that God was with him also, carrying him every step. I told him I would pray for him and for his wife. He thanked me, expressing his gratitude for our conversation and the opportunity to pet Tango. As he slowly walked away he turned back to me and said “I think our meeting today was meant to be.”
–Joanne Schaus and Tango