Based on Jake, my therapy dog, here are 5 traits to look for in a dog

Jake the therapy dog

Those big brown eyes and his satellite-size ears were the first two things I saw when I came home to my lonely apartment.  I knew when I stepped over the threshold, whatever happened with my students at school, however difficult the paralegal exam or the arrogance and self-appointed importance of  the attorneys  I worked with or how incredibly challenging writing is for me, Jake, my therapy dog, has always been there to listen and to love in his own crazy way.

1.  God isn’t finished with him yet

With all of Jake’s health issues, I pray for my little buddy every chance I get.  Yes, I pray for my animals.  Don’t you?  After all, we will see them in heaven (  Besides, dogs were put on the Earth for our enjoyment.  Why wouldn’t you pray about your dog’s health?  I know God isn’t finished with Jake yet.

2.  Displays of affections

Jake would share his excitement to see me by giving me kisses and running around the apartment as well as my feet.  His love showed no bounds.  I know his love has grown for me because my love for him has grown so much, my heart is about to explode.  I never knew I could love something with so much love and affection.

Puppy Kisses

Puppy Kisses

I do nearly all of my writing and blogging on our love seat.  Jake has sat beside me as close as he can wiggle into my leg and my hip.  This behavior has been going on for as long as I can remember.  When he wants more than a leg, he will let me know in his own little way that it is time to put down the laptop and let Jake climb onto my lap.

3.  Jake’s friendship

When Jake came along, he was the best friend I had  been searching for since our family dog, Sam, the Doberman had passed.

When I purchased Jake as a shelter dog from Bullitt County Animal Shelter in Kentucky, I was 29.  Finally, I could share my heart!  It had been a long time since I had a cold, wet nose to nuzzle my arm or press upon bare flesh.

As best friends, Jake and I created many memories together.  Sunny walks, fast drives in my red 2004 Mustang, visits to Nana, getting rescued from half-way across town by Daddy in a lightening storm and trips to Linda’s house to play with Lucky, the Border Collie.

Jake's Friendship

Jake’s Friendship

4.  Jake’s whimsical ways

Jake has many characteristics that I absolutely love.  But the one dominant trait that I was not looking for in a dog was that he was so much like me.  I never knew there were owners and dogs who are just alike!

He got thrown into little manic episodes just like my big ones.  He would tear around my apartment as if he was an out-of-control tornado.  He would jump on top of furniture and crawl under them.  Jake has an attention span no bigger than a gnat!  That is just like me!

He also has his own mind.  Jake’s objective is to get what he wants.  Jake muscles his way to sit at my right side on the couch..  Nothing else will do for him.  If Sam is already on the couch, Jake will bulldoze his way  to sit next to me.

5.  Jake’s tenacity

He is blind in both eyes.  Diabetes.  Pancreatitis.  Going deaf.  And now an adrenal gland tumor.  It doesn’t matter how many times he bumps his nose into a wall, me, James, the couch, ottoman, dinning room chair or walls, he never gives up.  That little guy will keep trying to find out where he is going and what he wants until I come and rescue him.  I don’t mind rescuing that little guy because of all the times he has rescued me.

Jake is editing my writing

Jake is editing my writing

My Jake, my therapy dog

I know he is not officially a therapy dog.  Never went to training.  Definitely not bred for the job.  But his companionship and loyalty could stand up against almost any therapy dog out there!  When I’m sad and depressed he fills the void.  When my illness exhausts me, he is there to cuddle and go to sleep.  When I’m in a mixed episode, he consoles me with his presence.  When nobody is here to listen, I go to Jake because he is a good therapist and listener.  He is more than ready to fulfill the job, with love.

Information on Therapy Dogs

Therapy Dog Training