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  • Writer's pictureDianne Hammontree

DIANNE’S DOGHOUSE "Santa and His Reindeer"








My beautiful, splendid, golden retriever, Jesse was joyful, kind, highly intelligent, and well behaved. She truly, purposely never did anything wrong—until one day she had an accident in my truck.


Let’s back up a day. It’s Christmas morning breakfast at the little church on Center Street. Many guests were served eggs, bagels, fruit, bacon, and coffee. My friend John Sperzel dressed as Santa and Jesse was his reindeer.


So many great smells, so many hugs and bacon-flavored kisses for Jesse. Dogs categorize these tantalizing foods into their little brains so they can find them later when needed.


After cleaning up the kitchen with my helpers, I took three dozen donated blueberry bagels home to scatter outside the boundary of the invisible fence in the woods for the birds and squirrels.


The next day, December 26, Jesse, and I traveled to daughter Julie’s house and before Julie came out to welcome us, I heard this awful rumbling noise in the back seat. I looked into Jesse’s frightened eyes and before we could exit the vehicle Jesse threw up about two dozen donated blueberry bagels. Apparently, she had pushed her way through the invisible fence to find FOOD.


Jesse was so embarrassed. I tried to soothe her with gentle words but before I could finish the sentence and get her out of the truck—up came one more dozen donated blueberry bagels. After cleaning up Jesse, the truck and me, we went home and spent time lying on the floor on ten towels.


We talked about nausea, bagels, crossing over her boundary line, my hopes, our walks, the neighbors, friends, and family. Jess would stare into my eyes and cuddle for ten minutes, twenty, thirty. Those of you who love dogs know about this experience. Dogs listen and try to interpret what all these human words mean. Such patience they have for us.


The responsibility for this wonderful creature was mine alone. Her health, her happiness and the maintenance of her training made her an ideal canine as a therapy dog. The sense of her place in this world was to attend to the needs of special children, hospice patients, at-risk teens, and anyone in need of a hug and a wet sloppy kiss. Even the smallest act of kindness by Jesse had the potential to change the recipient’s life.


Jesse was teaching me to be genuine and welcoming when greeting others, acknowledging their presence with a smile, or hug, or handshake. It was an honor to talk with folks and to cheer them up, and Jesse reminded me to rejoice in my relationships with others.


Blessings, Dianne Hammontree


Secretary of Homeward Bound Dog Shelter

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