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Boo Radley – I rescued him, then he rescued me. Together we rescued hundreds of people – through our pet therapy work and the organization he and I founded named PAWS for People. Boo was a 112 pound, tall, lanky, golden retriever with deep red fur that was long and flowing enough that many people thought he was an Irish Setter. We found him in a newspaper ad – he was four and filthy and the most kind and gentle creature we had ever met. He cared for everyone with his knowing brown eyes and his gentlemanly but loving manner. People melted when he was around – anxious people calmed and depressed people perked up. And he had a way of looking into your eyes that told you he was right there with you and everything was going to be all right.
After some training and achieving therapy dog certification, we began visiting people. We spent Boo’s last 7 years with old folks and young folks, people with dementia and psychiatric issues, little children who were learning to read and adults in wheelchairs, walkers, and beds. He made everyone feel better – brought smiles, steadied palsied hands, gave addicts hope, helped families cope with the loss of a hospice patient.
Boo was a one-in-a-million therapy dog. More importantly, he was my heart dog. The place he has in my heart mirrors the place he had by my side and the strength he showed in his last year during a calm and courageous fight with cancer.
Gentle spirit ~ healing heart ~ Boo Radley ~ my therapy dog extraordinaire.