On September 16 I spent the afternoon with my family. It’s a big family … really big. It’s big in numbers, big in spirit, and big in love. Just plain BIG in every way possible. Some of my family members have two legs and some have four legs. When I saw them on September 16, all of them walked, rode in strollers or were carried, and they all knew they were loved, valued and respected.
No, I’m not talking about my biological family. I’m talking about my Old Dog Haven family. This family is like no other. We’ve all chosen each other and in making that choice we’ve found our people. We’ve found our dogs … the homeless senior dogs that need us … and we love them individually and collectively without reservation. Some only stay with us for a short time, but others stay longer and bless us with their joyful spirits each day they share our lives.
I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I’m talking about the annual Old Dog Haven Foster/Volunteer picnic. It wasn’t exactly a warm, sunny day and it even poured for about 15 minutes, but the sun came out just in time for our group photo taken by the ever wonderful Julie Austin.
What I saw and heard as I walked around hugging dogs and people was like a chorus of Halleluiahsung in many different languages. Many voices—both dog and human—blended together to make the most beautiful music: a woman laughing as her dog rooted around in the swap meet items looking for just the right toy, a dog snoring because he was tired of socializing and needed a nap, a man whispering to the small dog he held in his arms, a bouncy dog yipping because he wanted to share his friend’s lunch, a big dog barking just because he couldn’t decide which dog to chase, and a group of people cheering because the dog they were admiring howled a bit in happiness just for them.
At one point I leaned against a tree and just listened with my eyes closed. Even without seeing the smiles and hugs, I could hear the symphony of contentment that permeated the atmosphere of the day. So much joy. So much love. Halleluiah indeed.
Please note: All of the beautiful photos you see here were taken at the picnic by Julie Austin.