Willow - January 2006

Willow - January 2006

Postby chelynnah » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:34 am

Willow - Whippet of the Month January 2006

FCh. Warburton Song Sung Blue CGC, CD, TT, TPR, FCh, CR, Delta Society Therapy Dog Complex

Partner to Linda (Grafitti450)
Loved by too many to name
Nominated by Diane (ZoeyWhippet)

"Occasionally you get the opportunity to have contact with a dog that has a unique sense of themselves and an uncanny ability to connect with people when they are most vulnerable," wrote Holly Parker, CTRS, Recreation Therapist National Institutes of Health, in her nomination of Willow for the therapy division of the AKC Award of Excellence 2000. That unique sense of herself and the ability to connect with people would make Willow a favorite of everyone she met for her entire life.

Willow was the color of newly fallen snow; her face the gray of the old stone walls in her favorite New York woods, her eyes the violet of late winter twilight, her tongue soft and never to be denied. It wasn’t the color of her coat but the color of her spirit that sparkled like snow in winter. It wasn’t the color of her eyes but the expression that shown through them from deep in her soul. It wasn’t the texture of her tongue but the language of her kisses. Willow kisses said, ”Thanks that was fun!, So sorry you are sick, So sorry you are unhappy, You WILL feel better, I’ve missed you!, Good news the sun is up and magic is afoot.”

Willow called me her human. Being Willow’s human was no small task. She expected me to have a certain sense of adventure, the car keys, a map, and to maintain good humor although she would overlook a little grumpiness early in the morning. At all times I should know the way to a friend’s house, the closest place to chase bunnies, the best field to throw a Frisbee, a plan for her work for the day and the way to Dunkin Donuts!

The substance of Willow’s life was her therapy work. She thought she could heal with a look and a kiss and she only wanted to be concerned with the very sick or the very scared. Holly Parker wrote” Willow doesn’t shower every person who comes along with affection. She is quiet and reserved, but she begins to shine at the moment she realizes that she is in the presence of another soul that needs her comfort.”

I called her my velveteen bunny. Being my dog was no small task. I had not had a dog in many years and I was never having another one until Caruso and Gracious had an unexpected love affair, until she beat the odds by being conceived way too late in Gracious’s cycle, until Patience convinced me she could never have “three” whippets and I must take Willow home. So I took her home.

Willow proceeded to train my husband myself in the joy of being whippet owners Never was a dog sleeping in our bed; okay it took her four months. Never was a dog pulling on a lead; okay she could behave if she chose to - she received her Companion Dog and her Delta Society Pet Partner Complex.
Never was a dog going to whine for food; okay it turned out it wasn’t an annoying,” I want something” whine but the” gift of song’ when she vocalized for the patients. The kids always asked,”Is this the dog that sings?” Never was I going outside in the summer heat for fun; okay we went every weekend for years to coursing and racing fields on the east coast and I never experienced more joy then in watching Willow run. Willow was the race meet turtle for meet. She was a very good breaker and would lead for about ten yards and then fade. We gave up trying to catch her at the end because part of racing for Willow was running back to me to tell me how much fun it all was. A memory I will always have of Willow is watching her jump the track tapes over and back all the way back up the track to me with a silly grin on her face.

I had Willow for almost nine wonderful years. She made more friends than most people and she had friends everywhere. My friends and walking partners, the show crowd, the coursing group, the racing people, and all the people at several hospitals knew and loved Willow. Willow (FCh.Warburton Song Sung Blue C.G.C.,C.D.,T.T.,T.P.R.,Fch,C.R., Delta Society Therapy Dog Complex) earned the American Whippet Club Versatility Award. Quite a feat for a little dog that had to teach her owner almost everything about owning a whippet!

The most amazing thing about Willow is that she has been gone three years next month and people still laugh about the wonderful things she did. Willow being an only dog apparently wanted a pack so she adopted a teddy bear of mine and carried him everywhere with her. She would place him on my suitcase when she saw me packing for a trip.

Willow never liked humans to raise their voices or be angry and would do butt tuck zoomies around any humans who needed to”lighten up”. She would grab cake or liver out of any hand silly enough to stay within her reach but could be gentle and controlled when taking a treat from a sick child. Willow could do the most beautiful lure course imaginable with turns in an agility box that would take your breath away but we still laugh about the day I drove six hours and she cut straight across a field headed straight for the judge who eyes became the size of saucers. There was no collision; no ribbons that day either! She did wonderful tricks and one of her teenage patients was going to show her off to his friends in the recreation room. They where making popcorn; Willow sat in front of the microwave head in the air ears back in true hound fashion and ignoring any commands howled. She would turn her back on the staff at the hospital but search out the sickest of patients, however the night that Marty Becker (author of Pets That Heal) was following her around researching his book she shamelessly flirted and loved on him. Willow knew a girl had to have good press! Willow received the American Kennel Club Award of Excellence in the Therapy Division in 2000 and this lead the American Whippet Club to establish a yearly award for the Therapy Whippet of the Year in Willow’s honor.

Thank You to Diane (ZoeyWhippet) for nominating Willow for Whippet of the Month. Diane remembers Willow as everyone’s favorite turtle. As long as the Willow Award is being given she will always be remembered so please if your whippet is doing therapy work of any kind send your nominations for the Willow Award 2006 to Patience Renzulli ,Willow’s breeder, at 803 Madison Street, Paducah,Kentucky 42001. Nominations for this year are due by March 15th.

The exciting news is that Sarah Renzulli, an accomplished artist who knew Willow, is working on a bronze of Willow’s head for the permanent Willow Award trophy that should be complete in 2007. The Willow Award recipient for 2004 was Dr. Whippet loved by Holly Wells. In 2005 Maya(Lake’s Hurricane Gabrielle) partnered by Jo Dee Bucki was honored with the Willow Award for her therapy work. Their stories show the strengths of this wonderful breed in therapy work and the ability of the whippet to serve humans when we need them most.

The City Girls..
Linda, Jessie and Graffiti

We shall meet, and know, and remember, and love again.
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