If you're looking for a heartwarming short story, you're in the right place. Here we have an excerpt from the York News Times of York, NE (and a few extra details below) by Gail Nordlund, featuring a special companion named Shoe.
It doesn't take much to make your dog happy. Most of the things that give them joy are quite simple. A gentle touch, a smile when they are looking at you, a kind voice, and the words, "good dog" will bring instant happiness to your pet. A clean water bowl, changed daily, regular feedings and a comfortable place to sleep are necessities and every dog should have them. But at the top of most dog's list would be going for a walk. If a dog is not physically able to do a walk, then a ride in the car is second best. They need the stimulation of something other than the home they live in.
My dog Shoe, lives life to the fullest. Diagnosed with cancer last March, he continues to amaze me with his zest for life and one would never know he is ill in any way. Shortly before noon, he will get restless and pace the floor, going to the door, and giving me the "look". He knows it is time to go to work at York Adopt a Pet as a greeter dog and he is anxious to get going. He has a routine. When he arrives at the shelter, he immediately seeks out a volunteer to give him a treat that is kept in the office of Kim, our kennel manager. He then stands by the front door to see who might be coming in. When he sees my brother, Gary, he does some toe dancing and his tail is lethal with it's swing. Gary comes daily to take him for a walk, or rather, Shoe takes Gary as he does not use a leash and Shoe gets to pick where they go. Shoe concludes his walk by going to Gary's car and waits for another treat that he knows he will get. The little things...they mean a lot.
Adopt a Pet is not the only place that Shoe likes. He LOVES going to Orscheln Farm & Home. When I let him out of the car, he double times it to the store, opening the automatic doors with his 120 pound weight load and customers just stare at him, wondering where in the world he came from! He immediately goes behind the counter, nudging the cashier, who slips him a treat that they graciously keep there for him. Then Shoe wanders the store, looking for familiar faces and hurrying to greet them because they always give him a friendly pat and maybe another treat. Sometimes Shoe lays by the treat bin, pictured here, waiting for another handout I assume. One might think he is motivated by the treats, but it is more than that. It is the kindness that people show him. He thrives on it.
When it is snowy and icy out, I do not walk him, but I take him to the dog park about once a week. At almost 15 years of age, he has no desire to run, but his nose is still good and he gets his enjoyment out of sniffing the trees and grounds. I love the spirit in Shoe, his quest for happiness and how little I have to do to make it happen. He is a kind dog, almost to a fault. He will not retaliate if a dog attacks him. He is a gentle soul. He makes it easy for me to want to do the little things that make him happy. Love you big fella.
Shoe was a dog that had been dumped in the country in 2009. He was brought into our old shelter and was so unhappy being kenneled that I took him home with me and he has never left. When we started construction of our new shelter, Shoe and I went up every day to check on things, and when we opened he became our greeter dog. It was just a natural fit. He would run to the front door to welcome everyone that came into the shelter. Some people just came to see Shoe. I did my shopping at Orscheln's, and at the time they were at their old location. Shoe would go with me and soon the employees were giving him treats. When they moved to the new location, it didn't take him long to figure things out and was back greeting the employees and hitting them up for treats. He was diagnosed with melanoma of the mouth in April of 2015 and was given about 6 months to live. Shoe has defied this and is still living the dream at 15 years of age. He is slowing down, but still goes to the shelter every day for about an hour and when we go to Orscheln's, which is several times a week, he starts to cry about a block away. There is no way that I could drive by the store without going in. We are so appreciative of the employees there. They make us feel so welcome. It is a joy for both Shoe and myself.