2001 – March 2, 2017
Crystal and I found each other at the old Roanoke Valley SPCA building in 2001. She was approximately 3-4 months old and although all my dogs are rescues, I usually rescue the adults as most people want a puppy. I think this was meant to be. There she sat in the cage, not jumping, not cringing, but just looking at me.
A dog must be a year old to become a registered Pet Partner (a therapy dog) and just past that age, we were tested and passed. Every two years it must be renewed and Crystal not only passed, but attained the highest scores each time. She did therapy work as my partner for many years and was retired 3 years ago. We volunteered at RMH, Lewis Gale, many local nursing homes, hospice, reading with children both in schools and libraries and stress busters at local colleges. There are so many stories of her making a difference in the lives of those she touched through our work as a therapy team. We had many “kodak moments” of the faces of those who interacted with her. Animals as therapy do their “magic” in many ways and make people respond in surprising and documented fashions for the better.
Crystal was my true “heart” dog. She supported me, helped me to grow as a person and as an advocate for pet therapy. She always did what I asked of her and helped me to gain more confidence in myself and in the role of working with people to help them become educated in working as volunteers with their animals. The last three years, she was my therapy dog, of course, but also took over the management of our household.
On her last day, although she had been diagnosed with renal failure for approx two years, her spirit was still willing. Her hearing was much less, but she still responded to hand signals. Her body was worn out. The vet was coming to the house to help her move on. We were in the yard, she enjoying the sunshine. She hadn’t eaten in 3 days, but when she saw the vet’s car come in the driveway, she barked! The vet and I both smiled at Crystal “still doing her job.” She left peacefully and now her spirit is free. I miss her, but I am relieved she doesn’t have to struggle with this life anymore.
Oakey’s was so kind and helpful and also my vet, Dr. Quatmann, who treated Crystal on her own terms and allowed her to be Crystal. Crystal leaves behind a legacy of many people in the Roanoke valley she helped feel better by her therapy work and her devotion and love to me.