Five wonderful things I saw and did last month…
1. See that? You’re looking at the San Diego Humane Society‘s newest Canine Ambassador! Teddy and I began volunteering with the non-profit a few weeks ago, and the title is pretty spectacular, no? Think of the position like a notch below a certified therapy dog. Unlike the latter, a canine ambassador doesn’t go through a Canine Good Citizen exam but does have a brief test during which the coordinators make sure he/she sits, comes when called, doesn’t freak out if I leave, is OK with being hugged and is generally loving. Anyone who has met my dog knows that he’s pretty much the most ideal candidate for this position. And it’s good prep for the CGC test because I do want him to be certified to cheer people up in hospitals and nursing homes in a few years when he’s less spazzy.
The opportunities range from weekly Fur Fix events, when locals can stop by the Humane Society’s campus to pet dogs and kittens, to visiting classrooms to teach kids about loyalty, learning and how to meet a dog. So far we’ve done a few Fur Fixes, and let me just say, animals are powerful creatures. Sure, some kids pet the animals and run off, but it’s the adults, particularly the older set, who reap so much joy from their brief interactions with Teddy. Last week I met an old man who has been wanting another golden retriever for quite some time and was nearly in tears when he saw Teddy. That expression of sheer happiness on his face when Teddy sidled up to him is more than enough to keep me going back every week. I almost feel a little silly calling it volunteering since it’s fun for Teddy and me, but I guess that’s how I know I’ve picked a way to give back that’s right for me. The only problem is everyone asks about adopting him. Sorry, folks, he’s mine, but I’m happy to lend him out for this.
2. It was my 2014 goal to write for Travel + Leisure, and I was so excited to finally have a piece—full page!—in the November issue. Happy dance.
3. It felt forever since I had done a proper hike in San Diego, so the three of us finally got ourselves to trek Iron Mountain for the first time last month. (It was also Teddy’s first hike, and he of course loved all the exercise.) It’s a great intermediate hike with lovely views and a peak (with benches!) where you get a much-needed breeze and refuel.
4. My work trip to Sedona came at just the right time, when I needed some peace, quiet, nature and alone time. I can’t wait to go back.
5. Halloween! Duh.