Oakley, the therapy dog I never knew I needed

It’s funny, I will automatically speak in a higher pitched voice as I pass a cute puppy on the street to say ‘hello’.  As the weather has been getting nicer, I have been out walking a lot more.  I have seen numerous puppies and dogs en route.  And I can’t help but say hello to them as I walk by.   It reminded me of the trip to Salt Spring Island a few years ago with my favourite little furry companion, my cousin’s dog.  

A gun metal grey French bulldog with a little white dot on his head is a warm comfort to my moody soul.  I am so thankful that this little frenchie traveled with my cousin and my family to Salt Spring Island in the Summer of 2018.  While we were in the ferry line up, I could hear his heavy breathing.   I wanted to take him out of his dog carrier and into my arms to hold him close.  Oakley stole my heart with his brown bulging eyes and his crooked legs.   Sarah had taken him in to help him heal and learn to walk again.   

On the Island, I sat on the patio with my latte, cheese and jalapeno croissant, I turned to Sarah and said, “I want snuggles.”  Oakley must have heard me because he dragged his bottom across the wood closer to me and rested his head on my thigh.   Having scoliosis made it difficult for him to walk any distance.  This touched my heart.  I stroked his short silky fur and grinned like a five year old with ice cream.  I never knew I wanted a therapy dog, until now.  

I smiled at the little fellow and held him close to my chest as we walked over puddles and craggy pavement.  His ears flapped in the breeze.  Everyone walking around the coffee shops and the boutiques squealed.

“He’s so cute!!” 

“Look at him!” 

“Nice colour!”

For a moment I felt like a proud dog mom.

We walked towards the Salt Spring Island market, my arms holding such a sweet and heavy bundle.  A young boy approached.  “Can I pet him?”  “Yes,” I said, “He’s friendly.” 

“This is my second favorite type of dog. What is your frenchie’s name?”

“Oakley.”  I said with growing pride. 

How could this four-legged pet get wrapped around my heart so quickly? He is the dog I never knew I wanted.  

Sometimes, therapy comes in soft furry packages.  

Every time I get to visit my cousin Sarah and her dog is a special day.  As for enjoying the small things, I will continue to greet pups on my walks in the neighbourhood.   


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