Never having had children, I finally grew up when I turned 55 and decided it was time to be responsible for, and committed to, something other than myself! My lifelong love of dogs culminated with becoming the mother to one. A combination Shih Tzu Poodle, my Shihpoo’s black-and-white coloring reminded me of Borden’s iconic Elsie the cow; hence, Elsie Borger joined my sparse family tree.
Anybody who knows me knows Elsie. We’re a team. Because I never mothered a child, I can’t say how it compares. All I know is it’s the closest I’ll ever come to understanding that bond. My love for her and the immeasurable joy she has brought me have truly been life altering.
About two years ago, I thought it was a bit selfish to be the sole beneficiary of Elsie’s phenomenal personality, so off we went to educate ourselves on the art of being a therapy dog and the mother of one. Beyond her award-winning disposition, I beam at her instant aptitude for higher learning, which quickly led to her official designation as a therapy dog.
My search for a location to “share the love” led us to Tockwotten on the Waterfront’s Memory Care unit, the place where Elsie practices being a therapy dog most Tuesdays, and I practice the art of giving that has become my therapy. The smiles she brings to our new friends’ faces, the giggles she elicits from her new playmates and the wonder of the parades she leads down the halls – with her followers not far behind using walkers, canes or their sheer determination – is a sight to behold.
We leave Tockwotten sated. Elsie having had one hour of undivided attention from her adoring audience, and me kvelling that others now also partake of her delicious presence. It’s the kind of therapy money can’t buy.
Editor’s Note: Contact email@example.com to schedule your dog for the June Sunset Beach Photoshoot. 100% of your $150 fee will support the Kiwi K9 Project.
Fee includes 15-20 minutes, five hi-res edited images with personal use agreement and 10-20 low-res images for use on digital sharing sites.
KAREN BORGER is an independent sales representative for The Jewish Voice. ELSIE BORGER is a proud therapy dog.