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PIPER

These are pictures of our visit to The University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in Belton, Texas…..home of the Div II National Champion Football Team.

Last summer, while we were still living in our home state of Texas, I had to put down my 14 year old Golden Retriever, Colonel.  He was an amazing therapy dog and served 12 years at school for adults with disabilities, his last visit was the month prior to his passing.  He is buried on our ranch in Brenham, TX.  He came to me from an amazing breeder in Sulphur, Louisiana.  We stayed in touch throughout his life and she followed his service to others.  A few months after he passed, she contacted me and told me that she had a newborn 3 legged puppy that would make an amazing therapy dog someday…..and would I consider adopting her? Her name was Pi (for 3.14 legs)  Pi had a very rough start, she had only three legs at birth & she was the runt of her litter.  Her shoulder is fully developed, but the cord wrapped around the shoulder and restricted the development of the leg. The day after her birth, she had to have the tiny remnant of tissue removed. At two weeks, she was moved to a newborn litter, where she was the size of those newborns.  She ended up being the runt of that litter too, but she battled on and is a survivor.

When we learned that we were moving to Omaha, Nebraska….leaving our home state of 50 years, our family, and friends….my husband said “YES” to my desire to adopt “Pi” and continue with therapy visits, like I had done with Colonel. We made slight adjustments to her name, changing it to Piper….because my son is in flight training and loves Piper planes….and the planes have 3 wheels.

During the move to Omaha, my most cherished belonging in my home was destroyed by the move.  It was an heirloom ginger jar lamp that I had had passed down to me from my grandparents.  They had purchased it while serving in Korea and Japan in the 1940’s - 1960’s. The moving company paid me for that beautiful lamp and I was able to use that money to enroll Piper and I in a great training program with Nebraska Dog Trainers.  We had 8 one on one lessons and improved Piper’s skills for her visits to the Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home….I thought it was a beautiful full circle situation….the link between my grandfather, Lt. Colonel TF Criswell, his time served in Japan and Korea, and Piper being able to serve the Veterans here with her training was paid for by the broken lamp acquired during service. After arriving in Papillion and completing training, we joined PAWS for Friendship.  It is a national organization created right here in Omaha 26 years ago.  It has chapters all over the country, all volunteer, that take pets to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. to share the unconditional love of their pets and provide cheerful uplifting visits for everyone!

We make return trips back to Texas quite a bit.  Piper and Sarge are excellent travelers.  The 13 hour drive doesn’t bother them a bit.  They love spending their days on the farm, swimming in the cold spring fed creek, running through the pastures, chasing the tennis ball, and sleeping in the shade of the big Oaks! While in Texas, we like to visit The University of Mary-Hardin Baylor during finals week and provide stress relief for college kids! They LOVE it!

Piper is pretty intense when it comes to the tennis ball.  She loves to retrieve and just doesn’t quit!  If Sarge makes it to the ball before her, she bites his front legs to make him release and give up the ball!
Whenever we are watching movies at home, she brings the ball to the couch or chair and pushes it up under the furniture and then begs me to get it!!  She LOVES pup cups from Freddy’s!!  We usually get one after her visit to the Veterans Home. She does not like the heat, but she sure loved the Omaha snowy cold winter!!

The last photo is of Colonel….he was such a dream!  The one of Piper sleeping is on the last road trip back to Texas a week or so ago.  One photo in the life jacket was her first time to swim, but she no longer needs the life jacket.  She is a great swimmer. The red Golden is Sarge…he is my 7 year old, but is not into therapy work.

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