Rehoming A Service Dog

By: Joel Allen

Well, folks, another month has gone by and it has been a whirlwind year already. Recently, we lost a close friend and the Lord gained another bright soul for His Kingdom. I am speaking of Norm who once worked for Walmart as a door greeter. I will miss hearing his voice boom, “Welcome to Walmart!” to any who entered the store while at the same time, turning his power chair to those exiting to say, “Have a good day!” He rarely got upset about anything and was a light for many folks.

One day as I came into Walmart, Norm was working the door as always and said he would like to discuss something with me. So, when he took his break, he rolled up to me in electronics and said he would like to train his dog for service for him. That began the journey of Xena his white pitbull becoming a service dog.

Let me tell y’all, Xena was a natural from the start. She had humble manners and just knew she was supposed to be with Norm. As I observed her and was deciding the best training she could use to assist Norm, she seemed to already have it. The one thing I spoke with Norm about training her to do was pick up things he dropped from his chair to lessen the risk of a fall and carry his medicines should he need them. She was a natural on diabetic alerting for Norm. His daughter shared the story about when he was at church with Xena and she tried to get his attention. Norm had told Xena to lie down and within minutes he felt hungry and then dozed off in his chair. She was indicating to Norm that his sugar was low and going down. Xena and Norm had such a bond. Many of my readers probably met Xena and did not realize it because Norm would dress up as Santa for Walmart and Xena would wear reindeer antlers.

So, here I was about a month ago meeting with Norm because his illness had become terminal, and he wanted Xena to be rehomed when he went to be with the Lord. We all worried she would grieve over him really bad. I promised Norm that I would come for her when the time came. Now, folks, Norm’s family loves Xena and would have kept her, but they felt she would be better off in the service of another “hooman” and that is the reason she was rehomed.

Two weeks ago Norm passed, and I received the news while I was out of town in Tennessee. I immediately put a posting on Facebook about Xena. That is such a responsibility to rehome a dog, especially a service dog. I prayed to the Lord about the situation because I had no clue who I was willing to allow her to go to. Fifteen minutes didn’t even pass after I had said “Amen” that someone Norm and I knew texted me with interest for Xena. Sure, I got several responses, but this text I felt immediately was the one. Mr. Richard told me that his granddaughter wanted Xena. We had spoken before about his granddaughter and how she could use a diabetic alert dog for her diabetes. Like a thunderbolt, I was all excited and called Norm’s daughter with the news. Mr. Richard and I set up a time to meet as soon as I returned. We agreed to meet at Norm’s home and see if Xena would accept Taylor, Mr. Richard’s granddaughter.

I arrived before Mr. Richard and Taylor did. Xena greeted me and then watched the door as if someone had told her to expect a visitor. Now, granted she might have been looking for Norm, but I like to think she was looking forward to meeting Taylor. When they arrived, Taylor came in and Xena immediately went to her. The bond was instant, as soon as they met. Within minutes of their meeting, Xena already indicated on Taylor, and Taylor pulled out her CGM (Constant Glucose Meter) to see if Xena was on point. Sure enough, she was high and her blood sugar was climbing. So, when it was time to go, Xena walked with Taylor out the door and into the vehicle. She even insisted on sitting in the same seat as Taylor. These last couple of weeks, Mr. Richard has called me and updated me that Xena has stayed on point with Taylor. Thank the Lord!

Now, folks, I want to close with something I copied from a video on the internet that a man shared. It’s just what he was thinking and it fits this article, but think of this in reverse:

“It occurred to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them and every new dog that comes into my life gives me a piece of their heart.  My hope is that I can live long enough so that all the pieces of my heart are dog and I can be as loyal, as generous and as loving as my dogs are.”

By: Joel Allen