Friday, March 11, 2011

My life's calling

   Today's earthquake in Japan—called "the most powerful earthquake to hit the island nation in recorded history" and the resulting 30-foot tsunami have brought shocking, unthinkable and heartbreaking images to the news. I can't stand to watch. But I am so thankful that in light of the tragedy, Masayo and her friends & family are safe, as are Ben & Yumiko and the kids.
   Waiting to hear from them reminded me of the hours of waiting to hear from Kristin, who was just a few blocks from the World Trade Center when the planes hit, forcing her to flee with the masses. Since all services were out, we couldn't get in touch with her, and she had to walk across the Brooklyn bridge to find friends with whom she could stay.
   At that time, I desperately wanted to help and didn't know how. Then I saw images of search and rescue dogs on the news, canvassing the rubble and looking for survivors. Those dogs have to be hardworking, with intense noses and stamina, and a strong drive toward people. I thought about how much I wanted to do that someday.
   At last year's Dogtoberfest, there was a booth for an organization that trains these dogs and it got me thinking again. It's probably not a job for Aki, but I think Tay would be amazing at it!
   The other thing I've been kicking around is the idea of training my dogs as therapy dogs, and using them to cheer children in the hospital, or folks in assisted living. Based on my experience drawing for the children regularly at Children's Mercy Hospital, I know how much the kids and parents appreciate such efforts. For a few minutes, they can forget about their condition and just be a kid. Same with older folks; I imagine spending some time talking to them while they cuddle a dog would reveal some amazing stories.
   I have a lot on my plate right now, but I'm just capturing this to remind myself. Oprah Magazine had a great article recently about finding your life's calling. Not sure I've found mine yet, though I've found a ton of things I genuinely enjoy. Calling, maybe not. But if I combine my love of dogs—and potentially training rescued dogs to help people—and then I find a way to help people, I think I must be getting close to my calling.
(Suggestions welcome! What the h am I "meant" to be doing?)