Fairy Godmother of the Neighborhood Dogs

Fairy Godmother of the Neighborhood Dogs

I suspect that every dog and cat in our neighborhood recognizes ‘Sharon’ and even the car she drives. For about fifteen years, Sharon has left little goodies for our four-legged children in our community. Sometimes she leaves a little toy. Other times she leaves small treats. When she sees someone walking their dog, she usually stops her car, talks to the dog, and asks the dog’s human parent if she can give it a little treat.

An Opportunity to Connect

Sharon is a widow. I think she is probably in her mid-eighties. Because we are all needing to “shelter in place,” I don’t think Sharon is connecting with too many people right now. We dropped a little orchid by for her last week just because we were thinking of her. A few days later, she drove over to our house to let us know how much she appreciated the thought. We wanted her to know how much we appreciated her. Even though I wanted to invite Sharon inside for a visit, I wasn’t able to do that because of the risk it involved – especially for her. Instead, we visited on the porch for about ½ hour. My dog, Ranger, took full advantage of Sharon’s visit leaning into her just a bit as she rubbed his back and spoke to him. I asked Sharon if she needed anything from the store or anything else. She didn’t need anyone to run errands for her. I realized what she really needed was a chance to visit – not just a phone visit- but a real visit.  She told me that she realized her body was starting to give out on her. “I cannot walk much anymore. I don’t know if I’ll be around much longer.”

A Story to Tell

Sharon has always been a fixture in our neighborhood. I hadn’t thought about the reality that she would not be around forever – of course, none of us well. But our neighborhood angel could likely leave before some of the rest of us. After Sharon drove away, I thought more about this beautiful woman who has been such a positive presence in our community; it struck me that I didn’t know much about her at all. I plan to ask her some questions about her life. I suspect she has some stories to tell. Everyone has a story. Hearing at least a slice of people’s lives is one way to honor who that person is and to learn from their experience. Sharing our lived experiences is also a way we can make sense of our lives and recognize some of the more significant themes that thread through the years like rich veins of gold.  

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Joyce Cohen

    What a beautiful story.. thank you for sharing it. No doubt everyone of us have a “Sharon” in our neighborhoods and NOW is the time to reach out.. not only to the Sharon where we live but also to take time for ourselves, our friends and family, and doing something in our communities that will make a difference.
    Example: My friend and colleague in Philadelphia wanted to see a favorite restaurant survive and she also watches health care workers labor 24/7 at a local hospital. She contacted the restaurant to work out a deal for cost of lunch for 50 workers and snack for 50 workers, sent emails to her network, and people called the restaurant with their credit card number, ordered either the brownie / water/ potato chip snack or 50 pizza lunches. So far (3 days into the initiative) over 400 meals have been delivered to grateful hospital workers.
    What might each of us do in our neighborhoods? Perhaps It took a pandemic to have us all get off our treadmills of life and DO SOMETHING that will make a difference.
    For other ideas, send me an email and I’ll gladly prime your creative pump.

    1. Paula Usrey

      Thank you, Joyce. I love your example of how your friend is working to support health care workers while also supporting a favorite restaurant. It is so true that there are opportunities to get “off our treadmills of life” and make a difference. I appreciate how you are challenging all of us to be our better selves.

  2. Joyve Cohen

    And I’d like to introduce you and all your readers to the force behind the “restaurant / hospital” idea. Her name is Barbara Shaiman and she is a Philadelphia, PA LPN member. If anyone wants to launch something like this in your community, I’m sure there are health care workers who would be appreciative and a local restaurant that you’d like to help survive. Barbara can be reached at barbara@embraceyourlegacynow.com

    1. Paula Usrey

      Thank you, Joyce, for the introduction. Barbara has already reached out. I am hoping to get more information from her to share in a blog post and with the Boomer Best U community. We do have one restaurant owner in my immediate area who is doing something similar – but much more can be done. Inspiring stories like Barbara’s can help ignite greater support.

  3. Barbara Shaiman

    Paula I’m so happy you liked my project to support a local restaurant and provide meals for healthcare workers. I’m happy to share how I put the project together and the email I sent out to invite people to contribute. It felt so good to reach out and do something in these challenging times. Warmly, Barb Shaiman

    1. Paula Usrey

      Thank you, Barbara, for following up. I’d love to share what you are doing and how you developed your project in an upcoming blog post.

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