Friday, October 11, 2013

See Beautiful Friday/A letter about Bert

 You know, sometimes I look at Bert's
face and wonder.  "What Was I thinking"
But those thoughts are fleeting.
They come with a smile and a knowledge
that having him in my life has
been an adventure in living every day.
I'll try to tell you all this story without breaking
any of the HIPAA rules of disclosure.
Bert and I arrived at A Hospital for our
weekly visits.  We were greeted by staff
who informed us that there had been a shooting
involving gang members and that
there would be police throughout the hospital
intermixed with many many gang members.
We were told that if we were uncomfortable
with all of this that there would be no problem
if we went home and came again on another day.
Well Bert had no problem with it.  So off we went.
In truth the halls of the hospital were lined
with police and extra security.  There was concern
that if the person who got shot were to
die, that there may be some trouble.
Bert and I along with our Pet Partner Louise started
heading down the halls.  At the end of one of the
halls was a big conference room and as we
walked by it, Bert steered us into the room.
At first I was a little startled and maybe a
tiny bit concerned as I found myself in
the middle of a room full of gang members
and their families.  Big men in hoodies
with sullen faces lined the walls of the room.
It was silent and most eyes turned to look
steadily at these intruders.  Bert was unconcerned
as he made his way over to a group of women.
He sidled up to one of the women and bent his
head under her hand.  Louise and I stood there
not knowing what to do or say when finally
the woman reached down and grabbed Bert
around his neck and held him to her close.
Crying she held tightly to Bert for a while.
Then looked up at me and said that it
was wonderful that Bert was there.
(We later found that she was the mother
of the person who had been shot)
Bert then said a prayer for them which they asked 
to do twice and while I was saying goodbye
Bert left my side and made his way over
to a man who had been sitting
silently across from the woman.
He had his elbows on his knees and
his hands clasped together and was
very clearly "the Man"  
His head was down and you could
barely see his face under the hooded sweater
that was hanging loosely from him.
Bert went over to this man, slipped under
his hands between his legs and sat up
forcing his hands apart slightly.  I held my breath
because I knew in my heart that this
was a man who had spent his life
as a leader and was respected and feared
by his people because he never showed
emotion or let anything penetrate his public
persona.  And Yet this dog was
reaching into his inner space and demanding
something from him.
Everyone was still as they waited.
I feared for Bert's safety but felt compelled
to let this play out. 
After a moment this big man who
lived the kind of life I will never understand
softened his grip and began to gently caress
Bert's neck, then finally reaching down
with his head he hugged Bert and held
onto him as the mother did moments before.
"See Beautiful" came into my mind
in a huge banner across my heart. 
Hearts can be made tender even
when anger has built up so much
that it is about to explode. 
Yes, I sometimes wondered
"What have I done" when I brought
Bert home, but I can tell you now
that I was blessed beyond measure
the day he came into my life.
And he has allowed me to be a part
of his magic ever since.
The man who was shot has died and since that day
there have been several other shootings.
There is unrest in the city near where I live
there is anger and pain that will continue.
But for that short time, myself, Louise, a mother,
a gang leader and 60 other members all felt
the Tender moments brought about
by the spirit of a pure being that was placed
in my care five years ago.
Thank You Bert for allowing me
to experience Beauty with you.
Your Greatest Admirer
My Vickie


  1. Tears are rolling down our faces, thank you so much for sharing this most beautiful story. My mom was talking about bert at the hospital this week when my grandpa was in icu.....he is a true gift!!!
    Stella Rose

  2. We could hardly read this with the tears in our eyes. We are blessed to have met the two of you in the fur/person.
    Bailey, Hazel & Greta

  3. Beautiful story for you to share on our Seeing Beauty hop. Through your words we can picture the beautiful moments of Bert. Golden LOVE to you and Bert. Happy Seeing Beauty. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  4. Bert, you are a hero. What you did was stronger than all guns of this gang. For a moment you were able to bring peace to this peple in the room. That was wonderful!
    You are beautiful (even in the first picture), that's for sure.

  5. Bert, you really are our hero. If you go to Primary Children's or the U or HCI, can you let me know when you are going to be there? I'd love to meet you in person.

    -Dr. Liz, who has witnessed the magic of therapy dogs more than once and is overwhelmed every time

  6. Bert is a very special guy and can bring a little joy to ANY heart, no matter how hardened!

  7. Bert, we are so proud to be your friends. You are an inspiration to us all.

  8. Bert, you and your Vickie are SO beautiful!!! We love you.

  9. Tears. This is amazing. Thank you for a raw touching and ultimately uplifting story. May peace come into the hearts of the people touched by violence in your city.

  10. Wow! That is quite the post ~ amazing dog and amazing love that comes through from our dogs ~ thanks, carol

  11. My Vickie....thank you for sharing this most amazing story with us today on See Beautiful....and might we ask that you please give Bert a hug and a nose tap from us
    Madi and Mom

  12. Mommy just can't type through her tears. What a truly amazing story and a See Beautiful moment for sure.

    We will pray for the horrible violence to stop!

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  13. I'm seeing beautiful right now. Bert, you are amazing.

  14. We dogs can give so much healing. That was a beautiful story.

    Of course, we think Bert is beautiful in the first picture.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  15. Beautiful. I just wish there were more dogs like Bert around to help people when they need it most.

  16. Lana here...
    I have GOOSE BUMPS just thinking about this. What a TRULY BEAUTIFUL thing. Perhaps those few moments of Peace and Compassion that Bert brought.. will develop into seconds and hours and DAYS and WEEKS and on into a LIFETIME of Calm and Responsible behavior. OH MY.... this is WHY we Blog and try NEVER to miss ANYONE's POSTS. THANK YOU for sharing this (AND BERT) with us.

  17. Hi Y'all,

    People who don't love us pawed critters don't understand how amazing we can be given the opportunity. Bert is one special fellow who can sense where his healing touch is needed. An Army of Berts and there would be no gang shootings.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  18. Only you, Vickie, would have had the courage to follow Bert's lead in that situation. You two are an amazing team. Your story brought tears to my eyes and a big lump to my throat. Bert is incredible - a pure and angelic being (even with mud all over him!), and you are the perfect partner for him.

  19. Great story. Mom works with those people every day
    Benny & Lily

  20. Not only were your and Bert's actions that day a thing of beauty, but your retelling of the story was very beautifully written. Bert is a very special soul and you are so lucky to have him in your life. Thank you so much for sharing him with all of us. I think I speak for most of Blogville when I say how much I wish I could meet both of you in person.


  21. Awesome story about a very special dog.

  22. Wow! What a beautiful post! You are one very special boy, Bert ♥

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  23. Mr. Bert is my hero! ILUVIT! Momio teared up reading this...she has leaky eyeballs...but I perked up because I found a feller I could look up to (in more ways than one...BOL)

  24. Oh Vickie, you have a special boy there. What a touching story. Keep on doing what you do because it is so marvellous and wonderful. We LOVE Bert and ya know what? We LOVE you too!
    No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  25. I have always believed a dog KNOWS...they have that special sixth sense

  26. Bert has brought happiness to many and touched more through his bolg.
    My mom works in a nursing home, she says there are no therapy dogs there.
    Such as shame when they can bring such joy to humans.

    xo Cinnaon

  27. Bert has brought moments of faith and love and sharing to everyone. He has an exceptional talent and a beautiful soul...purrhaps an angel on earth making us all aware of our actions. We are so happy YOU ALL are a part of our lives.
    Nellie and Mommy

  28. Bert certainly is a special, beautiful guy...

  29. This is such a beautiful story. I always wanted to get my older dog certified as a Therapy Dog, but now she's too old for it. Stories like this make me wish we had done it!

  30. It's amazing how dogs can reach across cultural differences and touch the soul of even the hardest person. Give Bert love from us.

    Monty and Harlow

  31. Dogs can cross barriers that people cannot. That is why dogs are so wonderful. Thanks for sharing this story!!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  32. Oh Bert, what a truly truly inspirational dog you are! That was such a sad story, but I'm so glad you brightened some moods in the hospital that day. You really are an amazing boy!
    Pippa :)

  33. Bert is a special dog. Thanks for sharing this story.

  34. Hiya Bert! Our Mom has made a last-minute decision to take a 'mental health' day tomorrow (something about work driving her crazy!), so she is going to miss you tomorrow. HOWEVER, if you could have your Vickie pee-mail our Mom (gretaski AT hotmail DOT com) to let her know the next time you are going to be PCMC, our Mom is going to schedule it on her calendar so she can come down and meet you. Because she is so excited at the possibility of meeting you in the furs! Have a great time tomorrow!

    *kissey face*
    -Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

  35. What a wonderful story about how a dog can reach people at a level other humans can't.

  36. Vickie, You have me crying! What a beautiful story! What a blessing your Bert is! I feel the same about my girl... I still wonder what have I done. But I also wonder...what I have done to deserve such a blessing! ???

  37. Oh yeah, I would not want to be on this earth without my loving pets. They are angels in most every way.

  38. Bert. There aren't words. You made such a difference to those people and you knew just what to do. No worries. I am so happy that you could be where you were needed.


  39. Oh my goodness. Vickie, two are so very special. And Beautiful. Thank you for sharing YOU with us. xo Jeanne, Chloe and LadyBug

  40. Beautiful experience -- beautifully told. Kudos to you Bert, my friend.

  41. If only every human could experience the true gift of love a dog so easily just offers without regard for anything more than answering one soul crying out to another.

  42. Bert I am glad I happened upon your story today. Lee has been feeling quite low. This past weekend we encountered a place where service dogs were not welcome.
    Lee was with a group of handicapped adults that went to the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall. Not even seeing eye dogs were allowed on the field AVITT even turned away servicemen with companion dogs. We still feel sad today.
    Your story is inspiring. Thanks Bert
    Sweet William The Scot

  43. I'm late in getting to your blog, but am so thankful that I did. What an amazing and beautiful post. I hope that in those moments that everyone affected by the horrible events find that same peace that was felt in those moments at the hospital with Bert. Thank-you for your friendship and sharing this story with all of us. Take care, and I hope you are both well!

  44. Hi Y'all!

    Just stopped back to say we miss y'all!

    Come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  45. Thank you for sharing this. In a world that is unfathomable at times, it is so truly wonderful to read of these moments. You and Bert are an inspiration.



  46. Fantastic! SAys it all...
    the collies n chuck :)

  47. Hi Y'all!

    Saw your blog was visitin' today and saw y'all playing with Goose the other day...Sure miss y'all! Glad you get to visit and Goose always includes his friend in his blog when he posts!

    Y'all come by when you can,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  48. Bert, you are truly special! God Bless you for all that you do to make people feel better. What an amazing story. Mommy was recently in the hospital and one of the days, doggy visitors came to see her. There were 6 all in costumes. Three of them were dogs like Bert and some were smaller. It made her day. Thank you for all you do.

    Loveys Sasha

  49. Hi Y'all!

    Just stopped back to say "hi"...been thinkin' of you. Hope y'all are well.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  50. What a story! Wow. The first picture of Bert made me smile. It's as Bert and Mickey were twins.. ;O )

  51. Wow! What a powerful and moving post!