Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Daily Haunts

One of the advantages of living where I do is the proximity to several local college campuses. Pictured above is Macalester - a beautiful campus just steps from my door - and where Belle and I spend a great deal of time.

Until Belle came along, I confess I wasn't that familiar with the school and its programs or the grounds and buildings that I have lived so close to all these years. My neighborhood as well as the school has benefitted greatly from the generousity of DeWitt Wallace, founder of Readers' Digest and a former Mac student (although he never graduated). His money has been used for many purposes, from scholarships to campus landscaping. Kofi Annan, current U.N. Secretary-General is a 1961 graduate and visited the campus on April 22, 2006 as part of the inaugural events for the Institute for Global Leadership.

But famous (and generous) former students and graduates are probably far from the thoughts of the students I saw on today's walk. Heads down, heading to a final exam or a quiet place to study, they looked tired and anxious. And then they see Belle, and smile. As happened last spring at semester end, a few approached us and asked if they could just hug her. They tell me how much they miss their dogs and how much they can't wait to get home and be with them again. The short moment ends and they head off to their destination. But in their need for the touch and smell and affection of a canine friend they underscore the importance of all that Belle is being trained for - the power of acceptance and love.

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