If you live within miles of Laird and McRae, you’ve probably seen Alice Morgan and her faithful companion, German shepherd Honey, on their four times daily walks. Alice, who lives on Randolph Rd., is a dog owner who takes her responsibilities seriously. Her life’s priorities are in this order: God, country and Honey.
Alice grew up with German shepherds from the time she was a child. In her young adult life, she also owned a shepherd, and was heartbroken when they had to part. Six years ago, in her 70s, Alice decided it was time again to welcome a shepherd into her life. She was turned down for one adoption in Toronto, because the dog was deemed too young, while she was deemed too old.
When she saw a photo of a five-year-old shepherd at a shelter in Ohio, she promptly drove there to have a look. That’s when she met Honey. Alice was just returning to her car to get a leash to walk Honey, when the dog decided, independently, to go with Alice.
She got into the car and wouldn’t move! It was love at first woof.
Over the next year, the two were regular attendees at dog training classes. The trainer observed that Honey was a smart dog, and needed something to occupy her. By luck, Alice noticed in a copy of Leaside Life that people from the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program were going to be presenting at the Leaside Library, so off she went. The program appealed to her, and she thought it was worth seeing if she and Honey could become accredited.
Honey is a calm, gentle, loving and loyal dog, and she and Alice have bonded well. Honey was evaluated and passed. Of 300 dogs in the program in Toronto, 80 have credentials to work with special needs children in addition to students, seniors and those in hospitals or care facilities. Honey is one of those 80. Over the past years, the German shepherd has calmed the jittery nerves of university students before exams, visited many long-term care facilities, and been a regular visitor at both St. Anselm’s and Northlea schools in Leaside. They have just formally retired themselves from the active ranks of therapy dogs. Alice felt the time had come to leave honourably, while they were both still doing well.
Honey has spent more than a bit of time with a host of veterinarians. Alice’s contact list includes a neurologist, dermatologist, internist, ophthalmologist and several generalists – all for Honey. She suffers from allergies and asthma,
she endured surgery for in-turned eyelashes, she had pneumonia…the list goes on. She is doing well for an 11-year old dog with medical issues, thanks to Alice’s caregiving.
The two of them keep one another going. The daily walks aren’t as long as they once were, but they still get out four times a day, whatever the weather. Alice is staying well to look after Honey, and Honey in return gives Alice love, joy and licks.