My family raises dogs for the handicapped. It's not Seeing Eye Dogs, it's a different program and the dogs help with other handicaps (wheelchair, deaf, autism, etc.). Last weekend, we turned in one of our dogs, Brycen (our 7th puppy for the program). He hasn't graduated yet, he's in advanced training right now. What that means is that the professional trainers do tests and evaluations to decide if he can be a service dog. If he passes, they'll train him and in six to nine months, he'll be placed with a disabled person and they'll graduate together (we already have a great home lined up for him if he doesn't pass).

My favorite part of every graduation ceremony is when the puppy raiser (the person who took an 8-week-old pee machine and turned it into a beautiful 18-month-old dog with perfect manners) hands the leash to the disabled person. The joy in their face makes every accident, every muddy bed, and every tear shed when we give them back, all worthwhile. We go through every second of that for the chance that someday, somehow, we might be able to give someone an Angel.

Her Angel Has a Tail

Curled up on her ankles
Keeping her toes warm
She can't feel his heat
But she knows it's there

She was a social outcast
The freak in the wheelchair
Then he came along
Her angel with a tail

Her parents no longer worried
About leaving her home alone
Because now she was never alone
One day she came home glowing
Some boy had asked her to prom

Her angel did more than show her
That she was perfect as she was
He also taught those around her
How to love someone that the world
Had taught them to neglect

What being could possibly
Manage all of this
Without seeming to think about it
Except an angel with a tail?

Before her Angel
She had been totally dependent
On the kindness of those around her
Now, the sweet scent of independence
Fills her life

Some angels have halos
Some angels have wings
But the most common angels
Are angels with tails