I believe that hospitals shouldn’t be places feared by the sick, elderly, and dying. I believe these people should have a bit of joy in their lives as they sit and await good or bad news, staring up at the spongy ceiling tiles as they roll down the hall amidst scrubs and white coats. I believe that laughter and happiness can help a person recover from even the worst of sicknesses. And I believe in the power of the twaddling three-legged dog.
Possibly the greatest dog that ever lived will not be found on the pedestal at a greyhound race, or in front of a huge check at one of those huge six hour dog shows you see on Animal Planet. You won’t find him in a mansion or even out on the street. Little Blinkers, a West Highland White Terrier, lives and ‘works’ down at the Community Hospital in Nassau.
No one ever knew how Blinkers lost his left rear leg, only that he was found under a car with the turning single blinking. Hence the name Blinkers. In pretty good health when he was found, Blinkers was snuck into the maintenance office on the ground floor until he snuck out one day and decided to meet his ‘neighbor’, an 86 year old man who was dying from Diabetes. Much to the surprise of his grandson and the dismay of his nurse, Blinkers jumped onto a chair, up into the bed, and proceeded to wag his fluffy tail at the aging man. Overcome with surprise the occupants of the room burst into laughter, happily petting the pooch. The old man’s grandson, only 6 at the time, waves to Blinkers as the dog left a few minutes later, and remarked to his mother, “Mama, I like how he twaddles.” When his mother asked if he meant ‘waddles’, the young boy said no, “Waddling is what happens with two feets. He has thwee. So he twaddles.”
And so the legacy of Blinkers was born. He slept and ate in the maintenance office by night, and by day he roamed the halls looking for sad faces to fix. Until one day, when the head honcho stormed in. He demanded that ‘such a dirty creature’ could not be allowed free reign of his hospital and was causing disruption and false hopes to the patients and staff. When he said this aloud in the midst of numerous Blinkers fans, he was greeted with gasps and unhappiness. One patient’s family member remarked, “Hey mister! I brought my son here so he could get better. He is recovering so well with Blinkers’ help that he’ll be out of here a full week early!” Through the cheers of the patients and staff, the hospital manager gave in, shrugged his shoulders, and only ordered that Blinkers have a full bath at least every three days.
For ten years little white Blinkers brought smiles, laughter, and happiness to every floor of that hospital, from burn victims to children diagnosed with incurable diseases. Never again have I met such a spectacular little dog that could do so much for so many people and never let his tail droop.
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