The National Rifle Association should be taken out back of the woodshed and given a good thrashing for their latest stunt. Robocalls to Newtown CT residents calling for opposition to gun control legislation? REALLY? Newtown, of all places? Their insensitivity astounds me. Since I’m speechless, here’s a link to an article from the March 25, 2013 edition of The Hill. Understandably, Connecticut senators are condemning the calls and calling on the NRA to stop this campaign immediately.
This morning my local newspaper ran a story about therapy dogs, specifically one therapy dog who is making a difference at a local elementary school where many of the students are special needs kids who also suffer from social and emotional challenges. It’s not hard to imagine how hard these kids struggle to get through the day and how hard they try to acquire the skills they’ll need to live a productive adult life.
The school recently acquired the services of a therapy dog who has already made a difference in the kids’ lives. Just being around the dog calms them. He listens when they need someone to talk to. He sits patiently when they need to hug him or snuggle up with him on the floor. He’s there whenever they need a pal to hang with.
For most of us, it’s not the challenges we face but the lack of emotional support that drags us down from day to day. I know I feel so much better when I can talk things over with my husband or hug my cats and dogs during a difficult time. It’s wonderful that these lucky special needs children now have someone to turn to when the going gets a little rough.
I’ve been reading the chapter on walkable communities in HRH The Prince of Wales’ book Harmony. In it, he talks about the town of Poundbury in SW England, which planners designed in a spiral pattern of individual mixed-use mini villages containing schools, shops, and private homes within walking distance of each other. Automobiles are almost unnecessary. In fact, the thoroughfares were constructed more as wide walking paths than roadways. Cars are allowed but don’t rule the streets.
Personally, I’d love to be able to get to the places I need to get to by foot, if for nothing else than the exercise and social contact with my neighbors. I’ve noticed more people in my neighborhood walking their dogs on the street and in the park. My own dogs, usually so suspicious of everyone they encounter on our walks, have fallen in love with a woman who lives a few doors down from me. How great is that? I didn’t think they liked anybody! Walking brings people together. While walking through New York City’s Upper West Side this past July, my husband and I witnessed two people walking their dogs toward each other from opposite directions. It was clear from the few snippets of conversation that I overheard that the dogs and people had never met before. The dogs, in a way that only dogs can, introduced themselves and became instant friends. Their people struck up a conversation, and who knows? At that moment a human friendship may have been born. You can’t do that while driving in your car to the grocery store.