A wise dog once told me to go with the flow.
That dog was Tillie the Rescue Greyhound, and I finally got to meet her recently at a book signing co-sponsored by the Animal Law Section of the Florida Bar and Pets Ad Litem of Tallahassee. Oh, did I mention it was his book that was pawtographed?
“Tales of Tillie” is a compilation of Tillie’s wise and witty reflections on long walks along the shores of Lake Jackson with her favorite human, John Williams. As generous as she is wise, Tillie shares a portion of the profits from her book with Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Animal Therapy program.
I had so many questions about this wise puppy beyond his age. Her human writing coach opposed Tillie, and she was kind enough to take the time to satisfy my curiosity.
Q. How did you become so wise?
A. I have long suspected that I was the descendant of a long line of shaman dogs. I was trained as a recurve racer, racing the Jefferson County trails under the name “Good Lookin” (very accurate, don’t you think?). But I always thought I was meant to do more than just run fast in circles.
When my racing career came to an abrupt end, I found myself facing a somewhat risky future. Then a lovely woman named Perry Henry offered to share her house with me. It was around the same time that I first met John and I immediately realized that he was someone I could trust to share my wisdom with the world.
We have been keeping company for 10 years now.
Q. Tell me more about John.
A. He is a very good listener. Most humans aren’t that good at it. He also knows the way to a female dog’s heart – treats, lots of tasty treats! When he’s not dating me, he’s a board-certified family attorney, mediator, and parent coordinator. I told you he was a very good listener.
Q. What helps get you in the mood to write?
A. I still find most of my inspiration after a fast run followed by a slow walk by the lake; However, organic turkey bites and homemade spring water certainly don’t interfere with the process.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. My work with THM Animal Therapy where I am an honorary member of the team. I help other dogs find fulfilling careers by doing what they were born to be – best friends with humans in need.
Often times, the best assistance dog organizations have excellent candidates who still cannot pass the rigorous assistance dog tests. Some may have physical conditions; some are just too friendly. These dogs in need of a career change are offered at TMH Animal Therapy. It costs around $ 2,500 to have a “career change dog” relocated and upgraded to Tallahassee. The sales proceeds from my book will help Pet Therapy Director Stephanie Perkins say “yes” when the call comes from a dog in need.
These well-trained dogs are perfect for TMH Animal Therapy’s mission to bring joy and comfort to hospitals, hospices, assisted living facilities, schools and even courtrooms (emotional support is their second. first name). You can find out more about the program at tmh.org/services/animal-therapy.
You can help by donating to support pet therapy on tmhfoundation.org and (shameless promotional sheet) by purchasing a copy of my book at contesoftillie.com.
Q. Can we expect another book soon?
A. I launched an idea. I have this friend, you know, who doesn’t always see things the way I do. It would be interesting to see what others think of his worldview, so stay tuned!
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