The Gift of Giving and Receiving

Two of the greatest gifts I ever received, My PAALS Service Dogs, Shack, and Retired, Casper; Thank You!

‘Twas six days before Christmas, when all through the town,

A vibrant PAALS creature was stirring, a Golden/Labrador Retriever (GLAB) named Shack;

Shack, the dedicated partner!

Tail wagging happily forward and back, because of his meticulous training, not a skill does he lack,

Full of glee, his giving nature, he loves to share,


Shack helping a child learn how to read.

In hopes that Dori’s independence continues to be there;

I am nestled all snug in my bed,

Shack wakes up each day, and physically lifts my legs and my head;

Dori in the middle of the bed with Shack on my left and Casper on the right.

He in his cape, helping me into my coat,

Together, we head to work, and on me, Shack, continuously dotes.

Shack opening the door for me at work.

When into the Able SC office there arises such a clatter,

Shack springs from his place under my desk to see what is the matter.

Shack under my desk as I work at Able SC.

Away to my side he flies like a flash,

Goes to the floor to retrieve my phone, paper clips, pens, and dropped papers in a dash!

His head in a rest on my knee, Shack takes away pain, and cramps, so, we can stay on the go,

Shack helps me get up from the toilet, or chairs that are too low.

When, what to my wondering eyes does appear,

But an amazing service dog always bringing me cheer.

Shack with his diploma from PAALS.

Casper wearing a shirt on Shack’s PAALS Graduation day that says, “I Love Retirement and Shack; Thanks, PAALS!”

An energetic being so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment no task wouldn’t click.

More rapid than snow coming down in the east,

Each day, Shack works hard for a special treat;

The 2016 PAALS Graduating Class; Pictured: Chief, Chiver, Stanley, Abbe, and Cookie, with their partners.

“Now, CHIEF! now, CHIVER! now, STANLEY and COOKIE!

On, ABBE! on JOYCE! on, ROBERTA and AJ!

To the top of the mark! to the top of our game!

Now work away! work away! work away all!”

As challenges we have met bring us closer together,

We had to work harder, so we could be better,

Dori and Shack speaking to a local cub scout troop.

Shack and I have to practice his skills each day,

Casper encourages us, on his bed where he lay.

And then, in a twinkling, Bryan, my husband, hears in the other room,

The prancing and moving of each little paw, as I fall and go boom.

As I land on the ground, Shack is busy turning around,

Through the house, Shack replies to my help with a dedicated bound.

Shack, all covered in fur, lands at Bryan’s foot,

My husband helping me get up because of Shack’s speaking hoot;

A bundle of enthusiasm, Shack tugs at my clothes, socks, and shoes,

Shack helping me get my coat off my left arm.

He joyfully shows off his helpful moves.

Shack at the hair salon with me.

His eyes, how they sparkle! his personality, how merry!

His wags are like boomerangs, his kisses like a berry!

He speaks not a word, but goes straight to his work,

Undressing and dressing me with turns and quick, little tugs,

Helping me with every fabulous hug,

And giving a nudge, my wheelchair footrests rose; he uses his nose,

Shack targeting my footrest down.

Using a target, his paw pushes them around, my feet position and stay down.

Shack and I training The City of Columbia Police Department.

These are the things Shack does for me everyday, for that, my thanks can never re-pay!

Shack, me, and his trainer, Maureen.

People like Maureen, Jen, Nick, Sheri, Mitzie, Julie, Stephanie, Kim, and Liz, to this team, we give a whistle,

And, to Heather, Rose and Keith, every PAALS Board Member, Foster, Pup-sitter, and Volunteer, our humble gratitude flies away like the down of a thistle.

Shack and Dori with PAALS Board of Director’s President, Sandra.

To each Sponsor, Donator, Cocky Canine Club Member, Prison PAALS Person, we appreciate your generosity to PAALS plight,

Please hear us near and far, as we wheel and heel out of sight,

“MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!”

Adapted from:

Major Henry Livingston Jr. (1748-1828)
(previously believed to be by Clement Clarke Moore)