The Gift of A Child’s Joy

Can you imagine giving parents one of the greatest joys of their child’s life?

Stuart McLean, storyteller par excellence, provides Canadians an opportunity to laugh at ourselves.    His CBC program, Vinyl Cafe, includes great music by often unknown Canadian artists, his reading of his ongoing story of a fictitious, but typical Canadian family and a short story submitted by a listener.  The entanglements, subtle and otherwise, can be hilariously familiar or heartwarmingly human.

This morning, the “listener’s story” was one submitted by a retired member of our Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  He now lives in a community in British Columbia, but as a young man, he was chosen as one of the trained members to participate in the 32-horse Musical Ride at Montreal’s Expo in 1967.  (Unfortunately, the writer’s name was not added to the Playlist on the Vinyl Cafe’s site.)

Some of the best loved horses in our country – thanks to the RCMP!
(Photo thanks to Assiniboia Downs)

Because the Mounties allow people to greet the horses after the Ride, it means taking great care that the horses do nothing to hurt or frighten admirers, such as step on a toe or move too quickly while being patted.

The writer noticed a young boy in a wheel chair at the edge of the crowd.  After people subsided, he led his beautiful steed slowly toward the young man.  He looked to the parents for permission and upon seeing a nod, he brought his horse to the handicapped boy.

As the lad held out his hand, the horse responded in greeting, put its lips over the boy’s fingers and began to suck.  The boy’s face burst into a grin.  He exploded with joyous and uninhibited laughter.  The Mountie, greatly relieved over the outcome, turned to the parents and was surprised to find them in tears.

After the visit, he said goodbye to the still excited young boy and guided his horse toward the stables.

He tended to his horse and when finished, he walked out of the stables.  Surprisingly, he saw the parents were waiting for him.  When he approached them, he listened to their gratitude and learned the reason for their tears.

It was the first time, they explained, they had heard their child laugh.

They finally knew what was capable of bringing joy to his life.

♥♥  R.C.M.P. ♥♥

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36 thoughts on “The Gift of A Child’s Joy

  1. Pingback: The Gift of A Child’s Joy | Soul Dipper

    • Yes, animals have helped me see that I can have patience, Rosie! 😀

      We have horses on the island with whom handicapped children and adults spend time riding and caring for. Their delight is contagious!

    • Is that ever great that special needs children have access to horses, Charles. According to my father, “horses are a tad more intelligent that the smartest German Shepherd”. He loved horses and had many stories that lay the foundation for my respect of these great heart-ful creatures.

    • So do I, Sherry. I submitted a story about a friend with an Alzheimer’s mom and she won an Arthur’s Award. It was the first go around and there were 10 winners in total. So my friend didn’t get much air time and nomination were not read. 😦

      But when the Vinyl Cafe show came here, we met Stuart, spent time with him and he gave my friend free tickets, of course.

      • Oh thank you Amy for your loving support as always…life is rather a winding road at the moment, and I can’t see round the bends…I know I have something to learn as I keep on keeping on, and keep hoping there isn’t much more to learn!!!!
        resistance is painful, but often I realise I am…and then have to remember that all is well….

        • One thing about manoeuvring those curves, Valerie, we have to be in motion. We couldn’t turn the corner otherwise. Hang on to that calm, whole self that is within the chaos and rest in its power to bring glorious vistas AND peace.

  2. A beautiful story, animals have wonderful effects on people in general. We just had our fund raiser for our Therapudic Riding center in October. My brother’s dog a 225 lb St Bernard visits many senior nursing homes, one lady never sits up except when Lincoln comes, he puts his head on her lap and she grabs on to his neck and he moves backwards and pulls her up. She loves to sit on the edge of her bed and pet him and talk to him, her face lights up when she sees him come in her door.

    • That’s so good, Dee. Thank goodness for such great efforts and opportunities. I also love hearing about the elderly having a chance to be with, touch, feel and/or cuddle animals. The effects are powerful AND long lasting. That animal is NOT gone when it leaves. It’s presence continues to heal. At our local Senior’s Residence, residents are allowed small dogs and cats – and birds, of course. The pets were harder to clean up after than the people, but the staff never complained because of the joy it brought to the seniors.

    • I’m with you, Mel. When I think of the underside of humanity that is constantly served people in our police forces, it’s a great relief knowing that they are given opportunities and experiences like this to help confirm the goodness that is the candle obliterating the dark.

  3. Oh, Amy, this brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I had a similar experience in the early 80’s, before pet therapy was popular in nursing homes. We brought in a resident puppy and a sweet lady, non-verbal with advanced dementia, began talking to her. There is something about animals that touch the human spirit so deeply. (Thanks for sharing this…and I love Canadians. We have a number of friends who come to the desert for the Winter. Besides, my father–who I never knew–was born on a farm outside of Regina.)

    • Isn’t it amazing to imagine all we are given simply through the presence of an animal. Whether in the wilds or on our lap, the connection is wondrous when when we give, in that moment, the animal our attention.

      Last night, as I puttered in my office, I noticed that Duc le Chat was watching me rather than being curled up asleep. I’d stop and pet him, but he kept observing me. Later, I was reading in bed and he suddenly appeared, determined to lie on top of me and bury his face in my neck. He’s never done that before. He sleeps on a blanket that I put on my bed for him, but that wasn’t enough for him last night. He was staring into my eyes. I was dumbstruck. I said, “Duc, either you are terribly in love or you think this is the last time we’re going to see each other.”

      We lived through the night and he’s back to his normal detached hibernation state today. 😀

  4. Sometimes it feels like they’ve come to us from another dimension. My “soul dog” who died in 2004 used to drag herself out of bed and come put her beautiful head on the edge of the bed when I was away, worrying about a work situation. They are truly gifts.

  5. Thank you for this touching story. You are an amazingly talented and entertaining writer. I am delighted that our cyber paths have crossed. I am happy to follow your writings and can hardly wait to see what you’ll share about next! Cheers to you from a fellow Canadian, Stuart McLean fan, and horse aficionado. ~Gina

    • Oh boy, Gina, you certainly are Canadian through and through – may even be a neighbour of Dave and Morley! 😀 You have a great blog! I went over for a peek and ended up cruising around for a fair bit. I like your integrity and determination which shine through abundantly. Many thanks for your comment.

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