By Vijay Joshi, puppy development coordinator
During the last seven years, I noted a pattern of repetitiveness. I did not recognize it at first but when I did, I thought I was seeing something that wasn’t there. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence or even, just a series of unrelated events.
When I picked up my first beautiful black lab puppy, I thought “This is the best job—raising a puppy!” As I spoke and connected with other puppy raisers, they all seemed to agree. I heard regularly, “Of course it is the best.” Others would express, “It is rewarding to know I may help someone but also get to love a puppy.” The puppy raisers had the best job in the world!
I began to volunteer in the Polk Residence Center on Leader Dog’s campus, assisting clients in class. There are no words to describe the joy on a client’s face on issue day (the day they meet their new Leader Dog). Watching them grow, learn and connect to their new dog was amazing. The staff in the residence halls and kitchen were there with smiles—always smiles! Then, I heard it again, “I have the best job in the world,” repeated through hallways. I would have to agree. Watching the international clients translate jokes, accept weak American coffee, share tears as they receive their first doggie kisses, delight in having “gourmet” pizza dinner (clients believe LDB has the best pizza) definitely, gives them best job!
I was honored to travel with our clients helping to interpret for them during class. This was the first time I saw our guide dog mobility instructors (GDMIs) work with clients. Their thoughtfulness, consideration, empathy and compassion kept a smile on my face for days. Through cold, rain, traffic and strange obstacles, their smiles never faltered! Remarkable! As we were leaving, I expressed how amazing the experience was to watch. How simply wonderful they were with the clients. Something happened. I heard it again, “I have the best job in the world,” said the GDMI with a twinkle in her eye and a big smile on her face. “Truly the best job, and that’s why it is so easy to smile.”
Now, as an employee, I hear these words more frequently. Our puppy development team members say, “I definitely have the best job in the world.” Others express, “If I could work here forever, I would. The most rewarding job!” On-campus volunteers smile despite what their shoes step in or the different smells smeared on their shirts and say, “This is the best volunteer job! I get to play with puppies!”
How can so many people lay claim to the best job in the world? Quite simple. Every job combines into one purpose— helping to fulfill our mission of empowerment and independent travel. So yes, we all do have the best job in the world!