Little Dog, Big Purpose — The Power of Reframing Experience

IMG 4774 225x300 Little Dog, Big Purpose    The Power of Reframing Experience I was walking out of my hotel in Leavenworth, a crazy little town in the mountains of eastern Washington State designed to look like Bavaria, when I met the most remarkable characters.

A lovely woman carried a small pocket dog inside her coat, heading for a comfort break. I couldn’t resist. Her dog was so cute I called out to them both and as she approached, the woman told me all about this little canine cutie-pie named Chee Chee Rodriquez.

Chee Chee was a rescue dog, mistreated by a brutal owner who broke many of her teeth and a few bones in her face. She is smaller than most small cats. The shelter workers who rescued her called this amazing lady, Kathy Ketchum, who is quite familiar with traumatized creatures since she works with traumatized children. Kathy said yes to Chee Chee and a star was born.

Chee Chee is about to receive her certificate as an assistance dog. Kathy takes her to nursing homes and to schools with troubled kids where they work their magic. And magic it is, guys. These two beautiful people – one two-legged and one four – attract others like magnets, for how else to explain my calling out to them? When I travel I keep to myself.

It was then I noticed the rainbow over the mountain. Kathy winked and said, “it’s actually a double rainbow”, and as we watched, it formed its full arch. The rainbow got brighter as Kathy told me two important truths she passes to children and that I share with you now.

First, she tells them that if they are judged, it’s only their “wrapping” that others see critically. When she was young, she had polio and a walker. When the teasing got too much for her and her heart was breaking, her father told her, “It’s just your wrapper they are judging. Imagine it’s your birthday party and you’ve received two gifts. One is beautifully wrapped with colorful paper and a beautiful big bow and the other is a brown shopping bag. Naturally, you’ll open the pretty one first, figuring that it holds the best present. Inside is a $5 bill, which is pretty good. Inside the brown paper bag, though, is a $100 bill waiting just for you. So you can’t tell the gift by its wrapping. Always look for the gift inside, regardless of what it looks like.” She tells the kids she meets that they hold that $100 bill inside themselves, waiting to be discovered.

Then she told me that she teaches children how to be the most popular kid at school. “If you see a new child, go talk to them. If you see a shy one, invite them to your table and introduce them to your friends. If someone is being bullied, stand up to the bullies and put your arm around the one being picked on. Give them the gift of your acceptance and protection. Invite all the misfits to your lunch table, and soon you’ll be the most popular kid in your school. My two nieces took my advice and each became Homecoming Queen two years in a row.”


All the while she softly spoke, Chee Chee looked me square in the eye.

The rainbow became so big, so double, it became surreal. I began to wonder if this woman was real, with her magic dog and angelic presence. We finished our conversation and when she hugged me goodbye I felt a warm sensation in my heart as real as my heartbeat itself.

If you know any children who are hurting, please share Kathy’s stories. Our most important job as adults is to offer hope to others who are losing theirs. Children are so vulnerable. The hurts they sustain often last a lifetime and can derail them from their life’s purpose. Reframing their situation as Kathy’s Dad did for her can bring them back from the brink.

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