Our beloved Oreo Cookie let us know that after 17 years he was ready to go across the rainbow bridge and so we helped him with his decision.We used "Lap of Love," a veterinary hospice practice that provides in home euthanasia. It was such a beautiful, peaceful, loving experience! Our other two dogs, Cinnamon and Candy were also present and had the chance to say goodbye as well. What a gift for all of us!
For the rest of the day, I took some quiet time to honor Oreo and reflect on how he has enriched all of our lives. He has certainly been an integral part of Shirat Shalom since the very beginning! As a six month old puppy he participated in our very first Friday evening service which met in our home. I don't remember how he behaved that night but I do remember that he was always the star attraction when anyone came to the house! He especially loved "assisting" during lessons for the B'nai Mitzvah students. He would sit right next to each student on the couch and would guard their notebooks! And yes, if some papers were left out they might get eaten! Oreo was teaching the students to be organized and put things away! B'nai Mitzvah rehearsals meant legs would be licked! I would of course stop him but most families would tell me, "He is fine!" I guess Oreo was preparing the students for all the "people" kisses they would receive at their ceremonies!
Oreo had many ways of teaching our students! When he was almost two years old we figured in dog years he was close to 13 and had a "Bark Mitzvah" for him on the last day of Hebrew School. All of the students brought gifts and his best dog friends were invited as well! We put him on a pillow, lifted him in the air and sang "Siman Tov and Mazel Tov!" Some of those students still remember Oreo's Bark Mitzvah! Recognize anyone?
Oreo Cookie also taught many students the aleph bet! In the beginning years when the K-2nd graders would meet at Miss Susan's house, Oreo would point to the letters with his paw during the aleph-bet song. After class his favorite trick was to run out the door when parents would come to pick up the children. I guess he thought this all added to the fun of Hebrew School! After the younger grades were also moved to Loggers' Run Middle School, Oreo missed his students but he never forgot them! He would always be overjoyed when he would have the opportunity to meet a former student!
Five years ago when Oreo had emergency surgery and ended up having a kidney taken out it seemed his teaching career was over. We had taken him home hoping he would improve but after a week he still wasn't responding to us or eating. We began preparing ourselves to say goodbye. But it seems that Oreo still had more to teach and that included me as well!
Each week during Hebrew school when we practice the prayers for lighting the candles we have a ritual of "sending Light" for people, animals and places in the world in need of healing. This particular night I asked the students to focus on Oreo who was home with Susan. We sent out our group prayer of Light at 7:10 p.m. At 7:20 p.m. he all of a sudden perked up, lifted his head and went over to his food dish to eat! A few weeks later he went to school to personally thank the children!
I truly learned about the power of prayer that night and the power of our amazing Hebrew School children! Each year I re-tell this story to our students. And the ones that heard it before... well, they never get tired of hearing it.
Thank you Oreo Cookie for teaching us so many lessons, for being a master teacher! Know that your legacy lives on for your students are busy changing our world!
And the Love you have given to each one of us, the Love we have for you...that Love is forever....
Oreo with one of his students October 2012
Oreo Cookie 5/17/98 - 7/19/15