Monday, June 3, 2013

A kind and generous man

The world lost a kind heart last night. Paul Schmidt and I were on the founding board of directors for Springer Spaniel Rescue for years. We didn't always agree on direction but that was mainly because he wanted to save every dog and I knew that wasn't possible. He sure tried to talk me into it, though, God bless him.

Two years ago there was a tribute to him that I could not attend and I was asked to write a little something that would be shared with Paul during the event. In honor of Paul and the great work he did, I'd like to share it with you. 

God speed, Paul. And may you be covered in Springer kisses as I write this post.

When I think of Paul, I think of him with a Springer on his lap, one at his feet, and another having his belly rubbed. Paul's love for all animals shines through in every interaction where fur is involved.

All of the Springers rescued over the years are Paul's dogs. He makes no differentiation between those who live permanently in his home, and those whose homes were found through Rescue. I've seen his heart broken when one of the Springers he's worked so hard to help has passed. But I've also seen many times when his eyes light up like stars on a clear night when he talks about the ones that made it.

His devotion to NEESSR has been evident from the first board meeting we held in 2002. We were on our way to becoming an official non-profit and we were all so excited for the future. Paul stepped up to be an officer and continued to serve in whatever role the organization needed from that moment on.

Paul's enthusiasm for and dedication to the emotionally exhausting work that is Rescue extended beyond work with animals. Paul didn't just rescue dogs, he rescued people too. His unselfishness and generosity to help a long-time Rescue volunteer when she had nowhere else to turn was and is one of the greatest acts of kindness that he performed as part of Rescue.

Paul, I wish for you many more years of a happy and healthy life. You've earned every day of it. But when the time comes, as it does for us all, know that there will be a mob of wagging tails and smiling Springer faces to greet you at the bridge. And they will thank you, as I am now, for your work of love.