I first began my System Leadership Journey as the District Principal of Elementary School Improvement in 2008. At the time, I worked with a Superintendent named Gale Sherin who was close to retirement. Gale taught me many things about the system and about curriculum. But I learned about relationships from her dog, Clancey.
As Gale was getting ready to retire from our district, she mentioned that the last thing she needed to do was find a home for her dog because he was getting older and didn’t love car rides. She knew he wouldn’t make the trip to Florida two times per year that she and her husband were playing on making during thier retirement.
So, our family stepped in. We had said good-bye to our Zinnia, a free fruit stand dog (that’s another story) earlier in the year and had just started talking about finding a new family dog. Well, once I heard Clancey’s story I was gone.
Clancey was born on October 16 2002. He went to his first family in December of 2002. This family lived in the home that Gale and her husband eventually bought. He lived with his first family until they decided to leave their home on the lake. In stepped Gale to buy this lake house. Part of the deal was that the dog of the house, Clancey would come along with the house. Kind of like a package deal. Gale and her husband lived in the home with Clancey for many years. I know that Gale’s neighbour and children had a warm spot in their heart for Clancey, who they had known now through two owners, and regularly walked him and played with him. Clancey had good people in his life.
When Gale chose to retire, our family stepped in. We visited Clancey in his home, tried him out for a day in our home and then took the plunge to have him become ours. I remember Gale telling me a few things about Clancey before he became ours for keeps:
1) He doesn’t like cats ( we had 3 cats)
2) He doesn’t like blankets.
3) He doesn’t particularly like men.
Clancey has now been since November of 2008. We have become his forever family. He has taught us so much about loyalty and loving the people who are good to you, who feed you, who love you, who throw a stick your way. From day 1 Clancey was willing to get to know our 3 cats, Hunter, Charlie and Ned Schneebly. They have become friends and there are days that we arrive home from our learning journies to find the 4 of them all laying on the same blanket or carpet. And since day 1 Clancey has been Tom, my husband’s loyal companion. If Tom is in the room, Clancey’s eyes are on him. They are loyal companions to each other.
So what is the definition of loyalty:
the quality of being loyal to someone or something.“her loyalty to her husband of 34 years”
I can truly say that Clancey has taught us about loyalty. About feeling supported and having a strong allegiance to someone. Even though we weren’t his first family, he is our most loved dog. He may be getting older (he just turned 12 last month) but he still loves to fetch sticks, go for a swim at the Port Sydney dam, tear apart his “babies” and walk on our trails.
He has taught us a lot about relationships, loyalty and being a family. I am so thankful that he came into our lives.