As he boisterously bounced around the back seat, while ‘yellow submarine’ played on the radio, after a well documented history of abuse, Bandit was on the way to his new home. It was a something he’d always been deprived of, but he would finally have the chance to become the family dog he was meant to be. After a failed first effort (this was the second time taking him home), Bandit was given another opportunity, but for his owners, it didn’t come without a fight.
His scarred past had left him fearful beyond measure, a fear that could manifest itself in the form of barking, or perceived aggression towards anyone or anything triggering thoughts of his past. That’s exactly what happened when he first went home. Accidentally getting out the front when briefly left open, unfortunate timing had a stranger walking up the driveway. Surprised and uncertain, his fear immediately surfaced. He didn’t bite anyone, he didn’t hurt anyone, and albeit defensively, he did act out loudly, concerning a few who watched. Upon that being reported to those who put him up for adoption, Bandit was taken back to the shelter from which he came.
This time, he was denied interaction with other animals and put in quarantine for two weeks while his fate was determined. He wasn’t even allowed a visitor, whereas just two days earlier, he was in a home cuddling and kissing his owners incessantly. He must have wondered what he had done wrong and felt the deep sense sadness being rejected yet again; it would have been a familiar feeling. His new family wanted desperately to see him, just to let him know they cared and it wasn’t his fault. They couldn’t and Bandit’s story could easily have ended there. Fortunately it didn’t.
It took a lengthy battle and the resolve of one key staff member who believed in him, but Bandit was ultimately rescued – this time for good! Today he welcomes guests into his home and his friends (both canine and human alike) welcome him as he runs to greet them at his favorite dog park. If he’s not playfully chasing or being chased by other dogs, he’ll play lacrosse for hours. Everything he is today was always there; it just took some effort and seeing through the surface to bring it out.
Bandit’s not unlike a lot of clients I assist as a Financial Advisor, assisting many who have ‘special needs’, or are among the more fragile in our community. I have the wonderful privilege of working with many families (parents and siblings) who pour into the life of someone who might otherwise be (and often is) rejected by society at large. At large, they’re often ostracized, marginalized and frowned upon by many, but because of that special person who sees their value, life can change. To see them flourish and witness the joy they bring to their family and others, is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. That’s the good news; the bad news is that many never have that experience. If nobody else believes in them, how can they possibly believe in themselves?
My job is pretty straightforward, I simply invest the time necessary to offer the best financial future they and their family can hope for. I also inevitably see the drastic difference between one who does or does not have the support of others. Anyone can make a difference in their lives. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting over the initial discomfort of seeing someone as ‘different’ and taking the time to understand who they really are. You might be surprised. You might even have the experience of seeing not only what it does for them, but the impact it has on you. So if you haven’t already, but the opportunity presents itself, get to know the ‘Bandit’ in your life.
If you want to know more about what I do or if you think someone would benefit from my help, please visit my website at www.homeoftherdsp.ca
I don’t really know what Bruce Cockburn meant when he wrote that song, but I do know that I too have a tendency to let my mind wander and simply drift into a different world, one better perhaps than the one in front of me. I don’t even have a reason to escape, because quite frankly, all things considered, I’m one whose life has been blessed in many ways. Yet escape I do. I may have no particular interest in where a certain lion may be, but I will wonder about many things and how they might have been different.
What if my sister, as a gifted and beautiful young woman in her late teens, didn’t become ill and fulfilled the potential (or even half of it) that lay ahead of her? I can’t help but wonder how different her life might look today. Or, what if my brother, who in his last year of junior hockey was an Eastern Conference all-star center (with the next center below him that year eventually going on to gain notoriety wearing number ‘99’) hadn’t also become ill, losing all hope and interest of ever pursing the promise that was ahead of him? Why did I become the only one amongst my siblings who didn’t develop Schizophrenia? The answer to that one is actually pretty simple, given that it’s an illness often affecting those with a high degree of intelligence. It’s been suggested to me that I escaped simply as a result of being the dummy of the family. With respect to my brother and sister, I don’t say this to diminish the value of the life they both have, quite the contrary actually. They’ve shown more courage, faith and acceptance than pretty well anybody I know. But the fact of the matter is, it’s been difficult for them and it’s easy to wish it didn’t have to be that way.