Judy and Kizzy
About five years ago at the famed Apple Fest in Warwick, NY on a gorgeous day in autumn, I unpacked my books in the publisher’s booth and looked right into the black eyes of a white curly haired dog. “He’s Kizzzy,” I heard someone say. That’s how Judy and I met and a friendship began. This was my first festival, crowded with vendors, music, craftsmen, and our author’s booth. A lot of firsts for me that day: first time author after years of acting, first time alone finding my way up to Warwick with heavy traffic, crazy directions and then to meet a therapy dog with a book written about him.
Judy and her husband Bob, a great team, drove up from Nyack, Kizzy in the back ready to perform his bag of tricks. What a charmer. We talked a lot between selling books, I sold sixteen. She explained what therapy dogs do, the arduous training involved, the tests and at last certification. Exchanging phone numbers, we agreed to meet again.
Friendship blossomed at the New City Diner on Rt. 304 where we met, had brunch and discussed another book about Kizzy from different viewpoints. She told me the story of how she and Bob found Kizzy. They wanted a rescue dog but there weren’t any available. Two days later, a call came in. A little male, shy and sad, maybe abused or kept tied up since he didn’t play with the other puppies. They drove over to check him out. There were five or six puppies running around. The white Bichon Frise sat in a corner. Judy reached out with her hand and called to him. He ran right into her heart.
Bob said, “It must have been Kismet.” So they named him Kizzy. Alert and bright as if he knew he was going home, he ran all over the house and yard claiming it for his own. Judy’s mom lived with them. She’d had a stroke and hadn’t spoken or used her right arm since then. Kizzy jumped up on Grandmother’s bed, snuggled up to her and she patted him with the hand that had lain still for too long. And then she found her voice. All this happened because a sad little dog with a special talent found a good home.
I never knew about therapy dogs. We needed to tell another story about this special pet. Meanwhile I wrote another book, To Be Continued, had a contract with a terrific publisher Vanilla Heart and Judy and I kept thinking about a Kizzy story. I would write it with her input.
Judy is a born leader, a coordinator of whatever needs to be accomplished. A request from West Point. They wanted a Warriors in Transition program and needed a coordinator. Judy offered to organize the complex West Point /Red Cross program. Post Traumatic Disorder returnees housed at West Point would benefit. Special needs children of deployed soldiers are in an ongoing program. De-stress for Cadets is another program developed by thinking out of the box . During the stress of finals, cadets could benefit from therapy dogs. From the smiles on their faces in the pictures, it works. After observing the West Point Hudson Valley Paws for a Cause in action, the American Red Cross in New Jersey announced they will begin a similar program.
Is it any wonder I consider Judy Audevard to be remarkable? Thanks for joining me in a tribute to a good friend.
P.S. I’m writing a new story about mature love, lost and found with a therapy dog named Kizzy as a leading character. The title is Young at Heart. It’s the second in a series. The first, Instant Grandpa, was just released this week and featured in USA Today in the Happy Ever After section.