Rev. Tanya Eustace, PhD in Christian Education & Congregational Studies
Director, Children & Intergenerational Ministries
GBOD/The United Methodist Church
Below is an update on Bela, the Four-Footed Minister who has moved with her human counterpart to a new position in Nashville, TN.
"Our move/transition has gone well. Bela and I have officially been here for a little over a month. It was rough going at the beginning as Bela was extremely anxious, not wanting to leave my side and hiding behind my legs when we would go out to meet people (aka we went to visit her new doggy day care, vet, and trainer). However, the vet prescribed a pheromone collar for her to wear and that seemed to help. In a week she was back to her friendly self. She still doesn’t like the grass here in Nashville so trying to get her to go potty is difficult. We do have an amazing park that is 3 miles from our house so we are enjoying the trails together. Since she is now one she is able to go with me on short runs in the morning which is super fun for me- I’ve missed having a running buddy.
As for me- I’m still taking it one day at a time. I love my new job. I’m sad that Bela no longer is able to come with me to work. I miss her terribly during the day. Luckily, Bela LOVES her dog walker Bernie (when I interviewed her Bela climbed into her lap and fell asleep) who tracks all their walks with map my fitness and takes notes throughout the visit so I am able to see what they are doing while I’m at work. Bela also has grown to LOVE her doggy day care- she goes twice a week and plays with all her friends, swims in a pool, enjoys lunch and a nap, and has tons of fun climbing on their playground. The “Belmont Pet Resort” has a webcam so I’m able to watch Bela throughout the day when she’s there (Tues/Thur/and when I’m traveling) so it helps me feel a little connected to her while I’m off at work. I know she’s in good hands. I’ve attached a picture they sent me when I was traveling last week it’s of her playing with all her friends in day care.
Our new trainer, Kat, has been awarded best trainer in Nashville for several years in a row and we LOVE her too. We are currently enrolled in a Behavior Manners class which at the end of 8 weeks will conclude with the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. Keep your fingers crossed as this is our next step towards therapy dog certification/registration. Bela seems to be doing well with the preparations. I’m still considering returning to Chicago to attend the November Pet Partners orientation class and have Bela tested there as I really want to become affiliated with them. Unfortunately I have not found a pet partner’s certified test instructor here in Nashville. So that’s a bit of an unknown…Once Bela is certified/registered (she has the pretty black/white face)
and I have been here awhile I plan to ask for permission for Bela to come to work with me a few times a week. I am also looking into volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and hope once Bela’s certified she’ll be able to join me there too.
Nashville is ok- it’s hard to get around but with my gps I’m beginning to find my way without too much trouble. We’ve also connected with another owner who invited us to their home (they have lots of land and a creek)….. So needless to say- it’s not Chicago but Bela and I never cease to have fun :). Sending our best,
Tanya and Bella