Rhubarb is a dog who was part of a program at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary called the Guardian Angel Program. This program helps raise money for specific animals at Best Friends that have difficult and costly issues, mainly medical, but not all. Once a Guardian Angel, always a Guardian Angel, so even though Rhu has been adopted into the most wonderful family ever(!), he continues to have a fan club that follow his blog (see the link on the right side of this page to follow his blog).
I had the honor to spend quite a bit of time with Rhubarb and he touched my heart, well, like an angel. I have written about Rhubarb before because he is my inspiration to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. I am walking for Rhubarb, raising money into a fund for other animals at Best Friends that may not have it quite so rough as he did, but still need a little extra help. I am doing what he can't do, walking, because I just know that he would want to give back to the place that held out hope and took care of him, loved him and put him in the Guardian Angel program. Through those Guardian Angels he got all of the items he needed to keep him healthy and happy, including his quad cart. That publicity also led to his adoption.
He is very busy and famous in his new life, destroying toys, collecting admirers at dog parks and even supervising recording sessions, so imagine my surprise when he wrote about my walk in his blog! He DOES want to give back! He hasn't let the fame go to his head and would like to help those animals at Best Friends who need a little bit more than the rest, but aren't in the Guardian Angel program. However, I'm sure he wouldn't begrudge the use of his fund to somebody in the Guardian Angel program if they REALLY needed it, because he's just a good guy like that. What an Angel.
So, I've been trying to come up with a name for the fund. Rhubarb's mom has had a few suggestions, too, but nothing has seemed perfect. I don't want people to think the fund is FOR Rhubarb, because it's not. It's FROM him, in a way, so I'd like to put his name on it, but that's not necessary either.
Today, a friend commented that I would have an angel dog going with me on this trip. I don't think she even knew about Rhubarb or that I had dedicated this trip to him, so she might be psychic, but also it made me want to use the word Angel in the name. I know, maybe it shouldn't be such a big deal to name a fund, but if all goes well, I hope that donors are generous and there's a large fund that may even continue after my hike and could even be ongoing. I know, big aspirations, right? What's in a name anyway? So I looked up the definition of Angel and I'll list some of the ones that I think are appropriate to both Rhubarb and to any donors to the fund.
A few definitions of Angel:
1: a spiritual being superior to humans in power and intelligence (Rhubarb for SURE!)
2: an attendant spirit or guardian (Rhubarb for me on my hike as inspiration and motivation)
3: a person like an angel (as in looks or behavior)-any donors into the fund
4: one who aids or supports with money or influence
I'd also like to mention that there are people all along the Appalachian mountain range who help hikers out. They give them rides when they are hitchhiking in the rain, or don't even let them hitchhike, just stop and ask if they need a ride. They bring food and snacks and treats out onto the trail to share with hikers. They are out enjoying the mountains with no thoughts of being generous and when presented with a stinky, hungry hiker, they share their own food and cold drinks. They bring strange hikers into their homes to shower, sleep, do laundry and make them food. They donate money even, or encouragement, or advice based on experience hiking themselves. They are called Trail Angels.
I am walking the Appalachian Trail and I have already been blessed by Trail Angels and I think I may meet more when hiking. After I complete my hike, or even during my hike I'd like to be able to give back as well, to the trail, to other hikers, to pay it forward, just like Rhubarb is doing now. So the inspiration hit. I want to name the fund Rhubarb's Trail Angel Fund.
Here's a link to Rhubarb's blog about my journey. I hope you get to know him through his blog, because he is one amazing dog! A true angel who blesses everybody who meets him.