If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 1,000 times: Market America is about people.
People, people, people.
People are who the company supports. That’s the target audience, the target customer base, the target for new distributorships and the target for growing success. People, you could say, are the seed, the plant, the grain, the flower … the whole garden. That’s what we’re here for.
Well, not so fast. Scan the company’s website, as I did recently, and you can find yourself confronted with another class of workers who are dedicated, work for kibble and provide all of those warm and fuzzy intangible benefits that make them a best friend, a lifelong companion and, on top of that, the Employee of the Month.
Yes, we’re talking service dogs, which are just one of the prized focuses of Market America’s charitable contributions. The purpose of the program, called maCares Service Dog Support, is to cover the cost of service dog training and care for those with medical conditions that require support from a service animal. The company, according to the website, covers re-certification training, veterinary bills and medication, grooming costs and daily care, including food for these dedicated animals.
While a variety of pets serve as healing companions for many, the program is focused on those harnessed workers, invariably described as four legs, a tail, a wet nose, handsome, kind and loyal to a fault. These working canines are among the most rewarding of workers who provide so much more than the physical, tangible act of guiding a person across the street, because, they are, well, dogs.
And who doesn’t love dogs? Or, to put that more delicately, if you are someone who loves dogs, you are apt to be someone who cherishes them, as well. After all, they represent what a perfect relationship might be. They keep their own counsel. They are loyal and cute. But most importantly, they are so non-judgmental that they actually mirror the vibe that their owner’s give out. If you are happy, your dog is apt to be in a good mood. If you are sad, they are generally subdued and gentle. They may even put their head in your lap or give you a cold nudge with their noses to get you through a slump. But their reflective nature that is available with their unbiased dogma (sorry for that, I couldn’t resist) make them, if you will, emotional mirrors without baggage. That, to me, is a perfect friend.
This isn’t about a dog, but I remember a time my son was in grief over a difficult loss and I went in to talk to him. At a glance, I realized there were no words that could help him out, so I backed out of the room and went to fetch his pet bunny (name of Wink). I picked up the friendly rabbit and put him in my son’s lap and walked away without a word. If healing is a process, animals are great facilitators, not rushing anyone, but gently reminding you that life goes on. People are so addicted to words when we try to help someone in grief our egos always get in the way. Time, silence, breath in, breath out. Life is a process. Wink in his silence seemed to understand that.
Now back to those wag-tail types. The Market America website already sums up the program in the most effective manner that it possibly could by introducing you to various program recipients, who are posing in pictures with their photographic, furry friends. One after another, your heart will soar with wonder and joy considering the enormous benefits these working dogs provide.
The website introduces you to Brittany, described as “the first nonveteran to be welcomed into the maCares Service Dog Support Program!” This young woman suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, which also goes by the name of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Among its numerous manifestations, this condition has forced Brittany to use a wheelchair or walk with crutches. She has also lost “certain sensations” in her hands, such as the ability to distinguish hot and cold or sharp versus dull.
Then you are introduced to Griffin – by looks a light tan golden retriever with a doleful look on her (or maybe his, it’s hard to say) face.
Among Griffin’s tasks are to help Brittany negotiate her travels by giving her support, fetching items she may have dropped and even running for help when she falls. More than that, Griffin is a joy who is able to provider Brittany with a focus that distracts her from her pain.
And then there’s Maggie, the first youth to be welcomed into the program. Maggie has Type 1 diabetes and relies on Sugar with a capital S, as it is the name of her service dog, a concerned looking black Labrador retriever, at least by looks in the photo.
Sugar is more than a companion. This Employee of the Month has actually saved Maggie’s life “multiple times,” the write up says. She does this on occasion by actually signaling to Maggie when her blood sugar is dangerously high. Bordering on miraculous, on one occasion, Sugar “detected Maggie’s low blood sugar, while Sugar was at home and Maggie was at school!”
And you thought Lassie was cool!
Then we met Dustin, a former first responder who relies on Tahoe to salve his many symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder, which causes headaches, dizziness, night terrors, muscle aches. Talk about a sixth sense, Tahoe even wakes Dustin up when sensing a he is about to enter a severe nightmare experience.
Finally, we are introduced to Wyatt and Hundley. The former is a nine-year-old with Attention Deficit-Hyperactive Disorder and two other anxiety-oriented psychiatric conditions. The later is a very clownish looking woofer with a goofy nose in front of a terrible case of floppy hair. Hundley’s comical appearance, generous personality, and oversized paws help Wyatt through the rough times. When Wyatt’s anxiety builds, Hundley goes to his side and lifts a paw to make physical contact with the youngster, attempting to remind him to stay centered and keep his human feet on the ground. Hundley’s mop of hair “serves as a tactile response,” for her sensitive owner, a delightful reminder that each of our senses can be used to connects us to others.