Clue Noble had raised six German Shepherds so her adult children unanimously agreed that the perfect gift of joy for their mom was another adorable German Shepard puppy! Unfortunately, what they actually gave Clue was an incorrigible German Shepard puppy who turned Clue's life so completely upside down that her children not only told her to relinquish the dog, but its breeder also urged Clue to return the dog. "He was totally incorrigible, just the naughtiest puppy I'd ever had. He's a rascal."
Flash forward and today Clue and Kekoa (“the brave one” in Hawaiian) are a pet therapy team absolutely beloved throughout Noble. Every Tuesday this 100+ pound, tall as a small horse dog happily arrives with Clue to spread joy across the Noble campus, stopping by the cafe, fitness room, nurses’ station, activity rooms, elevators, halls and of course, resident rooms.
How did this stunning transformation occur? "As naughty as Kekoa was at home, he was the star of every obedience and puppy training class, mastering every command before any other puppy in class," Clue marveled. While he continued to terrorize Clue, chewing up and shredding everything he could wrap his mouth around, including tree branches, flowers, washcloths, stones and Kleenex stashed in coat pockets, he remained the best-behaved puppy in school. "I'd always trained my own dogs," Clue stressed, but when home life with Kekoa became unbearable, she asked the trainer to work with Kekoa in her home. It wasn't long before the trainer figured out the problem, "German Shepherds were originally bred to herd sheep; they are highly intelligent," Clue explained. The trainer's solution: Kekoa needed a job!
Off they went to Canine Link pet therapy classes where yet again "Kekoa was the absolute star; the trainer used him for demonstration for other dogs!" He easily passed the class, and it was decided that Kekoa should visit peaceful places that wouldn't trigger his high-energy instincts. "Going to a school with high-energy children would mean Kekoa and the children would be off the wall. We chose Noble where everyone is peaceful."
Kekoa and Clue's visits are cherished each Tuesday; "Kekoa understands why he is here," Clue reflected on a recent visit. "The residents really enjoy his visits. When they see us coming, they stop to pat him, talk to him. The day they were making blueberry muffins they deliberately dropped batter on the floor for Kekoa to lap up! He makes people very happy; in fact, some residents will tell me that when they were children, they had German Shepherds."
Despite an early career as a cancer researcher at Harvard, and later as an interior designer, volunteering has been a way of life for Clue. In fact, in Westchester, where she used to live, she was recognized by the New York State Senate with a proclamation of Clue Noble Day! Her contributions to Noble began two decades ago as a member of the Community Relations Committee which launched the very popular Fall Festival Chili Cook-Off.
It comes as no surprise that when asked why she and Kekoa volunteer, Clue thoughtfully replied, "I really enjoy making people smile. Kekoa brings joy to the people we visit." Indeed, from incorrigible to adorable… very lovable should be added, too!