Jim is a veteran who fought heroically in World War II. He was wounded in battle three times. After the war, he came to Canada from England and he worked for many years. But he also started the Saint John Ambulance Therapy Dog Movement in Canada in the 1950s. An animal lover like no other, Jim helped many dog owners train their best friends so that they could provide joy and love to those in hospitals and nursing homes. Jim volunteered countless hours to this unselfish cause and he made a huge difference in the life of others. Jim inspired many to develop the human animal bod to the fullest and to help people heal through the magic of interaction with dogs.
Jim was speaking with his friend, Dave about an experience he had with a lion cub that was being fostered in a nearby home. Jim looked at Dave's photographs and said with a dreamy look on his face "I'd love to touch a lion". Dave approached a local zoo and conservation centre and told them the story about this true hero and his dream to meet a lion. The zoo staff were touched by Jim's love for animals and his contribution to his country and to his community. They invited him to their facility and promised to give him a memorable experience.
Dave had no idea what was in store for Jim, but he and his wife, Kristy brought Jim to the facility and introduced him to the staff. For a full two hours, Jim was introduced to lions, lion cubs, and a tiger cub and allowed to pet them and hold them. Tears rolled down his face, and down the faces of the people watching Jim as he interacted with the animals. They responded to him like he was an old friend, proving that animals sense a good person when they meet one. This lion in particular, gave Jim the warmest welcome by wrapping its huge paws around him in a heart warming hug.
After Jim handed the cubs back and said goodbye to the zoo staff, they shook his hand and gave him a genuine thank you for his service and his contribution to their freedom. Jim was touched to be given such a gift as well as such a genuine display of respect and gratitude. More tears flowed as he told Dave and Kristy that this was a day that he would never forget. Kristy took pictures and had them enlarged the very same day so that Jim could have a photo album to show his friends at the retirement residence where he lived.
Sadly, Jim became very ill a few months later. His last conversation with Dave and Kristy was of the day with the the lions and how memorable the meeting was. Hopefully, staff at the zoo understood what a generous gift they had given to one of the most deserving souls who ever lived.