Kindest in the Valley: Recipient #03, Lizzie and Joanna Thoms
One of these things is not like the other.
Kindest in the Valley recipient #03 is a two-for-one package deal – one has four legs, fur, and a tail that wags non-stop, and the other has a smile and a heart that could change the world.
Lizzie Thoms is the prettiest little certified therapy dog, and her human, Joanna, is undoubtedly one of the kindest people in the Fox Valley.
When Lizzie isn’t digging holes or snuggling with her daddy, she spends her time volunteering in hospice, putting smiles on the patient’s faces. In fact, as I finished my “interview” with her and Joanna, Lizzie took charge and pulled her way back into the building as if she knew that there was still work to be done.
This furry friend was destined to be a therapy dog from the very beginning. When Joanna went through training to become a hospice volunteer, she learned about pet therapy, but didn’t have a dog at the time. Her daughter convinced her to get a dog, and Joanna agreed, under the condition that it could be trained as a therapy dog.
Now 8 years old, Lizzie has been volunteering her time as a therapy dog for most of her life – about 7 years! What a good girl. She recently took some time off to have a cancerous tumor removed, but she’s recovered and back to volunteering!
I asked Joanna a few more questions and here is what she had to say:
Using three words, how would you describe Lizzie?
“Sweet, gentle, and kind.”
These traits were apparent to me in my first two minutes with Lizzie! She was so calm, and she greeted me with a doggy smile and tail wag. *Heart melts*
Why do you volunteer?
“It’s just a calling. I feel compelled to volunteer.”
What inspires you to be so kind?
“That’s what God wants us to be. We’re put on this earth for each other.”
Tell me a crazy story/fact about yourself or Lizzie.
Joanna told me that Lizzie doesn’t bark… unless another dog is walking on “her” sidewalk in front of her house. One time, a patient had a wind-up toy dog that he set on the ground in front of Lizzie – Lizzie let out a bark and surprised everyone in the room!
Joanna proceeded to tell me about a time she was driving through a thunderstorm to visit her daughter. Lizzie was in the car with her, and she kept leaning over by Joanna and setting her nose on her lap – almost as if saying “it’s okay, I’m here with you”.
Ugh, dogs are the best, aren’t they?! Especially Lizzie girl – so cute, calm, thoughtful, and kind.
What makes you happy?
“My kids and volunteering!”
What message do you wish you could share with the world?
“Be kind, it’ll cure anything.”
“Also! Don’t litter!”
I’m with you, Joanna!
This sweet duo is making such a positive impact on our community. They both have a genuinely good heart and they’re doing their part to make the world a nicer place. Thank you, Joanna and Lizzie, for your kindness – it’s truly inspiring!