When I began writing for the Nevada Appeal in 2008, my first big assignment was a sendoff story about Warren Wish.
My first go-round with the Appeal was as a freelancer. Wish, a long time counselor retiring from Eagle Valley Middle School back then, also trained service dogs and continued doing so after leaving public education employment. He still does.
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog,” Mark Twain wrote a long time before either Wish or your scrivener showed in these parts.
Loosely interpreted, that quote captures attitudes of both Warren Wish and this columnist. Not that we’re pugnacious, of course, but we aren’t interested in fading into the background by any means. We’re fighters in that sense.
As Wish put it back then, he was retooling instead of retiring.
Wish told me he would change emphasis regarding what he did with his time. A while later, he and my brother Tony — then a teacher in Illinois — were at an educators’ conference, and they met there.
Even later, Tony sent me an article on Wish that had appeared in NEA Today, the magazine of the National Education Association.
Called “Travels with Jordie,” the article featured the former counselor and his therapy dog of that name.
“In Carson City,” according to the magazine mainly for teachers, “Wish and Jordie have become an indispensable part of the local ‘Love on a Leash’ program, which brings the duo into hospitals and assisted living centers on a weekly basis.”
Wish and Jordie also participated in a monthly reading program at the library pairing dogs with kids who need a reading companion.
Chatting with Wish last week, I learned he and Jodie still do both, and he has a new therapy puppy named Edsel he also is training. He has stayed active in NEA, puppies’ training, and three years back was a substitute counselor.
Wish served as NEA Nevada retirement group president for years. He still works with guide dog puppies every Monday evening and still attends meetings of the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) board monthly as an observer for NEA.
The article I wrote for the Appeal, which was published on June 2, 2008, was among my favorites. Wish is exemplary of Carson City’s super citizenry.
My intention, in a small way, is to follow in his footsteps after spending the past three years full time with the Appeal and following more than four decades in media work, other private sector pursuits, and some stints in government.
The Appeal gig was great, while the career was a super ride mostly in the news business. As I leave the Appeal next Friday, a dog is in my future, plus other matters.
My wife, Jean, and I soon will bring a Rhodesian Ridgeback into our home and name the puppy Dodi. Interacting with Dodi won’t be all we do, but it will be among various joys to come after a brief pause that refreshes.
Many thanks to you all, again, for reading my Appeal articles and for joining me for this Scene in Passing, which is passing. Now let me bow out sharing another insight from Mark Twain: “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”
John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at email@example.com.