GAZELLE MAGAZINE Vol. 1 Issue 3. - Page 61

and yes, indeed, he meant what he said. Cillah and I “performed” 11 or 12 takes, barefooted. It was a little difficult to walk breezily through the scene without shoes. But we managed to pull it off. We think. Of course, one of the highlights was meeting Marshall himself, who walked onto the set without an arrogant bone in his body. You would never know he was a celebrity – the movie’s namesake – as he greeted guests of all ages, genders, shapes and sizes with the same kindness and acceptance as any regular dog on the street might have. But then again, just that sort of gentle, tolerant behavior is what Marshall and his owner, Cyndi Willenbrock, a producer for Marshall the Miracle Dog and author of the book of the same name, have been striving to spread through talks and visits to countless schools since they joined forces three years ago. It takes a kind and compassionate person to “take on” an adult special needs dog. But Cyndi knew when she began searching for a companion for her black Labrador retriever, Mooshy, that she wanted a rescue dog. Little did she know how much they would change each other’s lives. “He had healed physically, but not emotionally,” Cyndi said. “He had nightmares, he howled and ‘ran’ in his sleep. “I soothed him, and in my own mind, I knew I had to forgive the hoarder for what she had done,” she said. “His distress also tapped into my own insecurities, making me wonder if I had what it takes to care for a special needs dog. It took a lot of prayer.” One night, it occurred to her that Marshall was not that different than she was. Growing up, she had times when she felt lonely and was even bullied by other children, and journaling had always helped her. Maybe it would work for him, too. “I said, ‘Buddy, what if I write down your story, and tell others about what happened?’” Cyndi said. “I kept thinking that Dr. Schwartz had said this dog had a purpose, so I wrote his story, and I knew it was meant to teach others about empathy and forgiveness.” Marshall has been trained as a therapy dog and has helped countless people of all ages, from small children to senior citizens. Something about his gentleness even in the face of his obvious injuries, is inspiring and heart warming. She printed the story in book form, at first thinking she would print only a few copies, but then a screenwriter contacted her who had gotten ahold of one of them. “It took him a year to become certified. Because of his expe ɥ