Yesterday Louie and I went on two therapy jobs. First we went to Easter Seals to visit the children that are residents there. It was Louie's first time at this facility and was a bit more challenging than his first therapy jobs because there were other dogs around this time. Since Louie is an unneutered male teenage dog he is really into posturing these days and wants to make sure that all other male dogs know he is the biggest and baddest boy in the land. He has never been aggressive...not even so much as a lip curl, but he loves to stare other dogs down. I didn't let him visit with any of the other dogs and tried to keep him focused on the kids. He wasn't perfect but I will give him an A-...pretty good for his first attempt.
He did get lots bonus points in my eyes for his interaction with people. One little girl in particular who was about 9 years old. She was in a wheelchair and wasn't able to speak, but she could use her hands. I asked her if she liked dogs and although she could not answer she didn't seem at all afraid. I let Louie slowly approach and he went up and sniffed her face and gave her a couple of sweet little kisses. Her face broke into the most beautiful smile. Her hands went to the top of his head and then her grin got even bigger. I could see that she really loved the feel of Louie's soft fur. She wanted to keep him close to her and a few times she grasped and pulled on his fur a bit. I showed her how to gently pet a dog and she did very well. I was mainly showing her for her future interaction with any dogs. Louie didn't show any sign of protest when she was tugging on him. He just remained his sweet gentle giant self. The little girl petted him several more times before we left and preferred him over the other dogs.
Next we went to the Arkansas Hospice Inpatient Center where Louie brought smiles to more faces. There he had what I think was the most touching interaction I have witnessed so far during my 35 total visits with Katie and Louie. An elderly woman was sitting in a wheelchair in the hallway. I approached and asked if she likes dogs. She responded, but it was unintelligible. Like the little girl she didn't seem afraid so I let Louie approach her. He gave her kisses also and her face lit up. She tried to talk to me, but she was having a difficult time forming her sentences. After we visited some other patients we stopped by to see her again and of course Louie went in for more kisses. With great effort she clearly said "Those are the best kisses I've had in my whole life". It made me so happy to see the joy on her face. Louie is turning out to be a fantastic therapy dog for lots of patients and for me!
from: Sue Golden
1 year ago