Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Use Crying Over Spilled Water

There is a girl at work who is very special to Ross, and to whom Ross is very special (see Ross' Stunt Double). As an adolescent, she suffers from extreme psychosis and is virtually nonverbal. When she does speak, it is frequently incomprehensible. She is often agitated by her internal stimuli, and it can be difficult to calm her with all of the tricks up our professional sleeves. The one consistent magic trick: Ross! She loves Ross, follows directions about treating him nicely, and is so soothed by him, that she frequently falls asleep while cuddling with and petting him.

Today's visit started off as usual: Ross made a bee-line straight for her. She immediately approached him and began to pet him gently. She then tried to pick him up (which she used to be able to do when he wasn't quite so big), but set him down when reminded that he had grown and was too big to be picked up. When asked if she wanted him to sit with her, she replied, "yes." And so, she sat down and Ross curled around her, resting his head next to her lap. She silently pet him and sipped on a cup of ice water. I watched as she ignored staff as they asked her questions, dropped her head, and closed her eyes, while cuddling with Ross' head in her lap (which she made a point of positioning there).

As she napped with Ross in her lap on my left, I began talking to another girl, sitting on my right side. As I asked the girl on my right why she was pouring water on the floor, I saw something out of the corner of my left eye: the girl on my left (who had just been asleep) was pouring her water on Ross' head! Ross bounced up, startled by the sudden drench of water all over his head. We got up, and moved to another area. The girl who had been on my right moved with us, and asked to cuddle with Ross. Ross cuddled up with her as staff got a towel for us. She then helped me dry Ross' head, and he quickly settled into her lap as if nothing had happened. The first girl then came over and started petting Ross again. He accepted her without issue.

It's unclear whether she poured the water on him on purpose, but what was clear was how resilient and forgiving Ross is. I have no doubts that he will be just as happy to see her next time, but I might advise that the water be elsewhere...

1 comment:

2 labs 4 me said...

I love reading all your stories about Ross. What an amazing dog!! I forget that he's a guide dog in training & not a therapy dog. Thanks for sharing your touching experiences with these kids & Ross.