Friday, October 24, 2008

The Drill

Last week, I took Ross with me to respond to a page. When we entered the building, Ross' favorite girl (the one who suffers from severe psychosis) greeted him at the door of the family room. She immediately came up to Ross and began petting him, and firmly stated, "My dog!" Ross laid down on the floor, and she sat and petted him calmly. At one point, she laid down on the floor with him, closely inspecting his ears (she is fascinated with all of the folds inside his ears and requires reminders to be gentle as she pokes inquisitively) and cuddling with him. Later, she sat down, and Ross laid his head in her lap. She gently stroked his head, and appeared to be falling asleep. Another staff member commented on this, and she responded by yelling and swearing at him nonsensically. Ross just sat there, with his head in her lap, not minding her yelling. She then pretended like she was crying, only we didn't realize she was crying. Ross lifted his head, and looked at her with concern. When the staff member asked her why she was crying, she stared at him with wide eyes and cackled that she wasn't crying. After she settled back down, Ross laid back down and started snoring, his eyes still wide open, as she gently stroked his head some more.

Needing to go to a meeting, I cued her to tell Ross "goodbye" and told her we would be back to visit later. Ross looked at me with frustration as he was just getting ready to nap, but like a good Guide Dog puppy, popped right up and off we went.

About a half hour later, we reentered the building for another meeting. Shortly after entering the building, the fire alarm went off. Ross' girl was now hanging out with a different staff member in the family room. The staff member asked what we should do, as the girl tends to bolt towards the street when outside the building, and requires a great deal of supervision. I directed two staff to walk her out, giving directions to follow Ross, as this works really well to get her to cooperatively go where we need her to. As we walked out the building, she calmly followed Ross, staff on each side, Ross and me in the lead. As we walked away from the building, Ross lagged on the leash, waiting for her and continuously looking behind him to make sure she was following. He was very concerned about ensuring her safety, never phased by the high pitched sound of the fire alarm, only by a sense that she needed someone to watch over her. As we sat down on a bench outside, Ross again laid his head in her lap, and she gently stroked it as we waited to reenter the building. Upon the "all clear" we headed back inside, Ross again leading. This time he didn't lag. He confidently led her back into the building and said goodbye at the family room door, where he knew she was safe.


Anna W. said...

What a sweet little man you have!!

Natalie said...

I've been reading your blog for a long time and haven't commented yet, but I just had to comment on this one- Ross is one amazing dog. His sensitivity to the kids and how he always knows what to do just blows my mind....Good job Ross!!