Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just What You Need


I continue to be amazed by Ross' change in demeanor for each child he interacts with.

One very quiet, but aggressive, girl has visits with Ross on her list of coping skills to utilize when she feels herself start to become upset. When she senses it, or staff notice it, they call or page me to see if I am available to bring Ross for a visit. Ross is much more sedate with this girl than with any other child. She startles easily and reacts severely, and he must sense her need for calmness. He simply sits with her. Sometimes he will give her a kiss, but it is rare. Mostly, he just sits.

On Monday, he sat with her while we chatted. For the most part, he sat next to her, or laid on the floor nearby as we talked about his eat tattoos, lack of armpit hair, dew claws, and foot pads. She found it all very interesting, though Ross was not impressed, as he's heard it all before. At one point, Ross scooted onto her lap, sitting like a person in a chair on her kneeling legs. After a while, he slumped to the floor, and eventually laid next to her, snoring as he rested his head on her leg. 

When one of the boys came to say "hi" to him, he rolled over on his back, and licked the boy wildly - instantly changing his demeanor when the boy arrived. The boy laughed and Ross continued licking him playfully. 

When the boy left, Ross returned to his post next to the girl. Sitting, calmly, one single small kiss offered as a goodbye.

On Tuesday, we went to visit the girl again. This time, a number of other clients wanted to visit with Ross as well. Again, Ross sat quietly next to the girl, his tongue securely in his mouth. A new girl timidly approached, having never met Ross before. Ross sniffed her and sat, gazing at her calmly, offering himself if she chose. 

When the boys arrived, he rolled on his back, lavishing the belly rubs and covering their faces in kisses. When they left, he returned to the first girl, sitting quietly.

As we left the kids for the evening, Ross walked calmly past the group, in true Guide Dog fashion, ignoring every distraction present. As we neared the door, the girl who rarely speaks ran up and began stroking Ross' coat heavily. Ross is a sensitive dog, and doesn't like people approaching his head. But, when I expected him to duck and avoid her prey-like hand motions, he stood calmly, holding his head high for her. He remained motionless as she tried to pick him up and continued to pet him forcefully. When asked what she thinks of Ross, she replied, "Cute!"

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