Saturday, April 11, 2009
As Ross and I headed out towards the parking lot, leaving work for our Guide Dog meeting, we were bombarded by a group of children on bicycles. As soon as the kids saw Ross, they began to shout his name excitedly and pedal quickly towards us. The kids jumped off their bikes to pet and hug Ross as we briefly stopped. One child asked about when Ross will go to formal training, and she was relieved to hear that it was over a month away. They were excited about the thought of a new young puppy, though caveated by the girl's words of wisdom: "No puppy will be just like Ross."
As we crossed the parking lot and headed up the main path towards my office, Ross and I heard the screams of a child. As we approached, we saw a child standing on the path with a staff member, screaming at the staff. Ross' ears perked and he made a bee-line for the child.
When we approached the girl, I asked, "What's going on? Ross heard you and he's worried about you." Ross stood, gently sniffing the child. As she reached down to pet Ross, she instantly began to calm, stopped screaming, and quietly answered my questions. Ross continued at attention, and the girl continued to calmly pet him. Within minutes, she was able to identify her concern, identify other's concerns about her behavior, and problem solve the next steps to turn her morning around and make amends. The girl then calmly returned to school with the staff member she had been screaming at just minutes earlier.
Running late for our meeting, I decided to take Ross directly with me, instead of dropping him off at my office first. As I headed into the residential building, I was greeted by the girl who rarely speaks. She immediately leaned down and began to pet Ross. She then attempted to pick him up and clumsily dropped him in her lap as she sat down. Ross remained unfazed and curled up next to her, resting his head in her lap. She sat quietly, gently stroking his head and, at one point, leaning over and nearly falling asleep as she cuddled with him.
That day, I secured a new job at the agency, and Ross has been able to continue his work uninterrupted, the kids unaware of the previous possibility that Ross may not have been there to help them with their mornings.