Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sleeping...and Growing

Since Jazz has a bit more pizazz than Ross, he's spent more time just hanging out in the office learning how to be a good Guide Dog than hanging out with the kids. Jazz is a good puppy, he's just... a puppy. He sleeps a lot, plays hard, and gets overstimulated easily. The kids (and staff) still love him, and the biggest problem right now is that he is SO cute, and they feel so special when he greets them excitedly, that I have to be able to focus on training the people while I'm trying to train the puppy to not do what the people encourage him to do :)

Jazz is gradually learning that work means more than just sleeping on his fluffy bed in the office. He has attended some meetings, and is finally starting to settle down on his own (never mind that it's usually about 1 minute before the meeting ends). He sometimes accompanies me to therapy sessions, and keeps the mood light by rolling around, and attempting to eat any spot on the floor. He served as emotional support for an adolescent girl getting her blood drawn a couple of weeks ago. And although all he did was hang out, she was so highly amused by my stories of him eating my slippers and flip flops that she temporarily forgot about the needle in her arm.

The other day, one of the girls at work asked if she could earn to come visit Jazz in the office, since he isn't ready to visit on the units yet (it's way too much stimulation for him at this point). We discussed a plan, and as I walked back to my office, she shouted after me, "You know what a good excuse is?" Not understanding what she was talking about, I replied, "What?" "He's sleeping," she replied back in a sarcastic tone :) (Referring to the fact that whenever I don't have my dog with me and the kids ask where he is, I tell them that he's in the office sleeping - which is true. Jazz sleeps his days away while he's growing, Ross was just plain lazy.) This is the same girl who, when Ross and I met her just a few months ago, would hang her head and refuse to speak; the same girl who he sat next to and guarded as she decompressed from an aggressive episode; the same girl who now initiates conversations, jokes with staff, and seeks out rewards for making progress in her treatment.

Jazz is a different spirit than Ross. Ross had an amazing natural talent for understanding people and knowing exactly what they needed. With Jazz, it's all about him. He loves people, mostly because he thinks it's cool that everyone is there to see HIM. He doesn't know the difference between a scared, depressed, girl and an impulsive, aggressive, boy. He only knows that they all love him and want to play with him. It's a naivety that can only make you smile.


Ally, Teddy and Kira said...

Gotta love puppies! I think what you do is absolutely amazing and pairing that with being a puppy raiser is even more amazing! Jazz is adorable with that white spot on his chest and just in general! I love seeing the different personality traits in the pups! Thanks for sharing!

Sarah and the Pack. said...

It sounds like the difference the puppies make for the kids is just incrediable. It is amazing the things these guys can do before they even go on to be guides. I love reading about your pups; and your pictures are beautiful!