Monday, July 20, 2009

Therapy Dog in the Making

This afternoon, as I took Jazz out to relieve him, we heard children screaming from the yard. Jazz's ears perked up inquisitively. As he is typically nestled away in our quiet office, he had yet to hear the sound of unhappy children. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to introduce him to his job of "therapy dog."

Jazz and I walked over to the yard, where two children, each in separate areas, were highly escalated, crying and screaming. Multiple staff were trying to calm the children. As we approached, Jazz continued to demonstrate curiosity at the situation. He maintained full confidence, and cocked his ears as if he were trying to figure out what this new sound was. The child closest to us caught sight of Jazz, and was instantly distracted, running towards us, excitedly yelling, "A puppy!" Jazz stepped his front paws up on the rail of the fence and stuck his nose between the links, giving the girl a big kiss on the face as she greeted him through the fence.

He got it right.

The girl sat down and began to pet Jazz through the fence, begging for kisses. She remained calm and safe, and followed directions. After a few minutes, I felt comfortable taking Jazz inside the yard with her, and so, we ventured in. We sat in the grass for a while, Jazz rolling around, kicking his legs wildly as she scratched his belly, and watching her intently as she made funny noises at him. The girl, who normally requires constant staff attention and redirection for her unsafe and inappropriate behaviors, sat on the grass next to Jazz, playing appropriately with him, smiling, and following directions beautifully.

As I walked Jazz back to the office to recoup from the heat and finish my work, I couldn't help but be proud. The kids have a therapy dog again :)

1 comment:

3 labs 4 me said...

Wow!!!! Jazz is growing up, isn't he? I can't believe how much he has changed, since the last time that I saw him. Great stories too.