The Love Dogs were invited to meet with over fifty special kids at the Mervin Iverson School. We decided to bring just three dogs, the dogs we knew they would relate to the most. A large number of the children are on the autism spectrum and all the children live with challenges every day.
We wanted them to meet three dogs that share some of their issues.
Benny of course who was the dog no one wanted. Benny had many unique challenges when we met three years ago, but has overcome them all. We talked about the fact that he was out of control and did not know how to handle his emotions.
We talked about how he had to learn to trust people and believe he was a good boy.
We shared with the children his great need to be held and touched and loved. Every child wanted his or her turn petting Benny and getting REAL close.
Then we introduced Boise. Only four years old, Boise is such a calm, gentle Golden. We talked about how he only wants to be loved. He is a Golden unlike any other and for his age, very mature. He is different from others of his breed at his age and this difference is something we celebrate. He is the most natural therapy dog.
Boise is a large dog and some of the children were nervous around him at first. But they learned that we should never judge someone by their looks. “Go up to Boise and see how sweet he is.” And they all did and learned that you cannot judge anyone by how they look.
While all this was going on, Kirby was sleeping in his stroller. I’m not even sure the kids knew there was a third dog in the courtyard.
But I told them about Kirby. I told them he could not see very well and could not hear very well. But if everybody said his name REAL LOUD, he would pop up. So they all said KIRBY and he popped his little head up to see who was calling him!
I showed them the bag of medicines he takes every day. And shared with them how we have to be very gentle picking him up because of his surgeries. So many of the kids wanted to tell us about their surgeries and medicines.
Every single child was gentle and kind and respectful around the dogs. There was a lot of assisted hand-over-hand petting and Benny even got to ride on a wheelchair on a child’s lap! Boise let so many children lie all over him and feel how soft he was. And Kirby brought about the ah’s when they saw he had to close his eyes because we were outside and the sun hurt his eyes.
After our visit I received envelopes full of thank you notes form the children and staff. Here is some of what they had to say:
“Thank you for showing us Kirby, Benny and Boise – they make me happy.”
“Thank you for showing us the dogs. See you next year.”
“Thank you for letting me pet the dogs and for teaching us about taking care of pets. You are beautiful”
”I love your dogs!”
“I like Benny the best because of his color – yellow.”
“I like Kirby because of his little nose.”
“I like Boise – he is a good dog.”
Each note was handwritten by children they said “hate to write.”
This school will be added to our annual visits as we continue to spread the word about the Love Dogs and their message that “you don’t have to be perfect to be perfect.”