The Love Dogs have been working with a group home for multiply challenged youth for almost two years. Several of the kids have demonstrated tremendous growth since working with the dogs. Eye contact, cognitive awareness, independent touch, and showing of emotion are all criteria we gauge the success of the kids and program.
One young man has not always engaged with the dogs. Often he covers his face with a scarf or blanket to indicate he is not interested and wants to tune out. He turns away when it gets too noisy or there is too much stimuli around him.
He did always seem to enjoy having little Kirby sitting on his lap. And he participated in hand over hand assisted petting.
And he liked when Kirby’s soft fur rubbed against his cheek.
But this week a miracle happened.
One dog, one tiny, special dog touched him in a way we never witnessed before.
When mini Dachshund Cedar was hoisted over his head while he was rocking in a swing chair, he independently reached up to touch the dog.
Hooray!!! Months and months of sensitizing this young man to new experiences has paid off. Somewhere inside he knew Cedar was close enough to reach and he put his hand up. Cedar’s owner Jill knew just what to do and she met him half way.
This is why we spend so much time in the Pet Partner Workshop learning about positioning and handling of our animals. We need to be ready for just this moment. This one brief extraordinary moment.
A true breakthrough was observed and this young man felt a new level of joy.