The moment we saw Julian today we knew something was not right. He did not really look at me or Benny. He did not come forward to greet us. He was locked in his own thoughts.
Some days it is just too difficult to concentrate.
We went into our room to begin the session and he was too preoccupied. So he went to the swing for a while. And it was quite a while, maybe fifteen minutes, before he came back to us.
Benny took the opportunity to lie down and take a nap!
But as soon as Julian returned, Benny was on point. He looked at his friend as if to say “Don’t you want to work with me today?”
I brought several new things to try today and after a few minutes Julian focused better. We showed him how Benny is very good at Drop It and I brought out his toys. Julian was a bit hesitant but soon was giving Benny one toy and then telling him to Drop It and switching to the other by squeaking the toy.
But he tried several times to throw the toy at Benny and that was not like him and we had to remind him not to do that.
Julian was going through the motions but the joy was lacking.I know Benny sensed this and he soon curled up in Julian’s lap. I brought a new book to read and Julian struggled a lot. Julian is an excellent reader but today he was slower than usual and seemed to have difficulty. Our therapist suggested it may be because the lettering was black on a white background and that may be more difficult for him to capture. All these ideas are helpful to me as we work with other clients and try to figure out why one day is more successful than others.
But actually today was a very successful day. Because it was more challenging. And both dog and boy plugged through the hard parts and when Benny was playing with his toys and got real close to Julian, the little boy did not flinch at all. When we wanted to give Benny his treat, Julian put his hand out and gave it to the little dog calmly and let the dog take it right form his hand.
At one point Julian smiled that beautiful smile and we knew he was proud that he made it through the session. Maybe there was too much music in his head. Or there were too many confusing and confused thoughts cluttering his brain. Or maybe he just was having an off day.
But Benny was right there closer and closer and closer, encouraging his friend to stick with it and never give up. And when he snuggled in Julian’s lap and closed his eyes and sighed, Julian knew the dog truly trusted him and understood the little boy’s moods. Understood today was a different kind of day.
Benny, the dog who had many bad days early in his life, now knows how to muster through and be ever so patient.
And just then Julian reached out to hold the little dog just a bit closer.