Lucy has been a Pet Partner therapy dog for several years now, volunteering in a broad variety of environments and populations, but her new assignment is nothing like anything she has done before. Her owner, Karen, has worked with this group of clients in the past, but not Lucy. So they approached this as they did years ago when going on first visits. Short visits so Lucy can become comfortable with the new smells and sounds and unpredictable behavior of the clients.
Lucy was exceptional. She was calm and sweet and loving and eager to be held by many new people. But something was different about Lucy at this facility. She is a very sensitive dog and she just knew these people needed her more than any others. She put her whole heart and soul into each person she met and found a new way of communicating, unique to each person.
Karen shared this with me after their second visit, “Lucy was just so happy to be there. One lady said she really didn’t like dogs or know anything about dogs but spent quality time with Lucy in her lap. When we left this lady said to me “Thank you for teaching me about dogs and for sharing Lucy with me. I now know about dogs and like them.”
It is lovely what she said about Lucy but what is more important is that she spoke at all.
This type of environment is very emotional for both dog and handler and after an hour Lucy was giving her signal that she was “done.” The intense, pensive look in her eyes said it all.
This weekly assignment showcases how the right match makes all the difference. The right handler, the right animal and the right facility encouraging the clients to reach their full potential.
Let’s celebrate Lucy and Karen for embarking on this remarkable new adventure and truly making a difference in those lives they touch.