About 10 o’clock this morning, the receptionist comes into the back and says, “The kids are here.”
“What kids?” I asked.
“The YMCA kids,” she responded. “Oh- did you not know about that?”
Apparently, the YMCA down the street was really reaching for things for the kids to do and had arranged a mini tour of our hospital, which no one thought to tell me about. Normally I would be OK with taking kids around for a brief visit, but at this particular moment in time my RVT was wrist deep in a handful of bloody tooth extractions. I don’t really think that is the type of feel good experience they were looking for.
So our manager took them through the exam rooms and then parked them in the lobby for an impromptu lesson on how to greet a dog. Fortunately for us, Kekoa was at work and happy to take on the job (as opposed to Brody, who probably would have knocked the kids over like bowling pins in his enthusiasm).
She trotted out, plopped compliantly down at my side, and sat there happily while we discussed how to greet a dog. Then, for lack of anything better to offer them, I told them to line up and if they wanted, practice their dog-approaching skills one by one.
I can’t imagine getting to go up and pet a dog is the type of thrilling field trip experience they were expecting to get when they signed up for summer camp, but they were happy enough to oblige. Each of the kids, from the 6 year olds on up to the 12 year olds, got in line and got some licks, except the kid who told me, 5 feet from her face, “I’m allergic to dogs!” (we steered him off to a safe distance).
Koa was so good. She was polite, pleasant, and happy to kiss. I’ve never had a dog that I really felt had the temperament and the inclination to be a therapy dog, but she was so perfect with those kids that it really struck me- she could do that. I wonder if her separation anxiety would be a problem, but assuming in a situation like this where I would be with her the entire time, it wouldn’t be an issue.
Dogs bring something out in people that oftentimes other people cannot. I love that.
Has anyone out there done a program like this, not for service animals but for pets who just go out for visits and cheer people up? Anyone go through Delta Society? Anyone have a way to add an extra day in the week so I have time to do all this?