I think a lot of you know that I have a therapy dog. We started out visiting nursing homes but it was hard on both of us, particularly when a couple of people we had spent a lot of time with died. Many times after we returned home Tug would need to decompress and one time he even refused to get out of the car when we arrived at the center.
As luck would have it, one day I was in a meeting with some people at United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) and I mentioned Tug and they got very excited because they wanted to have a therapy dog in their school for their residential students. These kids have been through a lot and animals have a way of connecting with them and helping them that nothing else can.
We began working with the kids at UMFS late last spring and Tug was amazing. On the very first day we walked into the first classroom and Tug walked over to a girl and he lay down next to her and rested his head on her foot. She was so excited and said, “He chose me! He chose me.” Her teacher told me that she had been afraid of dogs. Tug seemed to know just what to do in relation to these kids. If they wanted to read to him he would lie down quietly. If they wanted to play he was all for that as well. The teachers and the kids decide the routine for the time with Tug. We also work with a class of Autistic kids and in that class the kids mostly love on Tug. Unfortunately I can’t take pictures there due to HIPPA regulations.
We went for an interview to be part of the PAWS to read program at an elementary school in the city of Hopewell about 30 minutes from us. Tug was very well recieved.
The day before we were supposed to start back to both schools after summer break I took Tug to the groomer for a bath and red bumps began popping out on his head. I took him to the vet and he thought Tug was having an allergic reaction to something but at that point he couldn’t be sure what. He took samples for slides and prescribed antibiotics and antihistamines along
with pain killers. Tugs head only got worse throughout the week and on Wednesday the vet amped up the antibiotics and antihistamines and on Friday the lab results were back and they showed Tug was stung by either hornets or yellow jackets. He received intravenous steroids and after that he began to get better.
Tug stayed out of school for two weeks to avoid scaring people because his head was such a mess and also to avoid secondary infection. When he returned he received lots of love and sympathy from both teachers and kids.
The kids at the elementary school are adorable. They are in second and third grade and their reading skills differ. Some of these kids have come from difficult situations as well. One darling little boy was found in a trash can in Africa by a missionary. I can’t even imagine. The missionary brought him home and adopted him. He is a happy little kid and he and Tug love each other. These pictures are from our visit to the elementary school.
I have finally figured out what I want to do when I grow up. Don’t you think it’s about time?