When I retired, it was important to me to do something to help others. I have a yellow Labrador Retriever that I was training at the time and he seemed to have the perfect temperament to be a therapy dog. We worked hard, got him certified and began his career.
Our actual therapy training took
place in a nursing home but I realized that it was not the best environment for Tug’s talents. The opportunity arose for Tug to work in a school setting with kids and I thought that would be perfect. It was.
I was a little nervous on the first day because l wasn’t sure what to expect. I shouldn’t have been, Tug just took over and knew exactly what to do. He seemed to know which kids needed him the most and he gravitated to those kids. He amazed me with his intuition.
In one school Tug’s job is more relationship oriented and he knows who needs what. If rough housing is involved, he’s game. He always loves to chase a ball. If a kid just wants to sit quietly and pet him, that’s great too. It is very rewarding to see kids smile that don’t smile often.
In another school the kids are younger and they read to Tug. When the teacher brings a new group in to meet Tug, I have noticed that he greets each child individually.
I could never have taught Tug these things, he just knows. He is definitely making a difference in these young lives, and also in the lives of the adults that watch him in action. I am so glad that I am part of a team that can help in this way.