For the past several months Benny has been working the therapy load of two dogs. He has diligently been covering those assignments his brother Kirby went to before he passed away. While we did eliminate some commitments for the time being until little Petey is registered, we have kept up with our most critical partnerships. But working five or six days a week is hard for Benny. So I stagger what he does and allow plenty of rest and play time.
I know that on Thursdays it’s ok for Benny to be tired and just be a dog. We see Julian that day and Julian understands that Benny has peppy days and tired days just like people do. As soon as Julian saw us today he said “Benny is tired.” I told him that was a really good observation. “What should we do? Should we wake him up?” No, said Julian, let him rest. That empathy for another living being is important for Julian to recognize. We went into our therapy room and I put Benny down on his blanket. He promptly closed his eyes and turned in a little bit towards Julian. Even though he was resting, he knew he could still be useful in our session!
I brought a new collar to try to fit on Benny so Julian spent some time figuring out how to make it smaller so it fit the dog. Pet Partners does not permit our therapy animals to wear costumes to ensure safety, but I got a new Halloween-themed collar for Benny to wear. This was a difficult challenge for Julian as I seemed to choose a really hard collar to size! But Julian kept at it and Benny kept still and together they achieved this first goal of the day. Then I brought a really long leash to try and Julian did a great job clipping it on Benny’s collar.
Benny never moved from his spot, even though his eyes were closed. Then Julian leaned in real close and got some Benny kisses! So, Benny, you are awake!
We read a new book to Benny and petted him all over. He loved that part. Julian is a very good reader and got through half of a new longer story. The story is about a blind and deaf dog so we will finish it next time.
Then it was time to give Benny some water so Julian had to make a bowl out of our new collapsible bowl. He did a great job creating the bowl shape and then pouring in some water. He held it steady so Benny could get a good drink. Nothing spilled!
Now it was time to walk around a little. “Come on Benny, let’s go” chimed Julian. And Benny was up ready to walk! His short nap was all he needed to refresh himself. We walked around outside and then Julian led Benny to our car.
I really like having Julian’s appointment mid-week now so Benny has a break. He still gets to spend time with his friend but has little pressure on him to do anything. He can just “be” - two boys enjoying each other’s company.
And maybe achieving a goal or two!