Julian has had a lot of change lately. In a very short period of time he had to learn how to be around dogs and new people and new friends. In addition to his regular guided therapy sessions with the dogs, he started coming to Reading with the Love Dogs and being in a crowded room with lots of children and adults and dogs.
He had to concentrate on focusing on what he was doing at the time and looking at people when they speak to him. He had to learn how to greet new dogs and let them know he wants them to Stay. He had to share time with his brother and be cool with his brother walking “his Coco.”
And he had to understand that some of the dogs he’s been working with can no longer come to his special sessions. This week Julian learned that Miss Kelly and Bailey would no longer be able to meet with him. Just as his schedule sometimes changes, so did theirs and they are no longer available on his days.
His mother prepared him for this last visit and it was decided the time should focus on Bailey so Benny lay down and took a back seat. Julian drew the most beautiful picture and wrote a wonderful note thanking them for all of their love and time with him. He gave them a little gift and had a remarkable last session. Julian has an exquisite handwriting and he read his note to Bailey.
Bailey was allowed up on the mat with Julian and they watched him do his famous trick – put a treat on my nose and I will WAIT WAIT WAIT until you let me have it! The treat was a teeny Cheerio so it was really hard for Bailey to keep it balanced on his nose, but he did! Julian got close enough to squeal when Bailey dropped the treat off his nose so he could catch it – wow!
Julian spent a good deal of time at first watching the treat being put on Bailey’s nose, then assisting hand-over-hand putting it there and finally a little hand reached out all by himself to do the trick. All along, facing forward to the dogs has been a challenge and having Julian move close enough to reach Bailey’s head was scary for him. But this time he eventually inched close enough to not only pet Bailey’s tail but his ear!
It was decided this session would focus on Bailey so Benny lay on his blanket and rested. Benny was very happy taking a nap on the floor and Mateo played with him and practiced Benny’s new trick – high five!
When we look back at the photos we see Julian’s apprehension at times. He was often nervous until he achieved a goal. His therapist pushed him hard this week and he rose to the occasion. I know Miss Kelly and Bailey have made a big impact on this little boy and they will see each other again. But we have already started talking with Julian about who will next work with him and he is excited about loving even more dogs – and people!