The work done on behalf of animals in the shelters and rescues is so commendable, and yet sad also. There was a news item on today, talking about the rescue with the human face. I must say that dog did have a face that looked a lot like a human being.
Let me tell you a story about a rescue who gave back to society so much and never complained. Her name was Teba and she was a yellow lab. First seen in the Humane Society kennel with a black lab of the same age, which appeared to be 7-9 months. Initially it was thought because the two dogs were obviously very bonded that an adoption of only one would be outrageous; however in a week it seemed the black lab had been adopted and Tuba was grieving.
She was the right breed, size and temperament for an Assisted Therapy dog, which was what, was needed for a Memory Care Unit. She was very happy to leave the Humane Society and go through training. She was quick to pick up new techniques and very willing to be handled by strangers as well as staff. However, this was soon to change and she went to work in a private social work office. Still being eager to please and remembering all the teachings, she would stay in an office when told without moving no matter how many EMT’s or Law Enforcement came in. She learned to be accepting of not working with a client on a daily basis but rather when there was a need or when she could accompany staff to care facilities.
She worked for 8 years and was always the constant professional. Two things stood out in memories of her. The day a family came into the office and were accompanied by a severely challenged mental patient. As the intake for an Adult Family Home was progressing the patient 19 years old came around the table and placed her hands on the intake workers neck. In this business most all are trained to expect the unexpected. Teba came over and wiggled between the intake worker and the young girl, never uttering a sound, just gently pushing the young girl away.
Another time while visiting an Assisted Living, she had noticed a resident sitting quietly in a living room area. Going over she simply sat next to him and placed her head on his knee (this was what she was supposed to do when working). The person was not a resident, rather his wife had just passed away and Teba seemed to know he was in need of a friend right then.
These are attributes of a Service/Assisted Therapy animal. Some of the technique is taught and some is just natural, she always gave back to us far more than was expected.