George is a very large dog. He is an 85-pound Old English Sheepdog. Most people associate these dogs with clownish energy. They are of the herding group thus can be expected to herd objects and people. They have great strength and an athletic demeanor. They are devoted family members and thrive on human companionship. They are not usually shy.
George is a beautiful dog. His cut is kept short with a very stylish Mohawk on top, not the more familiar long flowing fur. George is quite a character. He is funny at home and actually quite loud at home, barking and running and playing with his sister Maggie.
But once his Pet Partner bandana goes on, he changes. George the Love Dog becomes the gentle giant that is beloved by all. He is a very shy, almost timid dog. He needs time to get to know you and then his beautiful smile comes out. It could take three four five attempts to have George come forward to sniff your hand in greeting.
George is a classroom dog. He goes to school with second graders and the first week or two in class he takes his time to get comfortable in his spot. He always likes to lie on his blanket and have the children slowly come greet him, one by one. But once he knows you, he loves you.
George is a wonderful role model to the children that you can never judge anyone by their appearance. Big ole George is a very quiet little boy inside!
It was time for George to meet another shy boy, Julian.
If you have been following Julian’s journey living with autism and his experience with dogs, you know Julian has now met many large dogs. Even dogs that are larger than George. But none so like himself. None so unsure and slow to warm up to people and situations, so willing to please but uncertain how to do that.
Julian first spotted George outside the window of the therapy room we were working in. He started to giggle. No panic or fear in his eyes. There was delight. Who was this huge dog coming his way?
We all went out to greet George and we saw the similarities in the two boys. Julian was hesitant to go up to George and George was hesitant to go towards Julian! So patience was the lesson of the day.
Julian was so calm and loving as he put out his hand for George to sniff. So trusting.
And George did look up and inch closer and closer to his new friend. After a few moments, the shy child and the shy dog moved closer to each other and made contact – one big dog sniffing one little boy’s hand.
We brought George inside and a very sweet bond began to develop. Julian was fascinated by this huge dog and George thought this was the most fun day ever.
At one point Julian actually squealed with joy and I think I saw George laugh back!
Julian read George’s story and learned all about the dog. Julian struggled to keep his focus and was able to repeat things for George. He brushed him and touched him all over. Then we went for a walk and Julian walked in front of George, turning his back on the huge dog.
What an accomplishment. Such trust.
Two shy boys discovered the joy of companionship today.