Today Dee and I completed our third 'observed' session for Animal Assisted Therapy; assuming the evals submitted to Rainbow are good (and I know they are), we will graduate to an internship for 4-6 more sessions, and then be full members of Rainbow AAT.
We are working at a local high school that draws kids from three district HS if the kids are discipline problems or have emotional issues that make a regular HS inappropriate. The AAT sessions are every other week, for an hour in the morning, and in that hour we get two separate groups of kids from the two sides of the school (discipline/emotional needs). It doesn't sound like a lot, but an hour is a long time for a dog to be working, and Dee's little brain is smokin' when she comes out of there!
The sessions take place in the gym and Dee will interact with 8-10 kids in each half-hour session. Today, her third visit there, many of the kids knew her and she seemed to remember them. There are two other dog/handler teams in the visit, so we split up into different corners of the gym -- the dogs never meet or socialize, which is fine with Dee, who says that the Standard Poodle and the GoldenDoodle are both cretinous lower life forms and she would settle their hash if they even thought of greeting her.
Today I brought her 20' lead and we worked on different students calling her in turn, which is hard for her because the student who just treated her still HAS treats and she doesn't want to leave them, but the other student is calling her -- what's a girl to do?! And we worked on self-control routines, which she is really bad at.
And we are teaching her to belly-crawl across the floor from a 'down', and some of the students want her to 'shake hands' so they are working on that. As I said, she's a busy girl for that hour!
She is doing better every week. I'm so proud of my little Shar Pei mix!
And today a reporter from the Chicago Tribune was there, taking lots of pictures and asking questions, so maybe Dee's 15 minutes of fame are in the near future.
PS -- She was in the Trib about 2 years ago, when they did a feature on a heart disease study in which I'm a participant. Here's Deets! And Rowley, who wants me to stop encouraging that behavior!