Although I love being a therapy dog, sometimes I wonder how much of a difference I am making. After all, I am just a dog and I don’t really understand the level of human pain that many of the people we see have experienced. On the days that I have my doubts, Doc reminds me not to get discouraged because recovering from anything is a process and it takes time for people to heal and our work is really about planting seeds.
Being present, building trust, offering emotional support, and accepting someone unconditionally are all seeds that help someone to grow, Doc says. “They are the fertile soil that allow people to feel safe enough to bloom. Change doesn’t happen overnight. ” Doc reminded me. ” Be patient Grover.”
Well that’s easy for her to say. I think it’s hard to be patient. Why, just this morning at work, Doc was talking to a co-worker and not paying attention to my needs, I first tried whining to get her attention and when that didn’t work, I admit that I got a bit miffed and barked loud enough that everyone heard me. I know I am not suppose to bark during work but heck, she wasn’t listening. She quietly turned to me, patted me on the head and said, ” Stay calm, I promise I will help you in a minute. And when she was done talking, that is exactly what she did. In that brief encounter, she reinforced that seed of trust reminding me that some seeds need extra fertilization in order to grow.
After giving all of this some thought, I have come to the conclusion that as I therapy dog I am planting seeds as well. Seeds of joy, love and light that can be passed on and on, making a difference in more than just the one person I showed up to help in that moment. It can take time to see the fruits of your labor. I just need to be more patient.
“The days you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. Be patient and stay the course.” -Fabienne Fredrickson