Happy Birthday To Me, Today I Am Three!

Photo by Diane Black

Photo by Diane Black

Since today is my birthday, Doc is giving me the day off and she is going to write my blog.

It’s hard for me to believe that three years have passed since I brought home a furry little puppy named Grover. Raising and training a puppy to become an animal assisted therapy dog to help me in my work has turned out better than even I could have imagined. Grover helps the patients in ways I cannot as he accepts them all unconditionally. It is magical to watch people’s faces light up when they see him and without prompting, a conversation begins. I always say that Grover opens up the door so  that I can enter and begin to help the patients heal.

So many people ask me what it’s been like to raise, train and work with a therapy dog. Well, to be honest, as cute as Grover was as a puppy, he could be a stubborn butt head at times. I do not miss all the chewing, peeing, whining, nipping and correcting his behavior over and over again. It tested my patients and sometimes I wondered if I was in over my head. The two things that kept me focused were; I knew having an animal assisted therapy dog would help people and if I put in 6 months of hard work training Grover, I would have a great dog for life. Luckily both of these things have come true. I would not change any of those experiences as it helped me to grow as a person.

I have heard animal behaviorists say that dogs mirror back to us who we really are. That is so true. Grover reads the energy and body language of anyone in the room. You cannot hide who you are from a dog.

So today, Grover will take it easy, get birthday cake from the Dog Barkery, and get extra belly rubs from all of the people who love him. Don’t tell Grover, but a surprise birthday party is being planned. Shhhhhh.

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