When Kay’s Golden Retriever, Daisy, retired from the dog show life, she came all the way from a breeder in Canada to settle in Wisconsin. Daisy is a busy girl, joining Kay on visits to Meriter, UW Hospital, the VA Hospital, UW dorms, the Ronald McDonald House, Camp Pawprint, Safety Town, and various community events.
This article by Kay and Daisy was featured in our Spring 2016 Newsletter:
Sunset Ridge Elementary School Visit
I wanted to share two very special visits that Daisy and I had recently while visiting at the Sunset Ridge Elementary School. Both of the boys had special needs, were in wheelchairs, were non-verbal, and had aides accompanying them.
I was in the school office registering as a “visitor,” with Daisy at my side. I noticed she had stepped away from me. As I turned around, I saw that she had approached a boy in a wheelchair. The aide brought the boy to the office where it was quiet, so that he could visit with Daisy alone. Daisy had put her head in the boy’s lap. It appeared to me that the boy had limited ability to move his arms. But with time, he was able to move his left arm to Daisy’s neck area and seemed to know that he was touching her. Soon, you could read his body language and see the emotion he was feeling. His aides were noticeably aware and mentioned they had not seen that kind of emotion in this boy before.
The second visit happened in a classroom. As I located the room, I noticed the lights were off but went inside to wait for the students who were still out for recess. Two aides entered the room, accompanying a boy in a wheelchair and suggested that they would like to visit while the room was quiet. The boy had autism. They thought that it would be easier for him to be sitting on the floor. That works for us, too. Daisy approached him and put her head near his cheek. The boy very slowly leaned forward and snuggled his head beside hers. You could see the emotion he was feeling. He lifted both of his arms and wrapped them around her neck. It was so sweet. His aides also had not seen this display of emotion in this boy. It took our breath away.
In both cases, I had not instructed Daisy to approach these boys. She made the decision and knew what to do. Our dogs are amazing.
As I was driving away from the school and thinking about all the kids that we had visited with that day, I could not help reflect on the two special boys. How wonderful that they had had a fun day at school. I was hopeful that we had helped to make a good day for their parents, knowing their sons had a great visit with a therapy dog at school that day