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Introducing a Puppy to Ben


On September 27 of this year, we introduced Ben to our new puppy, Bailey. The pup was just two months old and on her second day with us. I wanted Bailey to know Ben from the start – get used to Ben's wheelchair, loud vocalizations and rough touch. 

We started out slow, with just a few minutes of interaction and then a break. We encouraged Ben to use an open hand to pet Bailey. We were careful not to let Ben grab her too tight. We did this as often as we could, each time giving the two a break and then bringing them together again. The process has worked: The two are friends.

Now Ben reaches out to Bailey to let her lick his hand. I've seen him be gentle with Bailey without prompting from us, letting her lick his fingers. Ben has grabbed her fur and legs a few times, and Bailey has let out a yelp to let him know this is not acceptable behavior. 

We've learned some lessons along the way: Ryan was getting choked by Ben on this ride to the greenway. Ben wanted to reach Bailey by any means necessary. We now seat Ben on the opposite side of the car when Bailey is with us.

I've noticed how Ben waves Bailey over with his hand when he wants puppy time. He lets her lick his face and nibble on his feet. Almost three months later Bailey and Ben seek each other out.


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