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Showing posts with the label pet therapy

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

Addendum to July 1 Post

These last weeks have been harried - and with school out and camp in - posting to this blog has been tough to do. However, I did get some posts out last week - one of my favorites being about Ben petting the goat at an ecology center. I wrote about what a great job he did using gentle touch. You can call it Perspective, Irony or just Life - but the day the post came out, I got a call from the camp director letting me know that Ben had bitten another child. The child was fine, Ben was given timeout. The incident was handled well by the camp staff. But, I guess we have some more work to do.

Furry Friends

  Ben started "pet therapy" several weeks ago with a neighborhood dog named, Kingston . Several people asked me the purpose of this therapy. My answer has been that we hoped to help Ben use a gentle open hand when touching animals and humans. Other than that, Kingston would be a friend without expectations, work and goals. The photo above is proof of the changes in Ben. See the open palm and the calmness in Ben's demeanor. In the past I would not have been able to take the photo in fear that the goat would have been terrorized by Ben's grabbing and pulling.

Special Exposure Wednesday: Meet Kingston

This is Ben's 2nd meeting with his new friend, Kingston, a Bernese Mountain Dog . Kingston's owners are neighbors and have agreed to a weekly meeting of petting, kissing and snacking. Ben was intimately involved with all three, luckily this photo shows no proof of spit swapping, otherwise, I would have received a call from Grandma. When I ask Ben about his new buddy, he gets a big smile on his face. It will be exciting to see how this relationship progresses. Hopefully this will be a first of many photos of these two together.