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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Our Havs touching other people's lives

Hey,
I've seen threads of a story or two of how a Hav has touched someone else in a special way, and I didn't want to limit the thread to certified therapy dogs only, so this thread is to share the stories of our dogs, touching other peoples lives.

So, here's my story from this week (Long):

Some of you know that I have a 1/2 hav, 1/2 shih tzu, Ollie, 3.5 yrs old, that is a certified therapy dog with TDI. before I even chose him, I was thinking about the academic applications of a well trained therapy dog, as I am a speech therapist in the public schools, currently at an elementary school, and my school site houses the severely autistic special day classes (SDC).

I'm doing summer school, and as a feature of some of our other SDC programs, speech therapists push in weekly to work on language skills. So I decided every wednesday Ollie would come and push into 8-10 SDCs in his day (1/2 hour sessions). This week would be Ollie's third classroom visit for summer school.

For those of you not familar with special education, a lot of my regular ed. colleagues think Ollie is a gimmick or just an excuse for me to bring my dog to school, seriously. unbelievable to me that any educator in the modern day could think like that. The greatest gift Ollie gives my students, or all the students, is spontaneous language, something to talk about.

So some of you know, Ollie does some academic tricks, like discrete trials (can differentiate pics and words with his nose), and 'math' a counting trick, the kids give him a math problem, 16-8, and he taps it out on my hand, and a host of other dog tricks. he's close to mastering his latest trick, 'play dead'.

play dead, the way I taught it, is I point my finger in the shape of a gun, and I say 'bang bang'. then Ollie for some reason, waves his paw in the air and proceeds to die by rolling on his back, paws to the sky, and tries not to move.

In one of the SDCs this summer, there are a pair of brothers, 8 yrs old, we'll call him Caine, and his little brother 6 yrs old, Abel, summer school is their first school experience, as the parents have kept them home, to home school them. they are sweet, but clearly developmentally delayed, a team or geneticists at Stanford are studying them to determine what genetic syndrome they may have, and are in the process of getting talk devices as they are difficult to understand and in general don't talk much.

Wednesday, with a class of 10 students, and in Caine and Abel's class, I'm sitting b/t the brothers, about ten minutes into the session, Abel, the little brother, does the american sign language sign for dog (which is right hand hits your hip and you snap your fingers as the hand comes off the hip), and he says 'bang bang!', smiles and looks at Ollie. The instructional aides were floored, he was clear, loud enough, and said it three more times. priceless, spontaneous language.

So of course I had to do the trick, and had Abel learn that we call the trick 'play dead'. and I let Abel say 'bang bang' to start the trick. he was so tickled. it was beyond cute.

Then today, Thursday, another little girl, Em, we'll call her, I passed her in the hallway, and says hi to me, and as we pass, she yells, "where's your doggie?' again very clear and she's usually very unintelligible.

days like these, remind me of why I do the job I do. I'm usually buried in paperwork and attorneys (yup, sue happy parents).

please share your stories.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 08:49 AM
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Wonderful!!! A an Educational Advocate who believes that working collaboratively with school staff is the best way to get a child's needs met, I wish there were many more SLP like you, and many more therapy dogs like Ollie!

Actually, in my experience, The "related services" people in schools are often among the strongest members of the team.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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I have to confess Karen, after this past school year, which was incredibly icky.

I'm considering just teaching Econ in high school, as I hold an undergrad degree in Economics, which means it's a matter of paperwork to get credentialed.

But I do have to say, being there and helping a child learn to speak, or become more easily understood, it's magical.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprorchid View Post
I have to confess Karen, after this past school year, which was incredibly icky.

I'm considering just teaching Econ in high school, as I hold an undergrad degree in Economics, which means it's a matter of paperwork to get credentialed.

But I do have to say, being there and helping a child learn to speak, or become more easily understood, it's magical.
I know that teaching, whether as a classroom teacher or a "specialist" is incredibly challenging... and I'm not talking about the kids, I'm talking about the "system", and lack of funds. My hat is off to all who do it. My niece is a high school teacher (science) and my son is majoring in elementary education. I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of you. Whatever you decided to do, I'm sure you'll be great at it!


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 07:12 PM
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My daughter is lucky as she is a tutor in a private boarding school for boys with learning disabilities and, thus, funding is not a problem. Students come there from all over the world. Her work can be emotionally challenging but also very rewarding and she loves it. I guess as you said, Jacqueline, there is a bit of magic when a student you have been working with finally grasps the concept you have been trying to teach and can read.

BTW, there are several resident dogs on campus, owned by the faculty members, who are a tremendous help with the boys. None of them are therapy dogs, they are just there.


Mary (miss you, Bailey-1996-2011 and Tyler-1997-2015)
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2013, 09:41 AM
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This past weekend one of my staff lost her 2.5 year old dog. This was her family's first dog and they were all so attached to her. The staff person came in the office looking for Leo. He snuggled in her arms and gave gentle kisses while she wept softly. I felt so sad for her but so glad that Leo was there to offer her comfort. I listened as she talked about what happened and about how sad and painful losing her dog was. Because she had never had a pet, I think the depth of grief she felt really caught her off guard. Leo settled in her arms while she hugged him to her and gently stroked his fur. She thanked me for listening and for sharing Leo at a time when she really needed comforting.


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2013, 11:41 AM
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Our Havs touching other people's lives

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Originally Posted by Pucks104 View Post
This past weekend one of my staff lost her 2.5 year old dog. This was her family's first dog and they were all so attached to her. The staff person came in the office looking for Leo. He snuggled in her arms and gave gentle kisses while she wept softly. I felt so sad for her but so glad that Leo was there to offer her comfort. I listened as she talked about what happened and about how sad and painful losing her dog was. Because she had never had a pet, I think the depth of grief she felt really caught her off guard. Leo settled in her arms while she hugged him to her and gently stroked his fur. She thanked me for listening and for sharing Leo at a time when she really needed comforting.
Such a sad story. As some of us know, it's not easy to lose a pet. So glad that your Leo got to help her in her grief.


Mary (miss you, Bailey-1996-2011 and Tyler-1997-2015)
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2013, 02:08 PM
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Way to go Ollie and Leo - such inspiring stories!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2013, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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There's one special day class, that has a student who is super allergy ridden. just today I was able to get a session in with this class. The class has a couple of student who know Ollie already.

One of the instructional aides, I think from Nigeria, she's not a dog person, never had one.

Her mouth was wide open from shock, the whole 30-40 minute session, she was so impressed with Ollie.

Another student in that class, we'll call him George, he has a talk device, and used to be at my school, and has a whole page in his device with all of Ollie's tricks so he can ask for a certain trick.

Ollie remembered him, and during the session (we're on in a circle and sitting on the floor), Ollie would just randomly go over and sit by George it was super cute and sweet.

Yeah, all the instructional aides in that class were blown away by Ollie's skills. plus Ollie's generated a lot of spontaneous language.
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