A therapy dog?

24 May 2020 by
Teaching English with a dog Teaching English with a dog
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My 6 year-old dog was literally still frightened of the wind a few weeks after adoption, but I firmly insisted on my fantastic idea that he was perfectly competent for becoming a therapy dog.

 

So I quickly searched for a dog school nearby, and I took him to the first lesson.

 

“Look”, said the trainer after listening to my plans and looking at Foxy’s behaviour silently for a few minutes. “If I have a 20 year-old car, there’s no point driving it on a race, because its engine won’t survive. The situation is the same with you too. Even though you want children to pet him, he obviously wants no part of it. But I can see that you really need a therapy dog. Write a list about what you need exactly, and I’ll help you choose a puppy.”

 

I was standing there shocked, and meanwhile I still had the feeling that Fox was the right one for this purpose. But I accepted that he really had to get rid of his timidity first, as he couldn’t stand noises, he wanted to escape after every louder clash, or when somebody shouted at his own puppy, my dog tried to run away.

 

“And what shall I do if right now I’d like to deal only with him?”

“Well, first of all, relax”, he answered.

 

He was right. I was unbearably tense since my dog had escaped from the fireworks, so I listened to him, and I didn’t force these trainings. But I didn’t give up either. I created my blog, and our mutual development has begun slowly, day by day.

 

I took him with me to my office regularly, where I give private lessons in English. I thought socialization would be good for him, and at least that way he didn’t have to wait for me at home alone.

 

I have been very grateful to all of my students, who turned towards him with so much love and patience. After a while I could not decide who therapized whom. He returned the love that he reveived from the children. After a month he was already wagging his tail, waiting for who would arrive next, and to whom he can give kisses. Although most of the times he only dared to go closer under the desk, but it was like he could feel who needed more attention and care. I realised that my students’ English skills became more fluent too, their stress melted away.

 

„Well, he is a therapy dog after all”, I thought.

 

In the last couple of months, during the time of online education, Foxy encouraged kids and adults through the screen, and he comforted me with having a nap next to me silently.

 

But private teaching in the office has started again recently, giving opportunity for those as well, who insist on the live communication, and the lessons with a doggy. And on teaching days Foxy happily jumps into the car to greet his friends he hasn't seen for a long time.

 

 

(The Hungarian translation is available on www.onbizalomfejlesztes.hu.)

 

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