”Hi, my name is Otis. Welcome to Polinsky Children’s Center. I work here, too, with my human buddy, Ms. Angela, a therapist with the JFS Crisis Team.”
Here is my story:
When it was time for me to leave my parents, I went to these neat humans at Paws’itive Teams who raise dogs for people in wheelchairs.
I went to doggie school for over two years and learned all kinds of ways to help a person. I can open cabinet doors, pick up keys, put laundry in the basket and get the phone. I can even get my own leash when it is time to take a walk! I love being outside and watch birds and play ball.
After doggie school, it finally became time to find a human for me who I can help. I was really excited when I met "Rob" (not his real name). I liked him right away and he liked me as well. But then something very silly happened. I became too wiggly and antsy because there were birds and squirrels. Boy, do I love chasing these critters. For a moment, I forgot that I had to do a job with "Rob" and jumped after a bird. Now, when a person is in a wheelchair they can’t plant their feet on the ground and stop a leashed dog from running after a critter. Unfortunately, I pulled "Rob" and his wheelchair a bit before I realized that I had lost my head.
Nobody was really mad at me because all I did was act like a dog. At the same time it was clear that I couldn’t work with somebody in a wheelchair. I needed a new career and a job where I can help people in other ways.
I have a doggie pal named Annie. She was trained like me and being with a person in a wheelchair wasn’t the right job for her, either. She was placed at a school with her human buddy, Stacey.
My trainer from Paws’itive Teams, Chris, and her friends were thinking where I could go and came up with the idea that I should work with kids like Annie does. I was all for that because kids are fun to be with. They like many things I love, like playing ball and running. Sometimes it’s hard just to sit around and be quiet for them, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love to lie around and take naps. I also like to get petted and I am an excellent listener.
Chris and her friends contacted Polinsky Children’s Center to see if I could work here. As it turned out, one of the therapists, Ms. Angela, was looking for a new dog and wanted one she could bring to work. We met and hit it off right away. I am her therapy dog. That means I come to work with her and help her when she talks and plays with some of the kids here. I also make visits to the kids and staff.
That is how I got here. Now everybody is happy. "Rob" got a new dog, Chauncey, and I get to work with the children at PCC. It just took finding the right place for me.
When you see me, make sure to ask Ms. Angela whether it is o.k. to pet me. Sometimes we are working on something where I can’t be interrupted. Asking a dog owner first is always a good idea! Oh, and that funny thing over my nose is called a Gentle Leader. It helps me stay focused when I get distracted. It doesn’t hurt but it does get itchy and I like to rub my nose on people to get it off.
See you on campus,
Your doggie pal,