Therapy Work: Need your opinion on choosing one....

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Postby Hoyden » February 13th, 2006, 5:19 pm

Short story - I brought Birdie to a nursing home to visit as a dry run to visiting a sick client in the hospital. He is a Korean War Vet who loves my dogs so much that I bring them to his house to visit with him.

The folks at the nursing home LOVED Birdie and begged me to bring her back. I've taken Birdie to the nursing home a few more times, but she is only interested in the people who have had strokes and I feel bad that she ignores the other people who want to see her too. (Birdie is training to be my service dog BTW) (Birdie's reaction to stroke victims is another thread for another day)

Birdie also does great with kids, retarded people, people who are loud and boisterous etc. I have socialized her with just about every kind of person you can imagine.

Because she does so well with kids, works great in crowds and enjoys doing tricks in front of people, I am considering doing a program in schools that teaches children about Dog Safety. I've sent off for information from three different sources so I can review them all.

I am also considering joining a program that encourages kids to read by letting them read to the dog. (Birdie has done this with pre-schoolers and the teacher invited her back)

So now I need to make a choice. Do I work with older people or the younger people.

I am leaning towards younger folks because I can't change the past but I CAN influence the future. If kids learn that pitbulls aren't mean - then maybe we can start changing the tide of the future.

What is your opinion?
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Postby Emi » February 13th, 2006, 5:24 pm

That's great Hoyden ...

Ah hmm's maybe you could split your time between the two , teaching the younger ones about Pitbulls is great :) , but older people like those pups to ... I dunno ... :|
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Postby mnp13 » February 13th, 2006, 5:25 pm

why choose one?

you can vary your therapy visits.

What organization are you going to go though? Ruby is TDI certified.
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Postby Marinepits » February 13th, 2006, 5:27 pm

Hoyden wrote:I am leaning towards younger folks because I can't change the past but I CAN influence the future. If kids learn that pitbulls aren't mean - then maybe we can start changing the tide of the future.


Great place to start!
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Postby Hoyden » February 13th, 2006, 5:45 pm

mnp13 wrote:why choose one?

you can vary your therapy visits.

What organization are you going to go though? Ruby is TDI certified.


I dunno. The school asked me directly after a teacher saw Birdie in action in the Gremlin's pre-school class and heard me teach the kids about being nice to animals. (It was a training field trip for Birdie)

I am going to get her TDI certified first before I take her into a classroom, so I am looking into the programs around me that do that.

I did a ton of her training and socializing at the Ren faire of all places. She did very well with all that chaos going on around her. The owners recieved compliments from the patrons about her.

I don't have time to do both, I will end up burning myself out and getting sick again. My husband will support me on doing one or other, but not both.
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Postby Patch O' Pits » February 13th, 2006, 6:36 pm

Look at what both you does better with and make a list of pros and cons for each to help you choose.

You always can focus on one and then occassional switch it up and visit the other place :|
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Postby Maryellen » February 13th, 2006, 6:45 pm

i agree with therese, make up a list, and you can always rotate your visits every now and then... i started out at the hospital visiting the mental ward and rehab.. then i went once a month at night to a nursing/assisted living home.. now once a month we added kids to read to rufus... since birdie is so awesome with all situations, maybe try one, then try another , until you find what she likes the best, and you too..
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Postby Hoyden » February 13th, 2006, 6:51 pm

The biggest detractor to taking Birdie to the Nursing home is her fixation with people who have had strokes.

She ignores everyone else & doesn't visit with the other people. I've tried to redirect her, but she keeps going back to the patients who have had strokes.
She will listen to me and obey commands, but she is clearly not interested in the other residents.

She just seems to know, she goes right to the side affected too. The occupational therapist is thrilled because Birdie got a patient who refused to use her hand to pet her.

If there isn't a stroke patient there, she's fine.

This kinda worries me and I don't know what to think.
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Postby Maryellen » February 13th, 2006, 6:59 pm

is it possible that birdie is so intune to stroke victims that she might be able to sense when one is coming or has been ? that might explain why she is so drawn to the stroke victims.. you could also just do stroke victims too.... however just make sure it doesnt get you depressed... i would say go with the flow, and see how she does in different settings then pick the one she excels in... with kids, she could turn their minds to GOOD things about pit bulls.. with stroke victims she can get them to use their damaged body sides and cheer them up... when you go visiting you choose the place to go out of a list of places..
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Postby turtle » February 13th, 2006, 7:14 pm

Oh, I remember her pics at the Ren fair! It looked like she was having a great time.

That's a tough choice... Both are excellent but I guess I would lean towards trying to educate the kids. The more you can reach a youngster, the more chance it has to sink in and make a difference.

And that is quite interesting how fixated she is on stroke victims. I wonder why? She must sense something about them.
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Postby pibblegrl » February 13th, 2006, 7:19 pm

Hoyden wrote:So now I need to make a choice. Do I work with older people or the younger people.
What is your opinion?


Work with both. :D A little of each or alternate days...it could work..especially if you can help (or make the day of) a lonely older person.
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Postby Hoyden » February 13th, 2006, 7:31 pm

I asked a few friends with medical backgrounds what they thought

Erin commented awhile ago,
"If a dog can sense the misfiring of electrical impulses in the brain that results in seizures, perhaps they can sense whatever electrical impulse is being disrupted in your motor neurons and causing your muscle spasming.
"

This was her response when I asked about Birdie's reaction to the stroke patients:
Peripheral neuropathy just describes damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. There are hundreds of types out there, varying in symptoms.

Something like a stroke can cause peripheral neuropathy. It's kind of apples and oranges deal though.

It would really depend on the person I would imagine. Too, (don't quote me on this, I'm not a brain surgeon) if the left side of the brain is affected, the right side of the body is what will experience the numbness, tingling, or dysfunction. I can't really tell you what's going on in Birdie's head, she'd have to be tested with a lot of people to decide whether or not it's coincidence or if she can sense erratic misfiring of electrical impulses in the brain.


It's great to watch her work with the stroke victims, but I feel bad when I see sad faces of the people she didn't visit with.
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