You Never Know Who You Will Run Into
Matilda & I have visited the Madison Ronald McDonald house only a few times and they are quite easy going visits with the residents and staff. Last month, we signed in and the volunteer pointed to the visiting room and said, “They are waiting for you.” As we turned around, we could see the small room was filled with Girl Scouts. They had just finished making the night meal for the house and were heading home when they saw the event board which announced a therapy dog was coming, so they decided to stay later and meet her. For those who have gone on a dorm visit, this was a mini version of everyone petting at the same time! After we got settled, they asked some really great questions:
- Whose dog is this? She’s our pet and I get to be with her every day.
- How often do train with her? Every day since she was a puppy.
- Did she have to go away to a special training place to learn this? Nope, we took her to basic obedience classes and had lots of interactions with other dogs and people. We have to take a test every 2 years to see how we are doing.
- How did you get her to sit and lay down without saying anything? (Tilly will respond to just hand commands most of the time) I can show you, would you all like to learn? Yes, Yes. I demonstrated the sit, down, and stand commands; then I asked if they wanted to try. Almost immediately, they formed a line and were ready to go. So for about 10 times in a row, Tilly sat, laid down, and stood for each of the kids.
The evening ended with the normal visits with the residents and staff, so all back to normal in Matilda’s mind, I hope. She got extra Cheerios at the car for all her hard work that night!
Our second surprise visit happened at Mounds. We were wandering around buying food and treats, when someone said “Matilda!” from the end of the aisle. One of the nurses from unit 2B at the VA recognized Tilly and had to come and say hi. She thanked us for our time up there and hoped to see us on our next visit.
I’m amazed every time I experience visits like these or hear similar stories from others, of what an impact our pups can have on those around us.
Lance with a Bernese Mountain Dog is a familiar sight to long-time DOC members. Lance and Baloo visited for many years; his new Pet Partner is four-year-old Matilda. They visit at the UW dorms, the VA Hospital, and various community expos and fairs. Lance also helps with Pet Partners evaluations.