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A Weird Holiday & a True Story With a Sprinkle of Normal

This is a true story about a 2nd grader and a dog. I’ll call the boy Billy. 

And the dog’s name is Chance. He’s a registered therapy dog who visited Billy’s 2nd-grade class every week. The red bandana is Chance’s therapy dog uniform that tells the world he’s on the job.

Every week* Chance listens as children read stories to him. 

Because he’s a small dog – only 12 pounds – he has determined that in order to be close enough to the child, he needs to be right up on the table, lying beside the book. This way, while each child reads to him, all the child has to do is glance up from the page to look into Chance’s gentle, dark eyes.

It never matters to Chance whether a child is shy or talkative, an accomplished or a struggling reader. All of them share a unique connection with Chance.

Dogs differentiate between positive and negative emotions.

They recognize emotion in facial expressions, gestures, posture, and tone of voice. Research shows that being with a dog makes a person happier, healthier, and more resilient.

Therapy dogs – like Chance – invariably seek out the one person in the crowd who’s not having a good day.  When it was Billy’s turn to read to him, Chance rose to the occasion as always.

However, Billy, talkative and bubbling with energy, avoided time with Chance. Reading was a struggle for him.  He felt overwhelmed and restless. He was impatient to return to his comfort zone.

Billy’s transformation came about when he realized that time with Chance was a celebration of his effort, regardless of the result. So, when he read to Chance, struggling had a purpose. Billy discovered that he could get better with practice and that making a mistake meant he was learning.

The mere presence of a dog changes the energy in a room.

Dogs provide unwavering devotion in uncertain and anxious times. They can restore equilibrium in a topsy-turvy world.

How dogs do this is still a mystery to me. And I have lived with and studied dogs all my life.

Here’s what science says:

No question we are living through uncertain and anxious times.

We are in a season that feels weird – a topsy-turvy world.

Sprinkle a little bit of normal on all that weirdness!  If you live with a dog you love, then a moment of normal, along with a good dose of comfort is within your reach.

Spending just 10 minutes petting a dog you are already bonded with has been shown to improve health and attitude. People feel happier and calmer when they are with a dog.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Now, go pet your dog.

Go on, do it now…yup, right now!

It’ll be worth it – that’s a scientific fact!

Be safe and well,

Marilyn

*PS – Because of the pandemic, Chance has not visited his 2nd-grade friends this school year.  He misses his time with the children and we can’t wait until it’s safe to return! 

Struggling with a dog question?  I’ve got you!

Contact me or just learn something you didn’t know about dogs! https://dogwisdomworkshop.com

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