There Are Canines In The Therapy Gym

Two golden retriever service dogs rest in the shade while taking a break from their respective jobs. Each dog has a saddle bag on his back, identifying him as a therapy service dog, and both pets are looking at the camera.

They spotted him as soon as our feet hit the sidewalk.  It was an exciting moment as our girls saw a service dog entering the Easter Seals building. They began to walk faster and they were shouting “puppy” at the top of their lungs.  The puppy quickly disappeared around the corner once we entered the building.

The girls went with their occupational therapists and I retreated to the parent’s lounge to read my book. After 45 minutes had passed it was time for me to pick them up.  Hope’s OT immediately told me that Hope had trouble concentrating during her therapy.  There had been a couple of interesting visitors in the gym. Two service dogs had lit up Hope’s world.  One of them even licked her hand.  She was perseverating on the dogs so much that it interfered with her therapy.  She couldn’t stop talking about them. Her OT told her that if she didn’t stop talking about the dogs then they would have to leave the gym.  A miracle happened and Hope immediately stopped talking about the dogs.  I still can’t believe she was able to do that.  It’s very hard for her to get passed something once she becomes fixated on it.

The OT was laughing as she told us that Hope kept saying there were two canines in the gym.  She couldn’t believe that Hope knew that a dog is a canine.  Now isn’t that funny.  When we were coming in the front door the service dog was a puppy.  But he turned into a canine when she was with her therapist.  I guess Hopey felt like showing off her smarts a little bit.

The OT’s were still laughing about “a dog is a canine” when Mikayla matter-of-factly said “A cat’s a feline.”  The therapists continued to giggle and were amazed that she knew that.  Mikayla wasn’t about to let them think that Hope was the only smart one in the bunch.  Then I asked Mikayla “What’s a hamster?”  “It’s a rodent” she answered.  Then she went on to say “A dolphin’s a mammal.  A shark’s a fish.”  The therapists jaws dropped to the floor. They were both in shock.  I told them that animals are kind of their “thing”.  The therapists were  still laughing about canines and felines as they walked up the hallway.  And I’m pretty sure that I had a goofy grin on my face.

Success is in the everyday moments.  It’s when a letter starts at the top line and it ends at the bottom line.  It’s when the letters of a name are in the right order.  Success is when a math problem is a real life experience of 1 canine + 1 canine = 2 canines.  Or it’s when a little girl falls in love with a canine as he licks her hand.  Success can be two therapists celebrating the knowledge that two little girls have about animals.  It’s when you leave therapy feeling better than you felt when you came in.  Every success matters.  Every success has meaning.  And when we begin to add all of the successes together we realize how far we’ve come.  And it gives us hope and it helps us to dream about the future.




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