To read just the title of this blog entry would get the point across, but don’t you want to know why Arrow is astounding? Of course you do, otherwise you wouldn’t have read the first sentence! So a couple of blogs ago, I wrote about how the original purpose of getting our puppy was because I wanted to use him to help others and be a therapy dog. I was planning to bring him up to a big 25th Anniversary celebration at Trails Edge Camp. The camp is for ventilator dependent children and gives them a week of freedom from their everyday to just be kids. It’s an incredible experience and it’s something I really and truly believe in.
So, boyfriend and I got up, ate a home cooked breakfast and headed out on a 2 hour drive to camp for an afternoon of visiting. The whole way up there my mind was filled with doubts. Would Arrow act differently because these kids smell different, like medical supplies? Would he be afraid of their motorized wheelchairs? Would he even let them approach him? Would he even think that these kids were “different”? I didn’t want to be the person who has to tell people to stay away from my dog that I so irrationally brought to a kids camp. These kids get treated like they’re different every single day by other humans. They don’t need the same treatment from a dog. From the minute we got out of the car I was on my guard. My hand firmly in the leash, a pocket full of treats to bribe him to go near wheelchairs and a baggie of Arrow’s lunch to eat when we ate to stave off begging.
One would think I was prepared, right? Well, I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. We approached the first group of people, all of which were volunteers and he showed excitement but nothing too bad. I was still at the top of my game expecting jumping, licking, ferocious tail-wagging, etc. He trotted up to them, wagged until he was petted and then went to move on. Ok. We’re doing good so far. Now I see a group of kids in their chairs and we’re headed right for them… moment of truth. Insert dramatic theatrical music and a slow motion walk over to the kids. This was it. How would he do? I was hoping for the best but even the best was a little more than I was prepared for. Did I make the right decision? How will the kids act? (my head basically exploded)
Arrow walked right over and stood next to the wheelchair and wagged his tail. When the little girl reached out her hand he licked it and wagged some more. Not an obnoxious, clear-your-coffee-table-with-my-tail kind of wag but the one that says “hey, I’m down here but I understand if you can’t reach me. I just want you to know I’m your friend.” I was shocked! He knew what he could do with these kids, better than any human that has ever come into contact with them. One of the little girls wanted to hold him, so a friend and volunteer held one half of Arrow while the camper held the other half and Arrow was so at ease. He didn’t even get squirmy while being held. Then a little boy wanted Arrow on his lap. I’ll admit I got nervous all over again. It’s one thing to be next to a chair, it’s another to be in one. We situated Arrow on his lap and I held his front half so he couldn’t slide off and Arrow looked at his surroundings, looked at the boy holding him and licked his face. He was careful not to disturb any of the tubes going to the little boy’s throat and he was as happy as could be. Powerful. So powerful I’m actually crying at my desk at work reliving the incredible sensitivity my pup had for this little boy. Arrow carried on like this all day. Even when I asked one of the campers to approach him with her chair he didn’t even flinch. It was like he had done this all 14 weeks he’s been on this Earth!
The way Arrow acted Sunday surprised me in the best way possible. He was more intuitive than any human I had ever known. I can’t sing his praise enough. By stark contrast of some recent betrayal and negative energy brought on by human companions in my life I think it’s safe to say I have valued friendship ahead of me and it’s staring right at me with 2 yellow eyes. There is nothing I will enjoy more than sharing this kind soul with others, especially those that need to understand that they are special and good and deserving of friendship.