Scout’s a good dog, too

My mom told me yesterday that I spend too much time writing about Bandit and the chickens, and not enough writing about Scout.

I understand what she means, but let’s face it. I can only get into one dog’s head at a time, and for whatever bizarre reason, it’s easy for me to be Bandit. Besides, Scout doesn’t need his own blog; I can’t keep up with another blog.

But yes, Scout does need some more coverage.

And wouldn’t you know it? Here’s something new:

Last summer, Scout passed his Therapy Dog Internationl test and in the fall started doing reading therapy at the local elementary school. He was paired with a 2nd grader and every week we went to the school library where the child – we’ll call him Timmy – was supposed to read to Scout, while Scout sat and listened.

The problem was that little Timmy is one ball of energy and Scout is one ball of nerves. Timmy did very little reading but a  lot of fidgeting and rolling around and standing on his head. Scout did a lot of panting and whining and pacing.

After several months and some consultation with Scout’s therapy dog trainer as well as the program coordinator, we all decided that maybe Scout would be better matched with an older, calmer child, and Timmy would get more out of reading with a more experienced dog and handler.

I tried. Honest. But I’m so new at this, and Scout was so anxious, that it was just better to make the switch than freak out the dog any more and maybe turn him off to reading therapy all together. Plus, Timmy wasn’t doing much reading and I’m not experienced enough to really know how to handle the dog and the child at the same time.

On our last day with Timmy, I cried. Everyone involved in the program – from the social worker to the teacher to the program coordinator – assured me that it wasn’t my fault that we had to be rematched. But I cried because I really am going to miss this kid. He’s cute as a button and hilarious. I offered to continue to come and volunteer without the dog if they needed me. He’s been paired with another dog and he’s doing fine.

So we’ve been rematched with another child! He’s older and a very focused reader. We meet him in a week and go from there. I’m hoping that Scout will do better with a calmer child, and eventually bond with him.

We’ll keep you posted!


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