In the third week of therapy class, the students reviewed some familiar exercises and were introduced to a couple of new ones as they prepare for an upcoming field trip to a local nursing home. Hope and Candice tested the students on their reactivity to people using walkers and wheelchairs. The dogs were expected to remain calm and unphased when encountering such people. Ragnar definitely had an advantage over his classmates in this scenario because he meets and socializes with guests with disabilities on a daily basis at work. The dogs were also tested on their ability to remain confident and poised when people argue or talk in a loud, emotionally-charged manner. Though this situation was not as familiar to Ragnar, he did just fine. His favorite part of the class, and possibly out of the entire six-week course, was the circle of love. Each dog was expected to approach a circle of seated people who want to meet him or her and politely engage with the crowd as they love on the dog. It’s no exaggeration to say that this exact experience is what gets Ragnar out of bed and running into work every day. Sitting or lying in the middle of a group of people while they pet him is Ragnar’s favorite pastime and what he spends a large portion of his work hours doing. Needless to say, the hardest part of this exercise was getting him away from the people!
Stay tuned to see what Ragnar and his classmates do in week four!