Stories from the Trail to the Summit
After working with a group of boys in the Emotionally Disturbed (ED) program at school, one of our Therapy DogTeams was leaving for the day and noticed an adult having problems with a preschooler. The Team walked over to discover that the young boy, Billy, was born with physical disabilities and had just learned to walk a few months prior. He also had a hand that would not fully open, so he was forced to do physical therapy daily.
Billy was having a bad day, so our Team stepped in to help. Billy walked the dog down the hall and before long, he was running with the dog right next to him. The therapist called out, “that’s it… show me your Superman!” Billy was unable to speak, but his smile expressed his joy.
After running the length of the hallway, Billy began petting the dog. Within a very short period of time, his hand was fully open and relaxed.
At a respite center that Titus and I visit, was a boy named “Tommy” and his dad. It was obvious at a glance that Dad was a baseball fan. He had the ball cap, the t-shirt, team logo on his car….you get the idea. On one of “Tommy’s” visits to the center Dad mentioned that his deepest sorrow was that he and Tommy would never be able to play ball together like other boys and their dads.
After Dad departed Tommy watched Titus play ball with another child. Each time the child threw the ball Titus would retrieve it, bring it to me and I would give it back to the child for the next throw. In time the ball was offered to Tommy. Once he overcame his hesitancy and made eye contact with Titus, Tommy started throwing the ball and really got involved in the game.
After a while Dad returned to see his son playing ball with Titus! I then had Dad stand next to Titus as Tommy continued to throw the ball and Titus retrieved. A few turns later I signal Titus to stay and Dad caught the ball !! I continued to retrieved the ball from Dad and bring it back to Tommy to throw. Tears streamed down Dad’s face as he played ball with his son for the very first time.