Thursday, February 4, 2010

pet partners class no. 2

Monday was session two of class. Nahum got an excused absence and stayed home, I don't think he is completely over the traumatic experience of the previous week. However Theo was up for the challenge.

We started the class by practicing how to communicate a polite yet firm boundary to keep an approaching person with an animal from having contact with your animal. The exercise requires being attune to and controlling your animal at all times, engaging the approaching person and animal and paying attention to the surroundings. Thats a lot to do while politely telling someone 'no, I do not want your animal interacting with my therapy cat.'

The reason for the boundary is twofold, the therapy animal is working not playing and second, you don't want to take the risk that the animal's owner may not be able to control their animal or their animal becoming aggressive. Best to just avoid such contact.

Theo had no problem with this. Even though a stranger with a dog approached fairly closely he remained completely calm and slightly curious.

The second part of class was to introduce your animal to various pieces of medical equipment to see how they would respond. A wheelchair and walker were maneuvered near all the animals. Some of the dogs were slightly stressed while Theo was unimpressed.

The third segment was to calm your animal as it hears a loud startling sound. The instructor would drop a large book on the floor, which made a loud sound. Again some dogs got sacred. Theo remained quite calm, looking back to see where the noise came from while enjoying the closeness of being held.

So far Theo's easygoing nature is making the class exercises seem simple.

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