Watch this ad before reading.
Please IF YOU HAVE POST-COMBAT PTSD, read this post first.
This award-winning ad is from the Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation. Dogs are trained. Cesar the Dog Whisperer shows that dogs are not just trained; their owners manage them. Moms of young kids everywhere may joke about training kids like they’d train a dog. Wives who have a helpful husband around may joke and say: “He’s well-trained.” (I’d be offended if I were him.) Workers get on-the job employee training.
I would like to say I’m teaching my son, rather than him, but it’s more like training than teaching. Mothers and teachers of children with autism sometimes say we’re training children. Not all of us do, but I can’t call it teaching when it involves a year of learning to fold clothes, as a teenager. Some things are very hard to learn: after 5 years of daily training, at age 18 my son W can answer the question “What’s your name?,” and be understood more often than not.
Dogs who are pets are paper-trained, then “trained” to walk, and then better or worse trained. Some dogs are trained to be more than pets. There are probably enough working sheep dog videos on youtube to make that point. Then there are some dogs of just the right temperament who are trained to be companions and helpers to humans. The programs for this are rigorous, but it’s more like teaching than training.
W’s school has such a dog at the facility, a therapy dog, who is at school every day from beginning to end. (She goes home with a staff member.) Canine Companions for Independence provided her. Now his school takes and trains puppies to become Canine Companions for others – puppies who graduate and go to higher levels of training, before they find their ultimate homes.
(If not for CCI’s school facility dog, my son would still be asking me for a dog of his own. I love dogs, but can’t handle the schedule at this stage. Thank you!)
Therapy animals make a difference. When W was 4 years old and had just lost his father, we went each week to a horse farm. He climbed onto a therapy pony, Champagne, lay down on the pony’s back, and felt the thick fur. Champagne was very calm, no matter how much W bounced on his back, rocked side to side, or made loud noises. The temperament was remarkable for such a small adult equine animal, 1 1/2 times the size of a mastiff. With Champagne underneath him, W could feel loved and hugged and accepted; the sensations were what he’d always gotten while napping on his tall father’s warm chest.
W and I watched the ad at the beginning of this posting three times through till he could fully understand it’s full meaning.
If you skipped the ad at the start of this posting, now’s a good time to watch it. If you saw it the first time, now’s a good time to watch it. If you’re looking for a worthy cause to contribute money to, consider Canine Companion for Independence.
If you’re a dog lover interested in contributing time, give a good long thought to training a companion or therapy dog.
If you’re looking for a worthy cause to contribute money to, consider Canine Companion for Independence.
There are lots of types of training and several organizations in the United States. Ask me for more information if you’d like, or search for it yourself. Thank you for reading this posting.