A few months ago I posted on a project Murray and I were taking on for our pet therapy organization. A mother of three Autistic brothers, ages 6, 8, and 12 had requested home visits so that her boys could learn about dogs and how to interact with them appropriately. We have been making visits since November.
The three boys, who previously tended to scream and run around when they were near any dog, have really made some progress:
They've learned how to greet a dog calmly instead of running up to him yelling in excitement. They've learned to ask permission of the owner of a dog being walked on a leash before petting. They've learned where on a dogs' body to pet. They've learned to be gentle and considerate of Murray- one of them always brings him a bowl of water sometime during the visit.
And Sunday was a huge step forward for the youngest. He's afraid of dogs in general, and even though he's started sitting next to Murray at times, he definitely has a long way to go. Sunday was a beautiful sunny day so we took Murray for a walk- none of them had ever walked a dog before- and they had a blast! The youngest was afraid at first, and was reluctant to take the leash when it was his turn- but after a little coaxing, he started smiling and laughing- he did a great job!
They asked questions the whole time- why does he sniff along the sidewalk? Why does he keep peeing? They were fascinated when I explained about marking: that instead of e-mail like humans have, dogs use 'p-mail' to leave messages for each other! They thought this was hilarious- Murray never had a more intrigued audience to his urination!
So anyway, that's how it's going-we're making progress, and I don't know who enjoys our visits more- me, Murray, or the boys!