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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tragedy and Dogs...

We are so tired! Thank goodness for the cozy Red Sox blanket. This week has been really rough on Tara and both of us. For those of you that do not know, there has been a tragedy in our town with a man going into his estranged wife's work and shooting her. She worked at a daycare and many children saw this. Luckily we are able to work with these kids and help them through the trauma and loss, but it is very tiring after awhile and we have had to learn that we must take care of ourselves before we can take care of the clients. We have talked a lot about grief recently, however this week there has been an emphasis on trauma (and it is only Wednesday). We have worked with children that were present during the shooting, as well as our regular clients who have been exposed to the media or friends/family who were at the scene. This is so sad as many of the witness' are 2 and 3 years old and have trouble verbalizing what they saw....thank goodness for Play Therapy! We are seeing alot of normal trauma reactions such as regression, aggression, and fear. We are being supportive for the kids that just need to sit and pet us and listening to those that talk about the "Monster" at their school and the lullaby's they sung during the event. The sand tray is being utilized frequently and many telling scenes are being processed. Thank you to those that have sent their support with this as we know these kids will need as much support and prayers as they can get! Time to go back to sleep! Abbey and Bode

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Working Hard...

My turn to add some insight--it's Abbey...Bode is sleeping as he worked hard this week. I worked hard too, but I didn't want to let anyone down on blogging. This week we both put in a lot of hours. I worked with a lot of kids working through their grief. This week, that meant lots of sandtray work. I am still trying to figure out why the kids like the sand, but it is fun to watch the pictures they create. One of the boys, I think he is 10 years old, created a whole tray of favorite memories of life with his father before he died. There were settings that showed trips they went on and sporting events his father watched him in. As Bode, mentioned in his previous post, grief is very difficult for some kids and Tara focuses on the dash. This particular kid preferred to show me and talk to me about his sand trays instead of Tara. The best part was the end when he just sat rubbing my belly while he sat back and looked at his work. I am glad to help, but know that sometimes that sandtray is so therapeutic that my presence is just added support! Maybe Bode will share about his anger management work with kids this week as he did a fabulous job...I will ask him when he wakes up!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bode is Back...

I am back to work and feeling a little better! I only worked with two kids this week but it was great! I got to go for a walk with a little boy and then have a sword fight with the nerf swords. He talked to me about how he used to do these things with his father before he died. I think I am a big help for grieving kids because they tell me all sorts of stories about their loved one that died and I can almost picture that person. It is also ok when they want to sit and cry as I just curl up on the floor with them and allow them to pet me with during the sadness. Tara helps them to remember the good things about that person, she calls it the time in the dash. It reflects the tombstone dash of the years they lived instead of birth and death dates. What a great thing to focus on!! I hope everyone remembers the great things Abbey and I do to help children in our dashes! I hope all of you remember good times of friends, family, and pets you have lost instead of focusing on not having them anymore!

Friday, January 11, 2008

No dogs allowed :(

Abbey and Bode together this time! We decided to write a blog about dog discrimination. Did you know that just because we help with mental health and not other needs that dogs are trained for that we cannot go everywhere people go? We are not happy about this! We love to be with Geoff and Tara so much that we have recently learned we are not welcome some places. How would you feel if you were not welcomed somewhere? Did you know that they go to places to have dinner with other people and sit outside by the beach, but no dogs allowed? Did you know that they go sit in chairs and watch big TV screens that they call the movies, but no dogs allowed? Can you believe that if we want to visit all our friends in other places by airplane that we would have to be put in with luggage and not comfortable? How will we ever see our friends in Boston, Ohio, etc?

There are some client's that talk to Tara about feeling excluded and now we realize what they mean. This is not fair. Everyone should be treated the same, well at least us dogs as we are really spirited like humans...please don't include cats in this discussion as Tara is very allergic and they really aren't like us. Wait, is that discriminatory? We are really trying to figure this out and it seems so easy to get caught in bias'. Anyhow, Tara has been gone a lot this week and we learned that it has been for C.A.R.E.S. at some fun-raiser (We think that is what was said, which isn't without us does not work!!) We even learned Brooke has been there...we love Brooke so much that Tara and Geoff have started to spell her name too! It sounds like such fun to watch all these kids perform and we can't go because schools don't like dogs on their properties. Really, what could we do?

Ok, enough complaining. We hope this fun thing raises good money so no one else feels their life should end, but remember dogs can be therapeutic in our comfort and companionship to help prove life is worth living. Try to remember to include us as much as possible and encourage business' to be dog friendly!

PS Bode is recovering and thanks everyone for his prayers. A few more days of medicine and hopefully this "doggie flu" will be gone!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sick days for Bode...

It's Abbey again...I just wanted to fill you in that Bode is sick. He is feeling really bad and had to miss two sessions that were scheduled for him today. He has not left the couch since getting back from the doctor. I hope he gets better soon because I don't know what to do when he is sick. Mom said the kids missed him and wished him well, luckily we both worked earlier in the week. Prayers are welcomed as I heard he had x-rays, they took his blood, and got a shot today. It sounds like we have to wait and see how he does in the next few days, but today was not a good day for him!

I know Bode really wanted to work and tell you about his sessions, but I will share mine this time instead. I helped a little girl in foster care learn that we have commonalities...we were both chosen and "rescued". She seemed excited to compare what we came from and where we are now and she will be adopted soon to her family like I was! We played dolls together and I listened as she talked and role-played and sometimes she included me in this play, but other times she gave me a cookie to sit and watch her play and talk, which was just as good! I love to help. Ok, I am off to check on Bode...hopefully he will be on next week to share a counseling story with you!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

How do dog's help in Therapy?

Hi, It's Abbey...Bode is sleeping near the tree trying to protect it from being taken out...I don't think he wants Christmas to end! I will put a picture so you can see!

I decided to write a quick blog about what we do when we get to go to W-O-R-K. I spelled it because I have figured out that if our mom and dad don't want us to know they are going to work without us that they put those letters together and then I get sad!

Anyhow, Bode and I are big helpers in the playroom. The playroom is where the counseling takes place with all the children at work. We know that when the sound machine is kicked on that we are in work mode and we cannot be wild and silly anymore. For me, that means I need to stop jumping and licking and for Bode, it means no jumping and to be careful with his big tail (it knocks over people and toys sometimes, but he doesn't mean to). We never get to go together, unless it is a paperwork day because we like to play with the toys together and then there is no room for the kids!

Each session is different, as every child likes to play with different things and talk about different things. Sometimes there are silly things that happen during a counseling session; like the dress up clothes being put on me and then other times, the kids just want me to curl next to them on the couch or floor. I know a lot of tricks, so some of the kids like to give me "cookies" if I will do things like shake their hand or lay down on command. We also get play outside with some kids and even go for walks during the therapy time.

My favorite thing is helping kids smile and letting the ones that are crying know that I am there for them and it is okay to be sad sometimes. I get nervous if someone is angry, but I think that when I get scared of the bop bag that the kids learn that there are better ways to show their anger so others around them don't get fearful. Bode and I always leave a session happy and see smiles on the children's faces when they leave too--our biggest job is to be supportive and help them play through their situation!

We will share more about some of our jobs a therapy dogs soon...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year and Welcome to Our Blog!

Happy 2008! It is going to be a great year and we are looking forward to sharing our adventures with you through our blog. We hope to have this be the area in which we can tell you about our fun work. You see, we get to go to work with Tara (our owner/mom) in her Play Therapy practice. We LOVE it! We get to work with many great kids who are struggling to overcome situations in their lives.

Because the children range in ages from three to eighteen, only one of us get to go at a time. We get very jealous if the other gets to go and we have to stay home, but it is so exciting to share our day with each other when we get home. Usually Abbey gets to meet the new clients first because she is smaller and not so clumsy. I sometimes seem intimidating to some kids because I am so big, but Abbey says she tells the kids about me so they will not be afraid and they can work with both of us. Once the children meet us, they always ask for us and we smile in knowing that sometimes they prefer us to Tara (even though she went through all that long schooling to be able to help them).

We decided to create this blog to share with you because Tara has written a few articles about our counseling work and has had a lot of people ask to keep updated on what we do. We hope you enjoy hearing about us and our adventures and look forward to sharing with you.

May 2008 bring lots of love to each of us and remember if you have a canine friend, we love our bellies rubbed!
PS That is me, Bode at the laptop!