I have a question for the therapy dog people. I have started Minnie D in therapy dog classes and she has been a star so far. Tonight we had our first nursing home visit. Interesting reaction from her and I am wondering how it correlates with others who have gone down this path. A little background on Minnie first to put things in perspective.
She was born 6 months to the day after my son died and I have been holding her in tears and sorrow since the day she was born. I have never cared if she accomplished a thing as she has helped me get through every day.
This is a dog who not been around children. While visiting a friend a couple of years ago she and their three year old became instant buddies. When he had a temper tantrum on the floor with arms and legs flailing she was over there nuzzling his neck, trying to sooth him. This is a dog whenever anyone new comes to my house or visits in my trailer always jumps up, looks the person directly into their eyes, looking right into their soul then usually puts her head on their shoulder for a moment and lays down draped across their lap.
She has always had tremendous empathy. This is a dog who has traveled around the country, staying in many strange homes and lots of motel rooms and is usually very easy going with everything.
At her visit tonight she was obviously anxious. Not spooked but a bit nervous and anxious. She was gentle in meeting individuals but a bit aloof. Not shutting down but not looking people in the eye with a happy greeting. Her last visit with an individual in their room I saw more of her usual self and she did respond more directly with the person. She has never been around the elderly before. Is this a common first time reaction? I got a very strong feeling of not fear but being overwhelmed. I suspect she might have been overwhelmed by the amount of need surrounding her and not knowing what to do with it. Or just overwhelmed with all the newness of it.
I worry that I didn't work hard enough to make it fun for her. And because she loves to look people in the eye and especially loves to snuffle at their nose (rarely licks) and was not able to do that at the nursing home could that have thrown her? Will enjoyment and purpose come later with experience? Anyone else have thoughts or experiences to share on this?
Any help will be apprecited.
I didn't find the right solution from the Internet.