In February – blizzardy, blizzardy February (and YES, spellcheck, “blizzardy” is a word, it’s like you’ve never even been to New England. Are you based in San Francisco? I bet you are, and I bet you complain about the “cold” there) – anyway, in February, Sudo was certified as a therapy dog with the organization Dog B.O.N.E.S., and in March we went on our first visit.
We took Sudo to the Brandeis campus to participate in an event to help the students de-stress a little before midterms. The event was very well organized; the contact person e-mailed us ahead of time with a reminder about the event, directions, information about parking, and a campus map. Fortunately for us, there was an entrance to the building on the same level as the event room, so no need to worry about indoor stairs (the horror!) or an elevator. This also made it easy to take the dogs outside for quick breaks as necessary.
We arrived and were greeted with much excitement by student organizers and other students. It was a nice big room, so the dog/handler teams (there were six of us altogether) had room to spread out. Students clustered around each dog – not crowding, they all had beautiful manners – and no dog was left un-petted. The most common comment we heard was “her coat is so soft!”; I guess she doesn’t look soft from a distance, but she really is quite velvety.
She remained on her feet and alert for the first half hour or so, then she lay down on the blanket we’d brought for her and people petted her that way. (After all, why stand while people pet you if you could lie down and get just as much attention? Greyhounds have it figured out. Every energy conservation committee should have a greyhound on it.) The students were all appreciative of the visiting dogs; some of them had dogs or other pets at home that they missed, some just liked animals. One mentioned a study she’d read that petting a dog released happy chemicals in the brain (or, as WebMD calls them, “feel-good chemicals”).
It was kind of funny talking to the other dog handlers, some of whom had taken their dogs on four-mile walks that morning in order to make sure they didn’t have too much energy during the event. We, on the other hand, just hoped Sudo could stay awake for two hours.
She crashed pretty hard when we got home though. It was a long [two-hour] day at work!