Hi folks. Matilda here. We had a family meeting, and decided that since mom is a human psychotherapist, and the three of us are therapy dogs, that we should have one day of the week to introduce and honor therapy dogs. We will honor both active, retired and rainbow bridge dogs. Actually, we will honor therapy cats and rabbits and birds too, if we find them. We are going to start with our original therapy dog, Mouschi.
We hardly know how to introduce her. She was a little rescued poodle, who came to live with mom and her family many years ago. She was one of those pups, mom tells us, that in spite of terrible mistreatment at the hands of humans, she adored all humans. Actually, I , Matilda am the same way, I might mention. I don’t think I was treated as badly as Mouschi was though. Mom drove a long way to retrieve her. She drove all the way to a place called Ohio (from New York City), and it was snowing very badly. This was way before I knew mom.
There was this adorable beige poodle girl with sad eyes, but with tremendous love to give. She immediately began sleeping on mom’s pillow next to her face. Mom says the story is kind of long, so we will skip forward a bit. Mouschi had an amazing joie de vivre (yes, I do know that phrase. Mom says it a lot). She loved to start the day by rolling over on her back and wiggling her legs in the air…very….very…fast. Mom would say “Mouschi Bouschi!” and Mouschi would increase her speed. This would continue for several minutes. I was fortunate that I did get to witness this, because when I came home to mom, Mouschi was still around. She was a bit older, but she lived to be maybe 17 or 18 years old! Mouschi could also spin when mom asked, and do things like very long “down-stays.” She could also “creep” and lick her lips when mom said “Do you want food? Lick your lips”. She was extremely talented. I don’t do any of that! I probably could, but basically don’t care too.
So, Mouschi went to mom’s work with her, and helped a lot of people who mom says were “mentally challenged”. Technically, they had mental retardation and psychiatric disability, but mom says that they are so discriminated against that we should just say mentally challenged. She wants me to remind you that to call someone “retarded” is really uncool. Lots of people do that now, and they really don’t mean anything by it, but if you happen to be retarded, or have a relative or friend who is, it makes you feel very sad and hurt.
So Mouschi would go in to mom’s work once a week, and sit with different clients of hers and help them with their goals. For example, one nice woman was working on speaking a little more quietly. Mouschi would sit on the couch with her and if the woman spoke in a very loud voice, she would move away from her. When she used a quiet voice, and asked her to come, Mouschi would come back and cuddle with her. Mouschi also worked with a man who was autistic. When he spoke, he mostly just repeated back what you said to him. He never looked directly at you. When Mouschi came in, he would walk right up to her, pet her, look her in the eyes, and say, “Mouschi! I love you! Mouschi, my dad and I went to Atlantic City! Mouschi, I love you.” He would have a conversation with her. Mom said that the staff would be peeking in at the doorway, and some of them had tears in their eyes. And guess what! For a few days after Mouschi had been there, this same man would greet mom in the hallway by looking at her directly and saying “Hi Terry! How’s Mouschi? When is she coming back”?
I think nothing more has to be said!!!
Please contact mom if you would like to post your dog’s(or cat or bird or rabbit) Therapy Animal story here on one of the coming Tuesdays. Thanks!!
Matilda Amanda Melinda Monique Cramer (my full name, another long story)