Facility Dog Ruth was placed with Allison nearly a year ago. We asked Allison to reflect on their first year together as a Facility Dog Team.
Allison: I have always loved dogs and have often thought about getting one. However, I never did because I knew that the dog would have to be home alone all day and that didn’t seem like a good idea. I found out about the Dogs for Better Lives Facility Dog program completely by accident. Once I learned what it was, I knew that I had to apply. Not only would this program allow me to have a dog, something I had always wanted, but it would also provide my students with access to a dog which would help them out in untold ways. Add to that a school that is willing to try new and unique things, and I felt like it was the best thing I had ever come across.
As I was working on getting approval from my administration, I began imagining all the things that a dog could do for my students and how helpful it would be for them. Looking back now, I realize that everything I thought of was only the tip of the iceberg.
Ruth has done, and continues to do, so many wonderful things to help my students in so many wonderful ways.
I remember the morning I first laid eyes on Ruth. I opened my email and saw a message from Dogs for Better lives. When I opened it up, I saw the picture of Ruth, I was so excited! I fell in love with her immediately – she was so cute and so happy. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening, and that she was actually going to be my dog. I couldn’t wait to meet her!
I fell in love with her immediately – she was so cute and so happy. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening, and that she was actually going to be my dog. I couldn’t wait to meet her!
After taking it all in for a minute, I turned to my coworkers and shared the picture of Ruth with them. They were so excited and began asking all kinds of questions. We began planning what we were going to do when she got here and thinking of all the ways she was going to help the kids. It was such an exciting moment, and I couldn’t wait to share the news with everyone!
When Ruth and her trainer Emily came to my house, I was a little nervous and very excited. I had fallen in love with Ruth from the picture and description that Emily had sent. I know it sounds a little crazy but, I was hoping that Ruth would like me as much as I already liked her. As it turned out she was super happy to meet me. I remember opening the door and seeing her happy face and her tail just wagging and I knew that this was going to be a great adventure. We became fast friends!
She also helps me remember why I got into teaching and to take time to enjoy the little moments with the kids. I can’t picture my life or my work without her!
Ruth at Work
I have one student who absolutely loves Ruth. The first day he was back at school after the summer, Ruth and I came into the building. He saw Ruth and I coming and yelled, “RUTH!” at the top of his lungs. While he was running towards us, he asked if he could pet Ruth. I brought Ruth over to him. He began petting her, and pretty soon we were surrounded by a crowd of friends giving her love and saying how much they had missed her over the summer. It was very cute and very sweet.
The next day the same thing happened and a few more of my students were there in addition to some kids who were new to the school. One of my students asked if they could have a squish from Ruth. Then a few others followed suit. It was very cute to watch them all wait their turn and then get super excited as Ruth laid on their backs. It made their day.
There are so many ways Ruth has made a difference in our school. It happens every day! She has made an impact on me, too. She reminds me to come to work with enthusiasm and excitement and to go with the flow. She also helps me remember why I got into teaching and to take time to enjoy the little moments with the kids. I can’t picture my life or my work without her!
Interested in our Facility Dog Program? To learn more or apply for a dog, visit dogsforbetterlives.org/facility-dogs.