My therapist has a miniature Poodle named Teddy, and he is her assistant therapist. He comes out of the office to get me from the waiting room, either barking at me or nosing my leg, depending on his mood, and then he does his Gumby-like stretch to relieve the stress of his very difficult job. He is my yoga guru; he does not seem to have bones at all.
Teddy is eight and a half years old and I have known him since he was a ball of puppy fluff. He was shy at first. He slept on his Mom’s lap or looked at me with suspicion. I spent a large part of two years in therapy working on my relationship with Teddy. If I was too eager to pick Teddy up early on, he would let me know, by backing up and walking away. But the next week he’d let me try again. And if I overcorrected, by not reaching out at all, he’d take a step closer to let me know he was willing to be addressed. He worked with me, and the more carefully I listened to his cues, the better he liked me and rewarded me, with attention and kisses.
Teddy is the reason I looked for a Poodle mix when it was time to get a new dog. Before I met him, Poodles looked too frou frou to me, with those strange dog show haircuts (pompoms on the tush, etc) and prissy bows and ribbons in their hair. But Teddy had a puppy hair cut that made him look like a real dog. He gets his hair cut every four or five weeks, because his groomer is something of a tyrant about inappropriate hair length for miniature Poodles, but also because his hair starts to cover his eyes and his black eyes are impossible to see through the poof of black hair.
When I brought Cricket home, six years ago, one of the first places she went was to therapy to meet Teddy. I brought all of her paraphernalia with me in the equivalent of a diaper bag. There was a wee wee pad, poopie bags, paper towels, water, tissues, a chew toy, a soft toy, and treats. Cricket fell in love with Teddy, and with my therapist, right away. She tried to jump onto both of their laps and sniff all of Teddy’s toys and every corner of the room. Teddy took to hiding behind his Mom’s wicker chair so that Cricket couldn’t sniff his butt. He had to growl at her, to warn her away, because she wasn’t listening to his cues and taking it slow. Cricket is not good at adapting to other people’s rules.
Teddy prefers when I don’t bring my dogs. He likes to sit on my lap, facing me. He sits like a little gentleman, and leans into scratchies, until I have to hold him up, like the leaning tower of puppy. He is starting to get some grey hair on his chin, but he’s still mostly black velvet and very amenable to being scratched.
He has a “little” sister, an eighty pound Golden Retriever, who comes galloping up the stairs to visit the office sometimes. I’ll have Teddy on my lap and his sister next to me, giving me her closed-eyed smile while she gets her scratches. This is my idea of effective therapy.
No wonder my therapy sessions were so ineffective!! I needed Teddy – desperately. 🙂 Teddy and his sister sound like the perfect team. Lucky you!
I think therapists should specify, with dogs or without, when they advertise. It would save a lot of time. Teddy and his sister are very good at what they do.
Teddy is adorable. I think animals are very comforting. Petting or walking Max is my favorite therapy.
Pet therapy should be widely available and free. Just saying.
I’m sure he is a wonderful therapist – like all dogs. Have a wonderful sunday :o)
Fire the expensive therapist and use Cricket and Butterfly. They work for treats.
I could never do without Teddy, I mean, Teddy’s Mom.
In our family Continuum we have a saying: “Be wary of people who don’t like animals…or if animals don’t like them.” Obviously, Teddy and his sister (what’s her name?) say you check out ok! A DOG, rather than CAT, scan…but tells you a lot nevertheless!
Teddy took a long time to decide that I checked out. He had to put me through a lot of tests, much too subtle for me to understand. His Golden sister, Delilah, believes that any human who is willing to give scratchies has to be good.
You are so very blessed…Teddy and his sister together…what a treat!!!!
Now we just need a therapy group for dogs, maybe six or seven at a time, as long as I can squeeze in.
As the slave of a Golden Retriever, I have to agree – dogs are the best therapy. (My Max is actually certified as a therapy dog, and it just amazes me to see the miracles he works sometimes.)
Teddy would follow his Golden sister anywhere. She has been great therapy for him.
What a cutie Teddy is. He wants your undivided attention how sweet. Hugs and nose kisses for Teddy and his sister.
Teddy is very good at focusing his attention on his people and on giving kisses.
I think that Teddy and his sister sound like the perfect therapy duo. What is it about those four-legged therapists that makes them so effective?
It helps that dogs don’t lie. They may try to lie, when they’ve done something wrong, but they are terrible at it. So, extreme honesty mixed with a genuine desire to give kisses and get pets, where can you go wrong?
Incredible what can be learned from a being that only has the capacity to listen and love.
I’m pretty sure I survived the first few years of my life because my otherwise crazy Doberman Pinscher loved me and would sit down and listen to whatever I had to say. Of course, being a child, I knew to do the same for him. We were a mutual appreciation society.
Scratching a dog’s head is always good therapy–it is amazing to me how a dog can help us get out of “ourselves” even if for a moment-great post!
Thank you! Cricket believes in barking therapy. If she notices me focusing for too long, on anything, she starts to bark. She believes this will prevent spiraling depression.
The dentist that I used to visit had a huge aquarium and the slow moving fish tried to set a relaxing mood for the patients in the waiting room. I would have preferred a dog to calm my nerves before the dreaded drilling began. 🙂
I bring doggy pictures with me to the dentist, to show to the fish. They seem to like it.
The mechanic where I used to take my car had a cat in the shop. He called his receptionist.
Cats seem to like that job. The groomer Cricket and Butterfly go to also has a black cat minding the phones.
LOL! I saw a T-shirt the other day; “My Therapist Has A Wet Nose” – I’ll bet you could find it on zazzle.com or another T-shirt site…Woof!
Now if only I could get one Butterfly’s size…
I know another therapy dog…Mr. Watson! He was rescued from an animal shelter, his mom a pastor takes him when they visit nursing homes so you can imagine how much they are welcomed. He is about 12 yrs or so and always a welcomed visitor in our office as well. They are the best medicine in the world.
I’m picturing him walking down the halls of the nursing home, doffing his hat to the residents, to a chorus of, How do you do, Mr. Watson, how lovely to see you today. I think I’m losing my mind.
he is a gentleman – always polite and well behaved. 😉
Absolutely adorable! I love it!
He is so sweet!
I can’t take any of the credit, but when I told him he was now famous he nodded, like, as it should be.
He’ll be even more famous – I just put your link on my facebook page!
Wow! Thank you!
Omg! Your dogs are adorable! I used to ha r a min. Poodle! He was adorable.this post brought a smile to my face because he looks just like my dog.
I think Teddy’s secret is that you have to search so hard to find his eyes in all of that hair, by the time you find them, you are hypnotized.
This is why they use dogs in aged care centres. Patty B is quite correct about the use of dogs as therapy – best medicine in the world. Thank you for yet another great post and story
I’ve noticed that a lot of the older people in my synagogue live in apartment buildings that don’t allow pets, and I often wonder if there should be special doggy play centers, like there are cooling centers for the elderly over the summer. Butterfly would totally volunteer!
That’s a great – brilliant – idea – Dog Therapy Centre, like a chess area but where people dome to interact with dogs. It would be different from a dog park and have different rules. I don;t know how your system works but can you talk to someone about that idea? I expect the Rabbi would be a good place to begin.
What a perfect Therapy duo , and how it works..relaxing comes in many forms This is the best Medicine ..I wouldn’t be without my Doggies.
Great Post Rachel .
Thank you! Teddy has been a very big help in working through my relationship issues with my own dogs. He’s very insightful.
Dogs do wonders for the soul, heart, and mind. Teddy is absolutely adorable! What a wonderful therapy companion. 🙂
I always look forward to seeing him. He makes everything better.
Dogs are such great healers! There should be dogs in every hospital. I can’t understand places that won’t let dogs in because of ‘germs’. Hospitals are full of germs anyway, so bringing dogs in would make no difference – I reckon there’d be more danger of the dog catching something from the hospital than the hospital catching something from the dog! 🙂
I heard about a family that snuck in their toy poodle for a visit when the patriarch was in the hospital. I’m sure the nurses were fine with it, in fact, the nurses could use some animal therapy to help them through their day as well.
Oh how I love this!!! Dogs are great therapists! 🙂
My lab went to several appointments with me, too.
Clearly we need to exchange our complicated medications for regular applications of dog spit. Yes, the delivery system can be expensive (dog food, dog beds, vet bills, a large number of poopie bags), but there are no significant side effects!
Excellent points!! 🙂
The best part of all…unconditional love!!
Great pictures!! I understand why you would love to live army dog town 🙂 I think I would to now!!
I don’t think any dog, or person, could ever be bored there.
Sweet, sweet dog.
He really is.
Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I like your dog too. Dianne
Thank you for coming by!
What a cute story, and Teddy is quite the little “bear” 🙂
He is a little bear, a very skinny little bear, with a very big voice.
Funny about how an animal can know more about us than we know about ourselves within minutes of meeting us.
They don’t get so distracted by what we’re wearing and what we’re thinking. They focus right in on how we smell, and how much we love them.
Wonderful story. Poodles of all sizes are very smart and adaptive. Like the French if they accept you it is on their terms and you are blessed.
There are times when Teddy does seem to be murmuring in French, under his breath, but I can’t quite make it out.
He is probably talking through his nose.
(My French teacher told the class the secret to speaking good french was to speak through your nose. Having hay fever, I knew I was in trouble with that class right away.) 😉
Oh, my! I just love this post, and I love Teddy! I have to say that if there was a dog in my therapist’s office, I’d probably get nothing accomplished and have to find a new therapist. Swoony sigh…if only.
Petting a puppy and being licked until you feel like you are drowning IS therapy. You just fit in the talking when he takes his nap.