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Heartwarming Stories of Our Therapy Dogs Making a Difference with Individualised Sessions

Heartwarming Stories of Our Therapy Dogs Making a Difference with Individualised Sessions

Oh, we love to share stories about the power of mentoring with therapy dogs! At Canine Comprehension, we foster confidence, resilience, and motivation by supporting students' learning journey. Our highly qualified mentors and friendly therapy dogs conduct personalised sessions tailored to each student's unique needs. The bond between therapy dogs and students is crucial in helping young individuals overcome limiting beliefs and learning-related anxiety while also developing resilience, empathy, and positive peer relationships. Here, we share three recent stories about the remarkable impact of mentoring with therapy dogs in empowering students to thrive!

1. Jenny's Journey with Therapy Dogs at Canine Comprehension

Every wag of a tail and every gentle nuzzle holds the promise of transformation. In the heart of our animal-assisted intervention program, Jenny's story shines as a lesson of hope and progress. 

The Beginning: Challenges and Hope

Insurmountable challenges marked Jenny's initial encounter with our first individual sessions. Her vibrant personality often overshadowed her ability to connect meaningfully with her peers, and her struggle to focus made it difficult for her to engage fully in classroom activities. Despite her friendly disposition towards the therapy dog, Oscar, her interactions were sometimes inappropriate, reflecting her underlying difficulties.

Observations and Progress: Nurturing Growth

Jenny's gradual progress became evident throughout the sessions. With patience and guidance, she began to control her behaviours better and learn how to interact appropriately with Oscar. Small victories, such as practising the correct tone of voice and refraining from impulsive actions, showcased her growing understanding and resilience.

A Triumph Worth Celebrating: Jenny's Achievement

Jenny's journey culminated in a moment of determination and focus; she achieved her personal goal of having Oscar sit on her lap—a feat that seemed impossible at the outset. Her ability to maintain calm and composed, even amidst distractions, spoke volumes about her newfound confidence and self-control. As Jenny gently cradled Oscar, a sense of peace enveloped them both—a testament to the transformative power of the human-animal connection.

Looking Ahead: Embracing Possibilities

Though Jenny's time in the program was brief, the impact was profound. Her tears upon its conclusion reflected not just sadness at the end but her ability to be far more in tune with her 'big emotions'. For Jenny, Oscar had become more than just a therapy dog; he was a catalyst for positive change at school.

2. Exploring James' Journey: An Insight into Canine Comprehension's Library Program

At Canine Comprehension, we believe in creating inclusive spaces where every individual can thrive regardless of background or challenges. James' participation in our Frankston Library program is a testament to this belief.

Background of James: Navigating Challenges with ASD

As an only child living with ASD, James has faced his share of difficulties, including struggles with reading, concentration, and self-regulation. Despite these challenges, he brings a gentle spirit and a curious mind to our program. Accompanied by his carer, James joined our Reading Tails Library sessions, eager to spend time with our dogs alongside his peers.

Finding Comfort and Connection

James' initial sessions with us were marked by his enthusiasm and genuine interest in learning about Fern, our therapy dog. He eagerly participated in activities, showing particular excitement when Fern demonstrated tricks. Over time, James became a familiar presence, arriving early to assist in setting up Fern's space and eagerly engaging with each week's themed activities. Despite the age and ability differences among participants, James embraced the opportunity to interact with younger students and enthusiastically joined in every activity.

Nurturing Confidence and Curiosity

Throughout the program, James' confidence and curiosity blossomed. While he faced challenges with reading, he found support and encouragement from his peers and program facilitators. Whether it was through one-on-one reading sessions or participating in scavenger hunts, James approached each activity with enthusiasm and determination. The presence of Fern provided James with a source of comfort and focus, especially during mindfulness activities, where he found solace in stroking Fern.

Embracing Opportunities for Learning

As our program concluded, James expressed his sadness at its end but found comfort in the prospect of joining again. Whether exploring different library areas or learning to navigate the library computer, James embraced each opportunity with eagerness and openness.

A Journey of Discovery and Inclusion

James' journey with Canine Comprehension's Library program reflects the transformative power of inclusive education and the positive impact of animal-assisted interventions. As we look ahead, we remain committed to fostering environments where individuals like James can thrive, learn, and grow.

3. Ricky's Journey with Ned

Ricky's experience with Ned, the Therapy dog who looks like a teddy bear, showcases the transformative power of human-animal interaction. 

Navigating New Beginnings with Ned

During our first session, Ricky, who usually chooses not to speak yet makes himself understood in many creative ways, appeared cautious but curious about Ned. While walking with Ned, Ricky kept a vigilant eye on his new canine companion, showing a slight hesitation to engage fully. However, despite initial reservations, Ricky's interest in Ned was evident, as he motioned that he felt "happy" when prompted.

Building Confidence and Commanding Ned

As the weeks progressed, Ricky's confidence with Ned grew exponentially. He began to confidently command Ned with phrases like "sit," "sit down," and "drop" while taking him for walks outside. Ricky's smiles grew broader, his words increased and his engagement with Ned extended for longer.

Joyful Interactions 

Ricky's interactions with Ned were filled with joy and laughter. He delighted in leading Ned into cubby houses and encouraging him to jump onto ledges. Ricky's command of phrases like "sit, down, chair" showcased his growing comfort and familiarity with Ned. Though reminders were needed to handle Ned's tail gently, Ricky's excitement when Ned obeyed commands and his affection towards him was evident.

Ricky's Growth and Achievement

By the end of the 8-week program, Ricky's transformation was remarkable. His happiness throughout the sessions was palpable. With words like "sit," "drop," and "happy," Ricky not only communicated effectively but also formed a strong bond with Ned.

Celebrating Ricky's Success and Connection with Ned

Ricky's journey with Ned exemplifies the profound impact of our individual sessions. Through patience, encouragement, and Ned's companionship, Ricky blossomed into a more confident and engaged participant. As we celebrate Ricky's achievements, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering meaningful connections and empowering individuals like Ricky to thrive.

The stories of Jenny, James, and Ricky exemplify the profound impact of mentoring with therapy dogs. Through tailored sessions and the unwavering support of our dedicated mentors and therapy dogs, these students have experienced remarkable growth and transformation. 

Join us in this enriching journey and discover the incredible potential of mentoring with therapy dogs to empower students to thrive academically and personally. 

Click here to learn more about our mentoring services, including NDIS.

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