What a glorious experience we had yesterday!! As mentioned in posts below, a psychiatrist and caseworker from the San Antonio State Hospital contacted us a while ago about a client of theirs that they felt would benefit from a Service Dog. Mind you, the State Hospital has been in existence for over 100 years – and this is the first Service Dog they have decided to try with a patient! They regularly have Therapy Dogs that visit patients, but this one particular client and the acumen of her psychiatrist decided that based upon the client’s PTSD and other diagnoses, she would be a perfect candidate for this. The client has been “practicing” taking care of one of the psychiatrist’s dogs for months – learning how to properly take care of it, walk it, feed it, give it love and snuggles, and do some basic training. She has done a marvelous job – and that is why they feel a Service Dog will greatly benefit her as I train with her weekly at the hospital until she is ready to go out into the world on her own, with her SD by her side.
Finding the right dog for her was a bit of a challenge, but thanks to Val Moore, who rescues and fosters so many dogs in need (with the help of her husband – had to put that in there!), we found the perfect dog at ACS – Sammie. Sammie is a 1 1/2 year old small mixed breed with the most gentle and loving nature. Sammie was going to go to be permanently with the client last week, but one of the stitches in her spay popped due to an improper closing of the wound. So, Val lovingly took the dog to her own veterinarian, and the popped stitch is healing beautifully.
Val, her husband, myself, the psychiatrist, and the caseworker met with the client yesterday so the client could at least meet Sammie and hold her. It was love at first site for both of them! It was such a beautiful thing to see how gently and carefully the client held Sammie, who was swaddled in a blanket to keep her stitching area clean – the client was overloaded with kisses from Sammie and Sammie’s tail wagged the whole time!! I know the client will take the best care of Sammie – of course, always supervised by staff – and I will train with the two of them weekly. The client is already making a beautiful purple collar with butterflies on it for little Sammie – which was quite a coincidence, since Val brought Sammie on a purple leash and collar!!
The client loves to create beautiful, expressive artwork, and it is very therapeutic for her. This forward-thinking psychiatrist has a very holistic approach when working with clients, and it has helped the client start to work through her past issues and project hope for her future.
A HUGE thank-you to Val and her husband for taking the time to bring Sammie to visit the client with me. What a wonderful future both the client and Sammie have to look forward to!!!!