For many years Benny worked at a rehabilitation hospital participating in occupational and physical therapy. He worked in the gym alongside the therapists and was inspirational and motivational. And he knew so many behaviors to bring about the desired results. Now we only visit monthly to walk around on room visits and pop into the gym to visit with those during their sessions or to keep them company while waiting. Today showed me Benny still has an important role to play even though he doesn’t do the physical rehab work anymore. We met two clients who shared his history of strokes and totally related to what he went through when he had to rehab six years ago. Hearing Benny went through such a challenging time and never gave up encouraged them to share their stories with us. One person held him on her lap and Benny rode back to her room and another person continued with his bike work while Benny stayed right by his side encouraging him to go one more time! Benny is a bit different every day as he ages but he still has the most empathy of any dog. At one point close to the end of our hour he lay down and closed his eyes. The person we were with said she gets really tired after a workout too! There are so many ways in which our therapy animals contribute and as they age or experience changes, just revise what you have them doing. And appreciate that they are still capable of making a difference. I know Benny loves working and is his most happy when he wears his vest – even if he is taking a nap!
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