I looked again. He just stood there and barked. I couldn't ignore it. Why was this dog standing in the middle of the street and barking? I went to see what was wrong. In the bushes I saw another dog, lying down. He showed no concern as I approached. The dog lying down looked up, but otherwise did not move. I thought perhaps it was injured. A third dog stood near-by. I left to call a friend who has done some rescues.
When I returned the three dogs had moved from one side of the street to the other. The one dog was still lying down. I decided to leave it alone until my friend arrived. While I was waiting I put a slip leash around the dog that had been barking. He had no collar, and a scruffy look. He seemed neither overly friendly, nor particularly concerned. While I waited the dog lying down suddenly got up and walked off casually, followed by the third dog. I was astonished. I hadn't thought it mobile, and here it was walking normally. That left me holding onto a big scruffy dog. Should I turn it loose?
No I couldn't turn it loose to the fates of the streets. So when my friend arrived we took my dog, Tanith, out of my car (I had just picked her up from being spayed). I put her in his car, then put this unknown quantity, the scruffy mutt, in my car and we drove them home.
At first I kept him in a kennel in the backyard. This he objected to loudly. He had a strong, piercing and very irritating bark. I figured if I didn't quiet him then someone was gonna shoot him. I brought him inside.
Tanith didn't hesitate. It was love at first sight. I did place an ad in several local papers. And I went down to animal control, read the lost ads, and put up a found ad. I received no calls. I was confounded. I had been thinking that I needed a larger dog; Tanith is just not very threatening. But this wire haired, big-footed beast? OH! Yes! was Tanith's response. So Oso stayed and has won my heart.
Oso, means "bear" in spanish. It reflects the coarseness of his black coat, and his big hairy feet. He is some kind of large breed terrier mix, with half-cocked ears. He has taught me patience because he will not be either rushed or pushed. Together we have attended obedience classes, and tried some tracking. He tracks well, but at a stroll; he lacked enthusiasm. I needed to find something that he could really enjoy. After observing him with the neighborhood kids, and in various public places, I knew what it was. My only hurdle then was how to get involved in Oso's kind of fun as a therapy dog.
This web site explores Oso's favorite hobby: he is a visiting dog at hospitals, convalescent homes, seniors centers and similar facilities. Almost no one knows what I am talking about when I say Oso is a therapy dog, or that we do animal assisted therapy. In explaining I hope that this web site will be both educational and inspiring. You can start with a story about Oso getting ready for a visit, or hop right into a discussion about animal assisted therapy.
On January 24, 2004 Oso left us and his pain behind. See
Oso's last story.
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Copyright © 1996-2003, Diane Blackman Created: September 23, 1996 Updated November 12, 2007
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