Ray Chin who will be evaluated with his new canine friend Dasher in a few weeks, sent this to me, he said I could share.
As I was thinking about the fun Dasher and I have had with your classes, something occurred to me. You are teaching us (humans and dogs) to get beyond devotion, which is obvious by watching everyone in class. You are teaching us how to understand each other—dogs learning how to understand humans, and humans to understand dogs. Your constant reminders bring us back to this mutual understanding that is the basis for a strong partnership and is the essential element for any visit. When I visit a school the children are initially focused on my dog, but as the excitement dies down they notice me, not for myself, but as part of the relationship between me and my dog. If they see caring, sharing, patience, and love then we’ve done our job regardless of what happens, be it planned or unexpected. I am always conscious of this because I know that 50% of all children in America have witnessed domestic violence. Therefore, I know that some children in every classroom have seen what a poor partnership looks like and may not realize how to make good partnerships. When Dasher (or Plato) would not perform as expected, I explicitly forgave him or gave him a second chance or said that he wasn’t ready and let it go. This was the teachable moment for what a caring relationship is. I think that your organization’s name, Caring Animal Partners, is more meaningful than I first realized.