The Love Dog animal therapy team was invited to join PSI as they spread holiday joy for over eight hundred students and their families at the Oran K. Gragson Elementary School in downtown Las Vegas. The Love Dogs team is comprised exclusively of Pet Partner trained and registered therapy handlers and dogs and is the Las Vegas Affiliate of the international Pet Partner program.
Each year PSI hosts Giving Day and adopts a local school as the recipient of their “carnival”.” Not only did each child and their family experience a wonderful event including face painting, balloon making, meeting Santa and other fun activities, but each child received new shoes and clothing and the families were given bags of food to take home.
The Love Dogs were positioned in a trailer next to the Shoe Trailer – a prime location for sure! The line for shoes was incredible but the line to meet the Love Dogs rivaled it!
The four Love Dog teams were spread around the room, the dogs lying on their blankets. As families came in, the dogs perked up and were so happy to greet each and every child. Our handlers took the time to teach each child how to greet a dog safely and they all got to practice the three steps: Ask the owner if you may pet their dog, let the dog sniff your hand palm down and then pet the dog gently where the owner suggests.
We had a nice variety of breeds on hand including a Golden, Boise, Italian Greyhound, Dash, Airedale, Cassidy and the teeny tiny poodle Petey.
Every child was gentle and loving towards the dogs and all enjoyed telling us about their pets at home. Several children wanted to cradle Petey in their arms. The trailer was a bit chilly with the door opening so often, but we wrapped Petey up in his blanket and he was comfortable. I told him it was ok to give little kisses today – usually in health facilities we have the No Lick rule! But today he kissed lots of little noses and was so happy.
Dash was especially joyful and posed for pictures. Cassidy loved having kids come up to her and admire her beauty and learn about her breed and her new brother, KC. And Boise did what Boise does best, snuggle up to everyone.
The Love Dogs were proud to be invited to participate in Giving Day with PSI and look forward to many holiday gatherings at local Las Vegas schools in the future.