Finn did well at the nursing home this week. He didn't growl or jump on anyone and he didn't seem fearful or nervous. Some of the residents we met had just finished dinner so Finn was very interested in making sure he cleaned all food remnants off hands. He was exhausted by the time we left but the instructor seemed to think that we did well.
I've come to realize that perhaps these visits are going to be harder for me than for him. Those of you who know me won't be surprised to hear that I'm not the most outgoing person around. Don't get me wrong, as an adult I've definitely gotten better about speaking in public and talking to strangers, but it was a challenge for me to walk through a nursing home, pop my head into rooms and ask complete strangers if they want to pet my dog. Add in the fact that many of these folks can't hear, can't understand what I'm saying and/or just don't know what's going on and I was pretty far outside my comfort zone. At one point the instructor said to me, "I think this is good training for you, too". That's an understatement!
I got more comfortable towards the end of the visit as I started to know what to expect and began to see how much joy the dogs brought to some of the residents. But I am truly envious of some of my fellow trainees who seemed to know exactly what to say and appeared to be so comfortable in talking to the residents. I'm definitely not a natural but hopefully I'll improve with time and practice!
5 days ago