Staff, a boy and a dog

 Something amazing happened today…though it had been in the works over the past week.

There is a kid I meet with twice a week for individual training sessions, we will call him “D”.  I was asked to pair him with a dog because staff has not seen the progress that they would like.  Last week, while training his dog, “D” mentioned to me that he had an incident with a staff member at the Macomb County Juvenile Justice Center (JJC).  He said that he was feeling disrespected by the staff member so he disrespected this staff member.  The story he told led me to believe that he had just taken this staff member’s sense of humor the wrong way.  We discussed it for a bit and moved on.

Today, I had another appointment with “D”.  He had been working with a dog that had been adopted and I needed a new dog for him.  As I was on my way to the shelter to pick up a new dog, I got a phone call from “that” staff member, the one that “D” had the incident with, that she had just adopted one of our dogs from the shelter.  When I told her that I was on my way to pick out a new dog for a student she said, “Take my dog!”  So I did, not even thinking for a minute that this was the staff that was having a problem with the “D.”

Just after I arrived at the JJC, as I waited for my student to be brought down, I realized that it was this staff member and this child that were having the problem, and the new dog, Toi, was about to be in the middle of it!  How ironic, I thought.

As I worked with “D,” I kept thinking, “should I tell him who’s dog this is? If I do, when do I tell him?  After he falls in love with the dog? Before he works with the dog?”  All of these questions kept running through my mind!  Shortly after “D” started his training with the dog he was called out of program for a few minutes. When he returned, he asked, “Who’s dog is this?” (Apparently someone had mentioned something while he was gone and now he was wondering!).  I told him who’s dog it was.  The look on his face was priceless!  He looked at me, looked at the dog, and then back at me and said, “I still love this dog,” then he continued to work.

A few minutes later, guess who showed up?  That staff member!  She seemed surprised to see who was working with her dog.  She walked up and said, “Ya know, I think that deep down you really do like me, we just disagree sometimes.”  “D” said, “Yea, I think you’re right.”  They talked about Toi and he proceeded to show her all of the amazing things he had taught her dog in just a short period of time.

I just stood there, smiling and soaking in what I was watching take place.  A rift being mended, all because of this dog, this beautiful silver Thai Ridgeback/Pitbull mix named Toi.  I could not have planned for this moment to happen.

THIS is what Teacher’s Pet is all about!