Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dogs at the Children's Museum, Boston






     Today was the day for a new type of volunteering. Bogie and I went to the Children's Museum feeling a bit confused about what we were to do, though game for anything. There were about a million children and parents on this particular Saturday and I found the noise quite dismaying. However, we headed up in the elevator and headed to the end of the hall for our station which was marked by a sign saying that the dogs were there to be petted and that this event was sponsored by Dog B.O.N.E.S. 
     I don't think the sign said much about what therapy dogs do --- visit hospitals, or go to schools where children read to them, or have old folks in nursing homes enjoy them. But it did invite the children to interact with the dogs in the way that they interact with so much in that museum.
     I mistakenly thought that one dog and owner at a time sat in the assigned place so I told the owners of the Australian Shepherd that we were relieving them. The woman didn't believe me. The man got up like a shot and urged her to leave, leaving Bogie and I sitting off to the side on a bench near a relatively popular room.
     We were taken care of by Jonathan, a young guy who is just going into eleventh grade. He explained that each of these special youth ambassadors (who are paid for part-time work by a fund that helps kids from what I assume are economically difficult backgrounds get work experience and also offers a small number of college scholarships) speak at least two languages. He speaks Japanese and Haitian-Creole. 
     Jonathan would ask passersby whether they wanted to pet the dog, but we had a few customers. That might have been for the best since Jonathan, who had been afraid of dogs. spent most of his time petting Bogie. 
    Around 1:00, a most remarkable gray dog named Mia came along, maybe a cockapoo, with a fabulous face And having two dogs seemed to encourage more children come over and pet them. 
    About an hour later, a woman with a yellow mat and The Dude joined us. She said that dogs see yellow and blue which is why she'd made the bright mat to take to reading sessions with him. I thought they also see red, but I'm probably wrong. The Dude stirred up quite a bit of business because he's an extrovert and dances in a circle for a treat.
     The owner of the Papilon knew The Dude's owner so they chatted about various 'add-ons' they've taken from Dog B.O.N.E.S., the therapy association that certifies and insures all of our dogs. Their dogs had rather official outfits while the amusing gray dog and Bogie have regulation scarves. 
     I imagine Bogie would have stayed indefinitely, but I ran out of steam after about two hours. We left when the woman with the Papilon was reading to several kids.

3 comments:

  1. i was wondering what you've been up to.
    bogie looks very handsome in his bandanna, but i find the role he is supposed to play there a bit unclear?.... just something nice for a child to connect with...or more? maybe i dont understand the structure? and what does the owner/you do?

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  2. Since my dog and i are rather similar in temperament, introverts. We sat there. He was supposed to be patted by whoever wanted to pat him. When it was just Bogie and me, along with Jonathan, not many kids came over. But when The Dude appeared, lots of families were attracted to the small space we occupied.

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  3. Browsing the Net looking for a present for my wife for our wedding anniversary (which I nearly forgot), I came by chance upon this fantastic site called wahooart.com, based probably in Paris. Talk about the Louvre having a big collection of priceless masterpieces, this site has just about everything in Western art, but as digital files.
    What they do is to make good reproduction prints from your choice of work from their archive. I know that the prints are good because I ordered online, a print that was on canvas, like a painting. I specified the size and even chose a frame at their site.
    A bit awkward when the gift was delivered early to my door, luckily while my wife was not home. What did I choose? This glorious nude by the German artist George Grosz: http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LHV5V and it's hanging gloriously large above our bed head now. Risqué? Sure. But my wife and I love it.

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