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.