Monday, December 13, 2010


Do you know an 'Angel' when you see one? They come in small packages as well. They touch your life and heal you in a way that you may not even realize. I know of one such angel, a little Pug named Jeanie who helped a little child learn to walk. Today i will be sharing her story.

Jeanie is frisky little Pug, from our Therapy dogs team in Pune. She is full of life and reminds us of how infectious the joy of an animal can be. She can make everyone around her smile, even if they are not dog lovers . She loves children and plays with the children from her building in the garden every day. She has this one friend, a child who was very different from others. This child was born with Downs Syndrome and even at age 2 1/2 years, he was not able to walk. But he adored Jeanie and would squeal with joy every time he would meet her. Jeanie was roped in to be his Therapy Dog and help him learn to stand up on his own and walk. This boy was already undergoing many other therapies but the progress was really slow and his mother had started to worry about him.

When Jeanie started visiting him, the first change that his mother saw was in his willingness to do the exercise that would help him walk. He was asked to do an exercise where his mother would hold him by his waist and make him walk, but he would just refuse to stand up. Then an interesting activity was introduced to the boy by the animal therapist. He was asked to hold Jeanie's leash while Jeanie ran around in the room. This got him so excited that he got ready not just to stand up but to try and run behind Jeanie, dragging his mother along with him. Initially he would not be able to walk for long and would scream out of frustration when he would fall down. At such times Jeanie would quickly go besides him and nudge him. This activity was such a motivation for him, that he slowly learned to place his foot properly and stand independently. Jeanie would put her paws on a small table and 'stand' and the boy would also try and imitate her, hold on to the table and stand. This is how he learned to stand on his own. He was so gentle with Jeanie, he would feed her small treats and play ball with her. He also learned to open and fix her collar leash. This also helped him to improve his fine motor skills. Gradually, his mother did not need to hold him by his waist, she would just hold his hand. In the other hand, he would hold Jeanie's leash and they would walk around the entire house. So much so that the house was not enough for the child to run and the sessions were taken in the garden. The boy's physiotherapist was amazed to see such fast progress in the child.

The sessions in the garden were even more fruitful. Now that the boy had learned to walk holding Jeanie's leash, the mother slowly tried leaving the other hand so that the boy would walk on his own holding Jeanie's leash. Yes he did fall a couple of times, but Jeanie was always besides him to motivate him to get up and try again. It was an overwhelming sight to see the little Pug help the little child to walk.

Today the child is able to walk, run, hop, jump and play with this friends. Jeanie is still a integral part of his life and he meets her every evening. Jeanie has not just helped him to learn to walk but has also provided him unconditional emotional support and given him self confidence to last a life time.

To know more about me and our team of therapy dogs at Animal Angels, log on to our website:

Aren’t I Lucky ..?

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