Today Jacee was working at San Francisco Airport. The airport wants to start a therapy dog program modelled after the Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program at LAX. They invited a number of therapy dogs from the SPCA AAT program to the airport as a test. Besides Jacee, we had two toy Poodles, a Cockapoo, and a Golden Doodle.
The event was very well organized. We met in a large room filled with dog toys, where the dogs were allowed to play with each other off leash.
We visted an employee health and wellness fair, which was a convenient place for the dogs to meet and interact with many airport employees. Then we walked through a few of the terminals to meet passengers.
The airport staff seemed very happy with the results, and will be inviting all of us back to join their program if we wish.
We had our first visit as part of the Puppy Dog Tales children’s reading program today at Bryant Elementary School. Four 1st graders got to read to Jacee. The books read to her were No David by David Shannon, Go, Dog Go, by P.D. Eastman, and Elephants Cannot Dance and I Am Going, both by Mo Willems. The students get to pick the book they read to Jacee. One of the students could read perfectly, even while holding the book upside down so that Jacee could see the pictures. The other 3 students picked books that were slightly beyond their reading ability, and needed lots of coaching on how to pronounce many of the words. It should be fun watching their reading skills develop over the term.
We were back at the Montessori school today and had a great visit. We visited 2 rooms each with pre-kindergarten students. Everyone loved Jacee and she had a great time. Right now all AAT visits at this facility are to pre-kindergarten classes; it might be nice to get SPCA therapy animals into the older kids classrooms, where they could be educated about what the SPCA does.
This is definitely our favorite facility so far, and I would love it if we could return here when next year’s scheduling is done.
Jacee continues to demonstrate that she loves children. There were only 3 patients to meet; 2 in regular rooms and one in the ICU. Jacee’s size is not optimal for this facility; she is too small for the patients to reach her from their bed, and she is too big to get into bed with them. I had her do her “up” command which means to put her front legs on the side of the bed where the kids can pet her head. That worked pretty good, but she can only stay in that position for a minute or two before she gets tired.
She also met about 20 different staff members, plus a large group of medical students from Dominican University. Everyone loved her.
Jacee’s behavior was much improved over last week. The facility would love to have her back, and I would be happy to return there.
Jacee has been assigned to Bryant Elementary School for the Puppy Dog Tails reading program.
This is a K-5 school in a good neighborhood in Potrero Hill. The students are 88% Hispanic, 87% are socioeconomically disadvantaged, and 75% are learning English. More school stats are available here. My lack of knowledge of Spanish may be an advantage as it will force the kids to communicate in English.
This looks like a great opportunity for Jacee and I to make a difference. We have our initial meeting at the school next Wednesday, and if Jacee behaves well, then we she will be read to by students every other Tuesday morning.