This blogpost has been written by Michele Peddle, proud owner of "Jasmine", who is pictured left with Ryan, her Reading Buddy.
In November 2013, a few of my fellow Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) team mates and I entered the Bowmanville Santa Claus parade with our therapy dogs for the second year in a row. This year I was ready and punch holed 150 of my business cards and attached them to candy canes for our group to hand out during the parade. In early December I received an email from a woman named Kelly. She saw us in the parade, and hoped that TPOC could help her 9 year old son, how, she didn't know, but thought it was worth a shot contacting me.
Ryan, her son, at age 4 wasn't feeling well and went to bed with what Kelly and her husband thought were "cold" related symptoms. The next morning when Kelly went in to wake him up to get ready for their usual corporate life, Ryan was non-responsive....thankfully her husband had the wherewithal to call 911. Kelly froze, she didn't know what to do.
Ryan was transported to Bowmanville Hospital, and then air-lifted to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. Ryan was in a coma for weeks. They didn't know what his future looked like, if at all. It turned out that Ryan's blood sugar plummeted to .8 overnight and left him non-verbal and without controlled gross motor functions.
So now, here we are 5 years later, at the Santa Claus parade.
I met with Kelly (Ryan's Mom) in their home in Bowmanville. She was anxious to meet Jasmine and I and hoped that we could visit Ryan in their home. They had considered getting him a service dog, but realized that wouldn't fit into their lifestyle. Sadly, after hearing her story, I had to tell her that under TPOC policies I wasn't insured to visit Ryan privately unless there was an EA or some other form of medical supervision at the visits, and even then, I would require special permission.
I suggested that perhaps, if his school was willing, we could have a Paws to Read © program, where not only Ryan, but the rest of his classmates, could benefit from our visits. Kelly was delighted and went to the Principal with our game plan.
I soon met with the Principal, a lovely woman, Mrs. B. Smith, and 4 other school employees. Kelly, Ryan’s Mom, was there with us, as well.
I was prepared, brought all pertinent paper work, answered their questions, and we discussed what we could do for the other kids whose needs might be different from Ryan’s. The Principal was beyond excited.
While winding down the meeting, the Principal said, "I want more than 1 hour per week. I'm so excited to be a part of this program...what can you do about that?”
One of my fellow team mates, Brigette Balling, who has 2 certified therapy dogs, Donner being Child Certified, works at the Brain Injury Clinic in Whitby. I had given her the heads up about the meeting with the school, and wondered if she thought she could manage to get a couple of hours a week to help me with the program. Her Employer has given Brigette permission to volunteer at the school, during business hours, for her 1 hour per week.
This is what dreams are made of...and justifies to me that everything happens for a reason.
P.S. Ryan’s Mom didn't get a business card or a candy cane at the parade!
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Misty Update: After a strange few days of limping involving the leg that underwent surgery in November, I took Misty back to Dr. Jackie at the Clarington Animal Hospital. The xray told a disturbing and puzzling story of healing in the bone -- or rather, a reversal of healing. Where there was healing obvious in January, there now is an unsettling blackness. We'll be seeing the specialist (a surgeon) tomorrow.