by Jennifer Greener
Children at the Yaffe Center were delighted to meet, pet and brush Beesly, a service dog in training from Paws & Affection. Beesly, a handsome white Labradoodle with a calm and friendly disposition, demonstrated some of his many skills to the children and staff. He can turn on lights, pick up dropped objects, open a door, and give a person a steady body for support when the person gets up from a chair. Each child had the opportunity to touch Beesly’s soft fur and stroke him with a grooming brush. Beesly loved the attention and the opportunity to make the children happy.
Beesly was accompanied by the directors and trainers at Paws & Affection, Laura O’Kane & Susie Daily as well as board member and dog trainer, Michaela Greif. Beesly will be ready for a full time service assignment this summer in either a facility environment or with an individual with physical disabilities. In the meantime, coming to school helps Beesly learn how to interact in a new situation with a wide variety of people. We are excited that Beesly will be returning to the Yaffe Center on a regular basis.
Beesly’s second visit yielded even more excitement than the first. All of the children were more alert, excited, engaged and relaxed with their new friend. During the recent visit, Beesly started working on some functional activities with our children. He helped a few children transition in and out of chairs, stand up from seated positions and stabilize themselves in order to stand and do an activity unaided by staff. This support enabled the children to be more independent despite their physical limitations! Beesly would also “get” requested objects and take them to the designated child or staff assisting children as part of their circle time and group activities. Some of the children also worked on fine motor skills such as opening their hands and using pincher grasp to feed Beesly his well-deserved treats! Our children, of course, had plenty opportunity to interact with Beesly; and there was much affection going on by our children, staff and Beesly alike!
Beesly has 3 more bi-weekly scheduled visits at Yaffe Center, after which time the Paws & Affection and Easter Seals teams will discuss additional opportunities for Beesly to work with our program.