Dog World – Therapy Dogs!
| August 24th, 2011

Therapy Dogs in Dog World

Zoom Room Founder and Mascot Featured in Magazine

Therapy dog training allows you to share your dog’s love and comfort with those who need it most. Dog World magazine recently published a spotlight on therapy dogs, featuring Zoom Room founder, Jaime Van Wye, and therapy dog, Clyde the Komondor.

Jaime and Clyde, our unofficial Zoom Room mascot, are featured in Dog World magazine’s special e-booklet available only for Dog World subscribers. To subscribe and read about Jaime, Clyde, and other amazing therapy dog teams, visit Dog World.

You can also learn more about Therapy Dog Training at the Zoom Room.

Therapy Dog

One Response  
Debbie Dunn writes:

I would like to introduce you to Butch the dog with 9 lives. Butch is a 4-5 year old Catahuala, Sharpei, Pit Bull mix. He was found wondering in a mall parking lot on a Sunday afternoon. Being the intuitive dog that he is he wondered up to a Board Certified Orthopedic and Thoracic Veterinarian- Dr. Enwiller. Butch weighed 40 lbs and had a broken jaw. His coat was matted and rough. He had been abused and abandoned.

Butch was going to be put down and out of his pain if a new home for him was not found. Jill, an operator of a rescue came to Dr. Enwiller’s for another dog and after hearing his story decided she could find a home for him. That is where my family and I came into Butch’s life.

First let me say I was not an animal lover. My husband and I decided to adopt a dog for our then 11 year old son. We wanted to teach him responsibility and help him get over his fear of dogs.

I searched many websites and shelters looking for the perfect dog. I decided on a beautiful dog named Ginger. When I called about Ginger she had been adopted already and Butch was recommended. We went to see him and we ended up adopting him. Butch has been with us since March of 2012. It didn’t take long for him to capture my heart as well as my son and husbands. He is well behaved and almost the perfect dog.

I am a special education teacher at a midsize charter school in Mesa, Arizona. At the beginning of the school year Butch was introduced to my class of 8 self-contained students, and 9 resource students. Occasionally he would come to class and sit and read with the kids. Around mid August Butch started crying and shaking. We took him to the vet where we spent an entire weekend. Butch was admitted to ICU to determine what was wrong. At first we thought it was something in his dog food as we had just switched food and did not make the change gradually. Finally, we were told that Butch had a sprained muscle in his neck and was given a round of steroids, muscle relaxers, and pain pills for him. I could not leave him alone in the house as he started to get in the trash from the steroid use so he began coming to school everyday with me. I found my students loved it. Walking Butch at recess became the coveted job. Two of my students who have made very little progress in reading and writing over the last three years began arguing over who got to read to Butch first. The student I am the most concerned with suddenly took an interest in reading and spends all of his spare time next to Butch reading him stories. For the first time in three years he is starting to put meaning to words.
He even wrote two sentences independently so he could show them to Butch. As I have watched the progress over the last few weeks with my students we decided to make Butch our official Reading Therapy Dog.

With any school there are always those students who I lovingly refer to as “frequent flyers”. They are the kids who are always in trouble for something. We have several at our school.

After my principal came in and observed the classroom and Butch’s behavior and interactions with them she asked me if we could use Butch to possibly help some of the other students. The plan was for our frequent flyers to come to my room when they needed to calm down, or as a reward whatever the situation called for. Being a special education teacher I often deal with negative behaviors and felt it was worth a go. The first one came in some time last week. He had been fighting and was very agitated. As we walked back to my classroom, I explained I had a special dog in my room. Butch wanted to be his friend, but he really didn’t like fighting and being mean to other people. I asked him if he liked dogs and he said he did. I allowed him to pet Butch and tell Butch why he was so upset. He set out in a discourse of Spanish I did not understand. As I watched him pet and talk to Butch I could see him physically settling down. I then intervened and we talked about the fighting and attention etc. My new friend asked if he could come back another day. The deal was only when he behaved in his classroom. I saw him for the next two days due to negative behaviors, then not again for another day or two. I followed up with his classroom teacher, and she indicated he was doing much better. Now my friend gets to come to my class to pet Butch three times a day if he follows the teachers directions. This is making a big difference in his life. I know if we keep it up he will completely turn around. Butch has managed to change behaviors it normally would have taken me months to change with contracts and parent meetings, etc.

When Butch is at school he acts just like the students. He sits in the middle of their desk rows. He lines up to go out for recess. He thinks he needs a snack at snack time. It is really quite funny to watch.

Anyway, Thursday night when I went to bed, Butch was in pain again, shaking, crying, not moving etc.We are now on round three of medication. This morning I got up and gave him his meds and got ready for work. Butch was laying under the kitchen table. Oby (my husband) said he was going to work from home after he took Butch back in to see Dr. Enwiller today so Butch could just relax. I picked up my stuff and started to walk towards the door. Butch got up cried a bit and walked to the door. I tried everything I could to coax him away so I could leave for work. He wouldn’t budge. Finally I opened the door and he walked to the car and waited for me to open the door. Again, I tried to coax him back in the house. I even tried a treat. It didn’t work. I opened the car door he cried as he got in and up on the seat. Oby and I decided he could just go for a car ride and take me to work. As soon as I got to school and opened the door to get out he went between the front seats and out the door straight to my classroom. I opened the classroom door and he walked to the front of the room where he could see all the desks laid down and cried and didn’t move for most of the day.

After calling Dr. Enwiller, Oby came to pick him up and give him the extra meds. He refused to get up or leave the room. He just sat and watched the kids all day. I explained to them he was very sick and they couldn’t touch him so he didn’t get hurt or feel more pain. The kids all made him get well cards during their lunch and recess time unsolicited by me. It was very cute to watch them make them and then read them to Butch.

After the extra meds kicked in Butch would get up and walk around for a minute or two and then lay back down. The last ten minutes of the day the teacher next to me asked if Butch could come visit her class today as they had been extra good. I explained to her he wasn’t feeling to good and it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. As we were talking for a few seconds Butch slipped between my legs and into her classroom. All of the students were sitting on the floor in a large circle. He nosed his way into the center of the circle. At that point I decided I should tell the class that Butch needed extra special gentle pets. He walked all the way around the circle so all the kids could gently pet him. Then he came back to me and went back into my classroom where he laid back down with a grunt, and a sigh. He just stayed there for another hour until I went home. We came home and he laid in the living room floor for the rest of the night.

He is such an amazing dog. I wouldn’t have believed he would put the kids before his own needs until I saw it with my own eyes today.

Over the weekend Butch has continued to get worse. The cocktail of pain medication, muscle relaxers, and steroids are no longer controlling his pain. He is not responding anymore. By the time this morning came he would not move even to eat. He had difficulty swallowing his meds because he didn’t want to lift up his chin. My husband took him back to Dr. Enwillers office. They felt the best thing for him was to stay at the hospital and have a CT scan. The diagnosis right now is that he has ruptured disks. The surgery is estimated to be at $5000.00. I have no idea what rehab he will need after that.

We are highly concerned at the amount of financial stress we may be facing with him. We are grateful for any of your help, suggestions, and support. We want to make sure we make the right decisions that will be best for Butch. It is very difficult watching him suffer as he does. In just the short amount of time we have had him he was won over every heart. He has given everything he can and asks nothing in return except love. Even my three year old neighbor keeps praying “Butch get better, please.”

Hello everyone. I just wanted to give you an update. Today has been a difficult day. Lots of waiting…. In my previous posts I talked about my classroom students. Today, I explained to them that Butch was in the hospital and was going to have surgery. I told them he might not be able to come to our class again. (I felt I needed to prepare them for the worst just in case.) Our journal topic was pets…Several of them wrote about Butch in the journals under that topic. I corrected the spelling only in the following journal entries.

“Butch has helped me to do my work.” Matthew

“Butch makes me feel love and safe in the classroom and in the school as well and he is the best dog in the school and he is the best dog to read to. He is great to us in the classroom and I love him. He is my friend. I want him to get better. ” Rilye

“Butch makes me feel happy.” Ashton

“Butch helps me by make me comfortable. He makes me feel happy. He helps me know how to read. Butch helps me spell.” Dana

“Butch makes me feel comfortable when he is around. I am so sorry that he is hurt. I am sad that he is hurt. I am happy he is safe and another reason is that he is always nice to everybody. He reminded me about my dog that died. He was a nice dog. One day he got very sick like Butch. He wouldn’t eat but he would drink water. Then he died we buried him in our backyard. I don’t want Butch to die or Mrs. Dunn to be sad like that.” McKayla

As you can see these kids recognize the impact he has made on them in just the last six weeks. That is why I felt I had to save him again and go forward with the surgery. I could not leave him in pain and suffering, nor could I end the life that had so affected others. The only way I could pay for Butch’s surgery was with a credit card with 25% interest. I appreciate those who have helped, but I have a long way to go in being able to pay for this surgery. Thank you to all who have donated so far. You will never know what it means to me, my family, and my little class of students. For those who can only afford positive thoughts and prayers Thank you for those as well.

Today has been a quiet day. Butch is still resting and recuperating. His appetite seems to be calming down a bit. He was very excited to come to school this morning. His tail couldn’t have wagged more. Once he got here he made sure all was well and settled down for a few naps.

The students in my classroom come from low-socioeconomic backgrounds. My school is a Title 1, inner-city school. Their parents work hard for what they have and many do not have much. This morning before school started two of my students brought me a handful of coins. They told me they were to pay for Butch’s hospital bill and wanted to know if it was enough. The grand total was $1.64. It was all they had, but it was enough. I didn’t have the heart to tell them I still had $3700.00 plus interest to go.

Butch loves the kids. I believe he was placed perfectly in the universe to find his place and love in life. We continue to pray more donations will come, and that Butch will continue to heal so that we might all enjoy him for many more years to come. He is an incredible dog with an incredible story.

Thank you for your time.
Thank you for all the support you give in helping these kind animals find loving homes.
From a very recent dog lover.

Debbie Dunn

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