Gopher, Chad, and Carla are all volunteers. They do not officially represent any institution that may be mentioned.
(Special Thanks to Elizabeth Lamae for helping with the images)
Gopher, Squirrel, Carla and I began visiting with a new patient about eight weeks ago. The young lady was terribly shy and when she did speak it was barely audible, she mostly communicated with head nods. It was clear that she truly loved being with the boys and anxiously awaited their arrival. The staff and parents of the young lady were attempting to get her to take part in crafts and other activities of the facility. Her shyness interfered, she would just want to stay with the dogs and sit there quietly petting them.
After a couple weeks of sitting there and hearing the attempts to get her to participate with the other children of the facility I spoke with the staff. I told them that Gopher will happily sit in chairs as he has to in the hospital all the time so that patients can reach them. I asked them if they would allow Gopher to do crafts with her. They like the idea and we asked her if she wanted to do crafts with Gopher. She smiled and shook her head yes.
We went over to the tables and gopher got into place.
Not only did our patient complete the project, having Gopher with her she began talking. In our short time doing crafts I heard her speak more than I had in all the previous weeks. She was talking to the staff, to Gopher, myself and most importantly the fellow kids in the facility. It was great to see this turn around. The following week I was told how she started playing more with the kids who were also at the table that night from her mother. She hadn't done this since her arrival. Now that Gopher is known to do crafts he has been invited back to the table on three more occasions.
He has even done his own crafts during craft time.