Thursday, October 28

Roofus Goes to Jail

Last night, I took Roofus, my Old English Sheepdog, to jail. But not because he was bad.

Roofus is part of a new program called BARK - Books And Reading for Kids. The program sends dogs and their handlers to a local juvenile detention facility, where the kids (usually teens) read to the dogs. The goal is to promote literacy and confidence in the kids, and as we all know, doggie therapy is also extremely beneficial.

Last night was the first night of the program, so we had a lot of "get to know you" time. I had actually wanted to make Roofus a therapy dog, because he has the most wonderful temperament, as well as being extremely fluffy, cute, goofy, and extremely eager to love everyone. Unfortunately for him, he is a little overenthusiastic about sharing his affection, so comforting the sick or physically injured is something I decided it would be best to put on hold. However, showing these kids that he loves them regardless of where they come from or what they might have done is right up his alley.

He was amazing. Roofus does have a leash aggression problem, but he did not bark at a single dog all night. He even met his old friend Magnum, a yorkie, whom he has not seen in quite a while, and was a perfect gentleman. Two shelties came within biting distance, and while he was interested in them, he said not a word, nor showed any signs of displeasure at their closeness.

When we got our first kid, as soon as she sat down, Roofus climbed onto her lap and washed her face for her. That was pretty much the trend for the evening. At one point, he had several girls hanging on him - bear hugging him, scratching him, squeezing him - he looked up at me, absolutely ecstatic, like his most wild dreams had finally come true. No one was allowed to walk by Roofus without giving him a scratch or a pat. He simply didn't allow it. The one thing this dog has in scores is love - and he made sure everybody got some. Everyone laughed at the gigantic "lap dog" - but who wouldn't want a giant, living teddy bear smothering you with adoration?

The night was over much too soon for Roofus. You could tell he was walking on cloud 9 as we returned to our car. I thought that all that love and attention might have worn him out, but he sat in the back seat all the way home with the silliest grin on his face.

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