Friday, June 14, 2024

Harvest Happenings – May 2023

By Page Austin, Lifestyle Manager

In November 2021, we welcomed a community mascot to the Harvest family. His name is George and he is my Mini Goldendoodle.

George has been coming to Harvest every day since he was eight weeks old. It has been so fun having a pup in the office! Harvest residents of all ages stop by to see and pet George.

George also attends all of the community events. His favorite gathering is the Harvest littles. He loves children and they love him! Seeing how great he was with children is actually what motivated me to take him through therapy dog school. Since Harvest has two on-site elementary schools, I wanted to be able to take George when I read to the classes.

We started therapy dog school last September at Zoom Room in Trophy Club. It was a six-week course that definitely grew and stretched my relationship with George. I didn’t realize how imperative it is to have a strong relationship and trust with your dog when doing therapy. George learned to look to me for direction, permission, and for assurance. We learned to work together as a team so that we can improve the lives of others.

We took the official test with Alliance of Therapy Dogs. I was pretty nervous. George was the youngest pup in the program at just 17 months. At the testing site, one of the judges looked at George and giggled a little. She said dogs 4 years and up make the best therapy dogs and that a puppy will have a harder time. Talk about stressing me out! I had to take a few deep breaths and remind myself that I know George and I know what he is capable of and that gave me the courage to continue! We walked into a room with chairs along the side of the wall and six other dogs. We volunteered to test first. You have to test in front of everyone. As I was standing in the middle of the circle with George, I started to get nervous. George, however, was calm which gave me confidence. He went through the test perfectly. The testers were all amazed by this young pup…and so was I! One of the judges said they were so impressed with our relationship and how well we work together. We make a great team!

George passed his test with flying colors! Next, we had to complete three supervised visits. We went to the Dallas Police Station and two assisted living centers. George did great! Everyone loved him. For a 17-month-old puppy, George knows when to be playful and when it’s time for business (treats also help remind him, lol).

Now, George and I are regular visitors at Lance Thompson Elementary and Argyle West Elementary schools. We read “Curious George” books, show off George’s tricks, and let the kids pet and love on him. What I enjoy seeing is how the kids connect with George. It’s pretty amazing to see how he lifts the mood of the classroom and promotes that focused interaction with other students and teachers.

During one of our visits, we ran into this little girl in the hallway. She was very polite and asked if she could pet George. He sat and she dropped to the ground and fully embraced him. As I bent down, George laid his head on the girl’s shoulder. She quietly sobbed and then looked up and said that her dog just passed away. Y’all, that made me tear up. Through it all, George sat there and just let this little girl love on him. That is what it is all about. Helping others. I love that my dog is willing to be that shoulder to lean on.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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