I have a question for all of you. How often do your kiddos see the dentist for a regular checkup or cleaning? If you’re there every six months, nice job! If you’re there once a year or less due to behaviors and/or fear, I totally get it.
I really do.
Last month, we started seeing a new dentist; a pediatric dentist. It was probably one of the smartest moves we’ve made in a while, but necessary. Willy has had a serious fear of anyone in scrubs, ever since his hospital stay, well over a year ago, and since then, going to the dentist has not been a option until now.
After I made the appointment, I realized that Everest’s role could be just as essential out of the house, as he is in the house. And even though he is a service dog in training, this was his first chance at really helping our boy through something hard and stressful… and boy did he do his job!
Before we arrived for our appointment, I called ahead of time, just to make sure that it was all right for our “service dog in training” to be in the office. Ordinarily I wouldn’t ask for permission, but for some reason, I felt the need to ask; mainly because it’s a hygienic place of health and wellness, and I just had to clear my conscience before we walked in with a dog… and this is how it went.
This is amazing! For the past year, Willy would not allow anyone in scrubs near him. And just the fact that Everest was there, calming him with his presence, is simply amazing! Willy let the hygienist clean, count, and floss all of his teeth, and his anxiety was on the very low side of the scale.
And then we left. Willy was practically dancing as we left the office, and his fear of the dentist is now a thing of the past. We went back last week for x-rays, and Everest came along to help. He sat right outside the room while the x-rays were being taken, but again, just his mere presence was so calming for our boy, that I couldn’t ask for anything better.
As we were about to leave, The same hygienist told me that service dogs are starting to be a part of dental and medical offices around the country; offering the same kind of care and assistance that children and adults need when anxiety is at an all time high. They are also making an appearance in court rooms when children are having a hard time testifying. Just the act of putting a dog can be so calming, that it makes one feel immediately at ease, blood pressure is lowered, and anxiety is eased.
Everest is now one year old and I honestly can’t imagine life without him. The sheer joy and pleasure that this dog brings to my son’s life is simply unbelievable. Everest continues his training at a weekly class, and at home with us. I recently excepted the “APAW dance challenge” with him, and we came in with the “best freestyle” win. I’m pretty proud of us, and I’m sure Everest is proud of himself as well. Life with a service dog goes on daily, it’s not easy, but the end result still wow’s me on a daily basis.
If you, or someone you know is interested in owning a service dog, please visit http://www.caninesforkids.org
Once you visit the site, and decided if it’s right for you, you’ll speak with someone who will direct you to the right organization that will fit your needs for someone you love. Have a great day and I’ll see you Friday.