Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The JoDog Therapy

Everyone should have their own personal JoDog.  Honestly, I never really liked dogs before we got ours.  But, when I realized that when I saw a baby and I actually wanted to hold it, I realized it was time for me to get a dog (because I certainly wasn't going to have another baby, as MUCH as I love and adore my son and would go through it all over again to have him).  So, we got a beagle.

If anyone has a beagle, maybe they can relate to how great these dogs can be.  My son wanted to name the dog "Dave" even though it is a girl dog.   But he then decided that that was too masculine, so he named her "Jo".  Go figure.  Still confuses people.  They still call her "he".  And, since you can't shorten "Jo", we've lengthened it and call her "JoDog".  There are plenty of other things we call her, too...

This dog (like many other dogs, I am sure) believes that she is the center of the universe and that I have piano lessons in my home just for her and her alone.  When a student arrives, her butt wags back and forth so far that you think she will fling herself against the wall.  Often, with her most "favorite" people (I don't know what designates them as such, but it is usually those who have cared for her in the past when we leave town), she rolls on her side and whines and cries and is just plain pitiful.  (In fact, I have also put a tag on her that says "Pitiful".) When I interview students, often times they want me to be their teacher because, not only do I give out candy, I also have "this dog."

I've found this little beagle has been a HUGE help when I teach piano lessons.  When I've worked the kids pretty hard on a section of music, or if I can sense that they are a bit frustrated, I always give "doggy breaks".   I'll just say, "Doggy break!" and here scurries JoDog and jumps up on the piano bench.  She digs the attention. 

Sometimes, just to lighten everything up, I put JoDog's ears in a pony tail.  She tolerates it, but it gives the kids a good laugh.  Then, after a few minutes of them petting and oogling and googling the dog, and JoDog drinking it all in, I say, "OK JoDog, time to get down", and she jumps off the bench and heads back to her bed, or the top of the stairs, which is her perch.  She's been loved on, had some good attention, had her endorphines stimulated to her satisfaction and can now rest.

And, the kids, once they return to their music, are refreshed and will actually play the part of the piece we were working on with major improvement.  The kids have had a chance to calm down and let their subconscious brain do the work on the piece while they get their therapy from the small furry hound.

And they feel so proud. And I feel so proud.  And they have a smile on their faces.

Every piano teacher should get themselves a JoDog.  If you are new to the dog thing, I can help and have something called  "How to Care For Your JoDog".  Maybe I'll post that sometime.

I think I'll go hug my dog.
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