Dr. Spector's first facility dog
Rand worked with Dr. Spector until February 2015. He is now retired. He was a certified facility dog trained by Canine Companions for Independence.
Rand is a beautiful dog, a "fur blanket," and happy to hang out in therapy sessions, just as Dr. Spector told CCI she needed. As a Facility Dog, his role is different than that of a Service Dog; Rand spends his days with Dr. Spector in the office interacting with patients, and only goes in public if he's accompanied by Dr. Spector and a patient. A typical day for Rand starts with a one-hour walk in the neighborhood with Dr. Spector and his four-legged roommates. Four days a week, he has four sessions before lunch, a nice two-hour break, complete with playtime outside, and then up to six sessions in the afternoon. If there's a patient that can't be near him because of allergies or fear, he hangs out in his crate.
Having Rand in the office has been invaluable to Dr. Spector's practice. In therapy, patients often need to discuss things that cause them stress, and Rand's non-threatening company can help them feel secure enough to get the words out. Some choose to sit in their chairs and pet him, some take him for walks, and others get right on the floor to give him their full attention, brush in hand; he's a great reward for children who have to take tests and need some motivation.
According to Dr. Spector, Rand is as loving as her first dog, Iris, "...but better trained." He can walk calmly on outings with patients, stay in the down position for whole sessions, and even lick on command. One of her patients has some sensory issues, and Rand's continuous licking helps her to feel calm and relaxed. All she has to do is say the word. Dr. Spector has also been able to treat may children for dog phobias, which is much easier to do with a dog that doesn't jump, or even approach without permission.
Dr. Spector recalled a wonderful example of a time when Rand allowed a patient to open up in a way she couldn't have otherwise: "I had one adolescent patient who had been traumatized tell me that she couldn't look at me or tell me what had happened, but she could sit on the floor and tell Rand, and I could listen." Can you imagine missing an opportunity like that because the animal can't behave appropriately? Thank goodness for well-trained, tolerant, sweet CCI dogs.