A Therapy Dog’s Intuition by Debbie Coons

Debbie Coons shares her two noble Bloodhounds, Beauregard & Georgia, with at-risk youth through Gabriel’s Angels pet therapy program. They share visiting behaviorally challenged teenagers at SHARP school in Mesa and the infants and toddlers at Mt. Shadows Educational Center in Apache Junction.  While Beau and Georgia personally greet all the little ones and teens on their visits, they always choose one to that needs some extra attention.  Teachers often note how significant those choices were for a particular child that needed the additional attention on that day.

One afternoon at SHARP while Debbie was sitting with the students she noticed that Beau had moved around behind her. When she glanced back to check on him, she witnessed Beau listening intently to a particular teen, Jon, who was carrying on a private conversation with him. Jon was rubbing Beau’s belly and telling him all about the events of the day. It struck Debbie that Beau intuitively understood that this young man needed someone to listen to him.

At Mt. Shadows, Georgia creates a similar impact. A particular two-year old, Evan, is normally quiet and withdrawn. However, when Georgia appears he actually squeals with joy and runs over to give her hugs. As Georgia lingers with this boy, he whispers to her, “Georgia, I love you.”

Other popular activities at Mt. Shadows include the infants brushing the Bloodhound’s silky coats and taking turns giving them a drink of water. Mary enjoys rubbing the lint roller over Beau to “get the hair off.”  It is a scene of unconditional love to observe the infants crawling over these large therapy dogs, softly patting their long ears and grinning with delight.

Recently, Beau expressed how he felt to be back at work after a two-month absence due to an injury – for the first few minutes with the teens he ‘talked’ to them as only a bloodhound can!  Beau and Georgia, through their steadfastness and character, bring comfort and trust to the teens and toddlers they visit each and every week. They, along with Debbie, are true ambassadors for the impact of Gabriel’s Angels Pet Therapy program for at-risk children and youth.

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