Working Together to Heal
It is always a fun night when Hand in Paw comes to the Ronald McDonald House. The kids and families love it (and so do the staff and volunteers)! We are thankful they come twice a month and the dogs are always ready to help with the healing process.
The therapy teams really bring a sense of happiness and calmness with them. Animals bring out emotions in kids and their families that we don’t always get to see here. It is truly amazing to see how one animal can bring together a fairly large group.
One evening during “Hand in Paw Night,” two little girls were sitting talking to each other about the dogs and other things that little girls have to talk about, both having a great time. After they had talked some, one looked at the other and asked how she broke her arm.
The little girl with the cast told her that her arm wasn’t actually broken, but it was in a cast so she would be forced to use her other (non dominant) hand/arm to therefore make that arm stronger. It was actually a rather scientific answer for such a young age, but it is amazing what these kids understand about their situations and how well they just take it in stride. This outpatient therapy at Children’s of Alabama is called Constraint-Induced Movement therapy, or CI therapy and is a family of treatments that teach the brain to “rewire” itself following a major injury such as stroke or head injury.
After that, the first little girl asked for the dog’s brush (which is a common favorite thing for the families to do with the dogs). What happened next was truly inspiring.
She took the brush and put it in her new friends’ non dominant hand, wrapped her little fingers around it and sat there very patiently helping her use her weaker hand/arm to brush the dog. This continued for some time and each time that her fingers came off the brush the new friends would work together to wrap her little fingers around the brush’s handle and continue brushing the dog.
This is a great example of how togetherness of not just families, but new friends, volunteers and even animals can help the healing process.
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