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Worldwide Orphans

Puppy Project

During the year of 2020, I was granted a wonderful opportunity to work with a non-profit organization, Worldwide Orphans. The organization discovered that I trained and certified my dog, Roxy, to become a therapy animal. Worldwide Orphans believed I would be the perfect leader to work with their Vietnam team and the children under their care. There were two group homes in Vietnam, who just received puppies! For the next nine months, I worked with the Vietnam program leader, Thuy, their wonderful translator Dien, and CEO, Claudia Fleming. ​We would meet every two weeks. Before each session, I would send out the lesson plan I had in mind, and receive any feedback from the Vietnam team. Once the lesson was given the "thumbs up". I began preparing all of the materials I wanted to use to enhance the lesson. For instance, if the lesson was "grooming and care". I would gather a nail clipper, brush, and dog shampoo. ​Then we would meet! The people who attended the meetings regularly were: Claudia, Thuy, Dien, and the children! During these lessons, I would teach them concepts and then they would apply it as the lesson continued. For instance, I taught the children "hand targeting" as a useful way to learn the command "come". Basically, the idea was you kneel down, stick your hand out, like you're about to give someone a high five as if they were running a marathon and say "come". ​The goal of the project was for the children to train the puppies and eventually learn to open up about their feelings and emotions. After building a nine month relationship with the children. The children began to talk about their own experiences, while stroking and finding comfort in the puppy, as we ventured down that vulnerable path together. ​This project was a huge success. I wrote a curriculum that was distributed to the rest of the programs in Vietnam, to expand and spread the love and compassion that is found between human and dog.

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