By: Lydia Wood, Victim Advocate and Trauma Therapy Dog Handler
"Echo!" someone calls. He perks his ears, lifting his head even though he was just in a deep sleep, looking for whomever just called his name. "Hey, handsome boy!" it's the counselor who frequently uses Echo for his calming presence in her sessions with clients. She says, "You ready to work, buddy?" He sits up and stretches out his paws for a long bow-like stretch paired with a yawn. He stands up and puts one paw off of his bed, looking at me as a way to ask if he can get up.
"You're free!" I say, giving him permission to greet the counselor. He leaps over to her, showing his excitement for the day. "Heel," I tell him after he's gotten a decent amount of post-nap scratches. He obediently comes over and enthusiastically places himself at my left side, ready to go greet the client at the door.
We walk together with the counselor to the front door of the office to greet the client and walk them back to the counseling room. We open the door and he wags his whole body with excitement as he sees his client for the next hour; a young child, the perfect height for Echo to greet with an enthusiastic face lick. "You're free!" I tell Echo, giving him permission to leave my side. He goes over to the child and leans on his legs, whacking the furniture with his tail on the way over.
We walk the child back to the counseling room where they decide to sit on the floor, holding Echo in their arms. The child tells the counselor about their week. Echo looks admiringly up at the child as they talk, firmly believing that every word the child says is the best sound he's ever heard. The smile upon the child’s face says it all. Echo has thoroughly engaged with that child and made the child’s day even brighter by his presence.
As Echo gains more and more clients, his excitement at the call of duty only grows as he greets each client at the door and listens to the cadence of their stories. He may not understand the words they say, but it's clear he understands the importance of them. Echo has been a great addition to the Beacon of Hope Crisis Center Team and we are so excited to see him grow as he continues to work with clients.
About this blog
This blog is about our domestic and sexual violence crisis center, Beacon of Hope. We hope you find it full of helpful information, motivation, creativity, serious facts and positivity. We hope that it will help you know what is happening in our center, in our community and with our events. We hope you follow our blog in support of our organization and our mission.