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— January 21, 2014 —

Private Jelly, Reporting For Duty!
by Jelly Belly Butterfly

Jelly here. I’m not really in the Army, but tomorrow, I get to hang out with a bunch of guys and girls who were in the Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy, and maybe a Coast Guard guy or gal too. I will be once again reporting for duty to Jesse Brown VA Medical Center for Canine Therapy Corps’ animal assisted therapy program!

I’m very happy to be “getting back to work.” This will be the second 10 weeks that Canine Therapy Corps has had at JBVAMC. I was practically just a pup last time, but now I’m all grown up and ready to show the new dogs how it’s done.

They tell me that this therapy program is good for the veterans I work with. I think they like it, but I can tell you that it’s good for me too. Since I’m a dog, I like having new experiences. Some of it can be stressful, but like you humans, I learn and grow from new experiences.

The work itself requires a lot of concentration, but I am rewarded generously for my efforts. Between the treats and attention, I practically feel like a rock star. You wouldn’t believe how happy people are to see me. I can hardly get into the hospital without getting stopped every few minutes with people asking about my job, my training or my cool blue vest. (Well, I think it’s blue. It’s kind of hard for me to tell, being partially color blind and all.)

My humans are there too, but they basically sit back while I do all the heavy lifting. I mean, they wouldn’t even fit through the tunnel that I go through. Seriously, while I’m out there performing my obedience and even doing agility, all they have to do is sit and watch. How boring it must be for them… They don’t even get treats until graduation day. Really, I feel a little sorry for them.

Whatever, I’m enjoying the job and the veterans seem to love seeing me every week. Can you blame them? I think I’ll try to get the humans more involved this time around. I think they could at least do the agility jumps, don’t you?

There are other dogs there who do the same job. Last time, we had a pit bull, a hound dog and a spaniel girl with some serious fur. We all got paired up with a veteran for the entire 10 weeks. I got to meet all of the people and dogs, but I primarily focused on one guy. He was my person for the entire time. We learned to work together and he taught me a new trick. Hopefully he comes to visit while I’m there for the next session.

Well, hope you all enjoyed reading this. I’m off to the spa at Bark Avenue Playcare now. Have to get my hair and nails done for my big day tomorrow. Woof!

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