by Jeanette Wood & Callie
Callie is a lovely and intuitive Australian Shepherd who works as a Gabriel’s Angels therapy dog with her partner and ‘mom’, Jeanette Wood. Each week when she visits abused and neglected children wonderful results happen. Smiles appear on sad faces. Giggles emerge from those who are normally quiet and withdrawn. These children in crisis, many of whom have rarely experienced a nurturing touch from another human being, learn through Callie how to be gentle with another living creature.
Every now and then a true magical moment happens.
At the Child Crisis Center in Mesa, Arizona, Callie participates in a therapy assisted visit with Michael, a 10-month-old boy born to a drug-addicted mother. He has been both neglected and abused. The therapist explains that as a result of this traumatic beginning in his young life, that unlike other curious children of his age, he now refuses to reach out to touch or connect with anyone. On this visit, the little boy sits quietly on his therapist’s lap in front of Callie. Unlike the other children, he makes no attempt to reach out and touch her soft and luxurious fur. Instead, Michael’s soulful brown eyes stare intently into Callie’s eyes. She responds with her own soft unwavering gaze. Several minutes pass. Suddenly, the toddler reaches out and gently cups Callie’s muzzle between his tiny hands. The moment mesmerizes all who witness it. Michael gently releases the gentle dog’s face and smiles broadly.
A breakthrough moment, where a therapy dog reaches an abused child through the power of unconditional love.