Sunday, July 8, 2012

Social Bridges

Twinkie is a people magnet.  No matter where we go, people flock to her and show her the love.  Since she's not one to be rude, she always extends a welcoming paw and happily accepts all compliments, treats, pats to the head and back rubs!  Really, could you not love that cute little face?  Well I could say, for instance, when she's eating Allison's underwear, grabbing mouthfuls of Zachary's LEGOs or playing "You can't catch me." in the backyard when the heat index is 101 degrees, but that's an entirely different post.  
Behavior Disruption/"OVER": this is midway thru a
minor tantrum over wanting his own laptop! "Over"
means to step over and lay down on Zach's lap/legs.
Twinkie provides Zachary w/deep pressure and the
ability to run his fingers/hands thru her fur.
This is always effective and calming to Zachary.

Anyway, I digress. Social Bridges.  Yes.  Twinkie is trained to do many things to help Zachary.  On command, she can use various means of behavior disruption to distract Zachary, interrupt a tantrum and/or show him emotional support.  She is trained in tracking which is scent-specific search and rescue should Zachary ever get lost.  Twinkie is also certified for public access; she can work with Zachary and support him while out in the community.  When I type this stuff out and re-read it, I am still amazed that one, beautiful and fluffy little pup can do ALL OF THIS to help my guy with seemingly little effort.  With that being said, another gift Twinkie gives to Zachary is the "tools" he needs to build social bridges, and she does this with no effort what-so-ever.  I mean, really.  When you're as cute as Twinkie is and you know it, it's really not hard to work the floor and garner some attention.     

I don't think we've been to a single place in Ohio or back at home where people both big and small have not stopped us or at least really wanted to.  (On a side note, everyone we've encountered that's wanted to interact with Twinkie has been incredibly respectful and asked before they approached her.)  Anyway, be it the mall, Applebee's, Staples, Shoprite, Circus Place, Hallmark Store, Regal Cinemas...where ever it may be...people want to interact with Twinkie.  So....if they're interacting with Twinkie in some way, they're interacting with Zachary in some way, and he has to interact with them in some way.  Social bridges.  I should mention the one little incident at the mall when a little girl came running towards Twinkie wanting to pat her and Zachary yelled, "That's MY dog, little girl!"  Lack of impulse control. Hence the reason for the service dog; I'm sure I can create a social story to work through that.  LOL  Sorry. Another digression.  It's late.... Helping a child who desperately wants to socially interact with his peers but really doesn't always know how to since they move, speak and exist in a much faster paced world takes time and a lot of it.  Social bridges take time to build, but Twinkie definitely has the "tools" Zachary needs to help him slowly build his own bridges.  :)  For more information about 4 Paws for Ability, please click on this link:  4 Paws for Ability: taking the "dis" out of disABILITY

Twinkie's ID tag on her kennel at
4 Paws for Ability
Social Bridges.  That's where we're still at tonight, right?  Well, not only is Twinkie going to help Zachary build his own social bridges, she's going to help me, too!  I must say, this was not the angle I was looking at when we first got Twinkie.  However, I've gotten sooooooo many words of support and  warm fuzzies from you all, that I thought I'd take the leap (at the suggestion of several very kind people)  and see how many other families/children I could reach and possibly help by sharing Zachary and Twinkie's story of love and life in general.  God knows it isn't always easy, but it's all real.  Everyone has a story...ours is just a little different!  

Zach and Twinkie would love for you to keep following their blog. They now have a new Facebook page. How high-tech of them...these 4 Paws dogs can do anything.  :)    You can find them at this link.  Zach and Twinkie: 4 Paws of Luv  Come on by to visit them and please LIKE their page so you can stay in touch with them.  The more people who LIKE them and share their page with their friends, the more people they can reach!  I've had over 170 people look at one of the pictures I posted on their page this afternoon.  Imagine how many people they could reach with your help!

You can also find Zach and Twinkie on Twitter.  (This just keeps getting funnier by the minute, huh??!!)  You can find them at this link! zachandtwinkie; @4paws4zach  
Their username is:  @4paws4zach under the profile:   zachandtwinkie.  Creative, I know.  If you're on Twitter, find them and become one of their followers.  There's a gazillion people out there on Twitter, and they hope they can help another kid the way that people have helped Zachary along the way! 

Social Bridges.  Who knew how many bridges Twinkie would help build once she got back to NJ?  (Now if I could just train her with the "Keurig" command, we'd be in stellar shape in the morning.)  A Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel