Monday morning was quiet in the office, with not many staff there yet. A coworker came back to my desk and told me that a group of high school students had made a donation and wanted to know if they could meet a dog. The kennels weren’t open for visiting yet, so my coworker asked if I had any ideas about what to do. I said of course I had an idea: Mr. Bax.
Well it turned out that when Baxter trotted out of the shelter by my side to meet these kids, we were greeted by a big yellow school bus. The high school students were part of the special education program and would be staying on the bus. I wondered how Baxter would feel about climbing on to the school bus, and was ready to coax him in if need be. Turns out, no convincing needed – Bax steadily climbed right up the big stairs of the bus.
Once we got on the bus there were a few teachers and five students, three of which were in wheel chairs. While Baxter was initially a little weary about the narrow aisles and new humans on both sides of him, he started wagging his tail and I knew he was fine. He sniffed the first student’s hand that let out a squeal in delight. Cue more tail wags. We slowly made our way down the bus’ aisle, saying hi to the adult teachers as we went. “Ooh isn’t he so cute!”
I was on high alert because this was such a new, different situation for Baxter, but his calm tail wags kept me at ease. We made our way to the second student, who said hi briefly as we passed. At the back of the bus were the three students in wheel chairs. Baxter calmly walked up to each as the teacher helped them reach out their hand to pet his head. He just stood there quietly and let each interact with him in their own way. Many of them were very excited to meet him.
After making his rounds in the back, Baxter made his way up front to the second student we met. He and Baxter really hit it off. Baxter kept his head in the boy’s lap as he caused excitable laughter for the sniffs and licks he occasionally gave the boy’s hand or nose. It was so sweet.
Baxter and I got off the bus with the teachers and two students as they walked into the shelter and handed over their donations. The boy who liked Baxter so much even held Bax’s leash as we all walked in together.
To say I am proud of Baxter is an understatement. My heart is bursting at how well he handled such a new situation, and how he interacted with those kids so tenderly. It gives me peace of mind knowing that Baxter is finally confident enough in his every day life that he faces new situations with things other than fear. It’s moments like these that as a fostermom I have to sit back and take a second to let it sink in, then go hug my Bax : -)
For more information on adopting Comeback Kid Baxter, click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.