Thursday, March 17, 2011

Secret Messages

Chester and his Melissa 

Chester and Melissa are quite a team.  The boy definitely gets an extra bounce in his step when he knows it's Melissa-day at Schreiber Pediatric Rehab.  When he rounds the corner to Physical Therapy it's like his tail wags extra much, and he is prancin' faster than normal to get to his girl (and her Mom...Chester loves Melissa's Mom, Peggy).  Melissa is in Jr. High, she is a sweet-heart, so full of fun and life and joy and Jr. Highness.  Melissa goes to Schreiber weekly to help stretch and strengthen her muscles that need extra special care because of cerebral palsy.  Chester gets to be with Melissa every other week. 

This week Chester and Melissa had this secret message thing goin' on.  Chester wears a gentle lead, it's a type of collar that goes over the nose and hooks up at the top of his head behind his ears.  It's a great invention that gives me, the handler, good, gentle control, and he responds quickly and easily with it on. The deal is, Chester thinks it's rather confining sometimes, and so there are times,  when I'm not looking and we're working, he will take his paw and slip that little baby off his nose.  Very sneaky.

Today Melissa says. "Don't you think it would be a good idea to take his gentle leader off while I throw the ball for him?"

Looking at Chester I say, "Chester, did you tell Melissa to say that?"  He cocks his head, perks his ears, and looks at me with his big brown puppy dog eyes. "I mean ~ you know that if YOU ask me, I'll say no, but if SHE asks me I'll say yes."  Honest and true, they both looked at each other and totally grinned big time.

I took his gentle lead off.  I'm a mush.

Later, after Melissa practiced her balance, throwing the ball for Chester, and him retrieving (without the gentle lead...and being rewarded with yummy bits of  peanut butter Girl Scout cookies ~Melissa's idea of course!), we were moving on to other exercises.

With this exercise, Melissa sits on a giant turquoisey ball, I mean giant, really big,  and balances, using every muscle in her body, while brushing Chester at the same time.   Melissa was walking across the room to get to the big blue-rubbery-ball, leash in one hand with Chester at her side, crutch on the other side for balance.  Chester knows it's a long journey across the room, and he patiently walks with Melissa every step of the way, and somehow she seems to balance more easily holding his red leash in her hand.

Melissa almost gets to the turquoise ball.  Chester spies GIANT BALL.  Melissa lets go of Chester's  leash and he rather attacks this ball, gently attacks :-), and in so doing pushes the ball right to Melissa.  You know, so she doesn't have to walk any further.

"Melissa, did you tell him to do that?"  Her very FUN therapist asks.

Melissa laughs that deep giggly laugh that I love to hear. 

"I think you two have some secret message thing going on today, you know, I help you, you help me!"  Her Therapist says while shaking her head.

And again...Melissa and Chester totally grin at each other.  It's like they know something we don't know.

Later on...Therapist asks Melissa, who is now slowing down and ready for a break, "What would you like to do with Chester next?"

"Yoga", Melissa replies.

"YOGA?" asks the therapist.  They've never done Yoga. 

"Yoga.  I like Yoga," Melissa says.

"Does Chester do Yoga?" her Therapist asks, looking at Chester and me, kinda with this sideways-look that is begging me to say no, Chester doesn't DO Yoga.

"For Melissa, Chester would DO Yoga," I reply.

"OK, next week bring me your Yoga book, and we will pick out a couple of Yoga exercises that you and Chester can do together, that sound good to you?" Therapist says while smiling AND rolling her eyes at the same time.   ( I didn't know therapists rolled their eyes :-)

"Yes." Melissa says matter of factly,  and then smiles at Chester.  And I think he winked at her.  He did, I know he did.

Peggy, Melissa's Mom says... "YOGA with Chester!"

I can't wait for this one, neither can Melissa, or Chester for that matter.

Be looking in a few weeks...........YOGA WITH CHESTER, I can only imagine.



  1. love it! love all your stories!

  2. I love it, and you, too! Thanks, Di!

  3. Thanks to Amanda, I just "found" your blog and have read every post - plenty of leaking eyes here. Thanks so much for sharing - seems you don't need a writing class!