by Aisha Rallonza
The first thing I notice about Smith is his size. He’s a Yorkshire Terrier, one of the smallest dog breeds out there, yet despite his itty bitty stature, he holds himself with an independent kind of confidence. Head up high, tail wagging idly, eyes looking up at mine, curious and attentive.
“How are you doing today, Smith?” I ask, starting the short interview.
Smith smiles quite serenely, his ears perking up ever so slightly. “I’m doing quite well, thank you for asking. It’s been a pretty chill day, most of which I spent taking a nap,” He laughs, but there’s no ounce of bashfulness in it.
“Do you take a nap before you go on therapy dog visits?”
“Oh no,” Smith shakes his head, tail wagging with much more fervor now. “I couldn’t possibly. I love the work so much—and the car ride going there, hehe—that I get too excited to get any shuteye.”
“I take it you enjoy your job as a therapy dog, then?”
“Absolutely,” Smith nods very quickly. So seamlessly, does his expression shift from that of calm to that of bubbly energy. Smith seems to feel every emotion completely, showing them as they come “It’s so lovely, to see that little ol’ me can make all these big humans smile.”
“You’re very good at what you do, Smith. One last question for you Smith. What makes the work you do worth it?”
“Hm,” Smith’s ears twitch a bit as he thinks. “What makes it worth it? The fact that when I come into a room, I can make people be more honest.” Smith laughs. “I know that doesn’t make any sense, but bear with me. When I go on visits, people react openly, they start to talk, they start to open up. Humans are so big and complicated, that sometimes I feel like they forget to be true to what they feel and what they want to say,” Smith says, looking pensive but then he looks up, a gentle smile on his canine face. “I like that when I go on visits, I can make humans be true. Being true, I think, is one step towards any kind of healing.”
I nod, my own smile mirroring Smith’s as I thank him for the interview. As I leave the room, I think about what he said. Honesty as a step towards healing. What an interesting concept. What an important one.
Want to know more about Smith and his hooman? Tune in to this week’s Fur Your Information! On August 29, 2020 at 4:00 PM, we’ll be interviewing Dr. Mitz Rodriguez!
Aisha Rallonza is a 21 year old Creative Writing major at Ateneo de Manila University. They enjoy collecting marbles, playing with their dogs, and seeing trees. Find more of their writing at birdscreeches.tumblr.com