For privacy reasons, Jackie can't share photos of the clients, but we're very grateful to Inga Sheffield (below) for helping us see Sal "at work" on her father - I.M. Sheffield III - who, we're told, wasn't so sure about his daughter's work with pit bulls until this meeting. The photos tell the rest of the story. Thank you Jackie for sharing this visit with us, and to Salvador for giving us all a dose of your best medicine.
From Jackie: Big Sal was bulletproof last night at a locked psych facility. None of the other 4 teams showed, so the choice was: go it alone or bow out for the night? This visit is to acute care (up to 7-8 people), childrens ward (7-8), then adolescents/teenagers (5-7), then adult population (15-20). That's alot of people to visit, and while Sal is good with children, I notice that they can stress him out a little so I'm trying to limit his exposure to keep visits enjoyable for him.
We had our own personal security detail (Herb, who is a mountain of a man - tall, booming voice, quick smile, wants a Saluki) who thinks Big Sal is the best thing since sliced bread. He and I put our heads together for a workable plan. He knew that all the units were looking forward to some doggy lovin, and he checked in all the units before we moved to the next one to see how many people were there, and to make sure that we were ushered to an area where Sal could work his magic and not be overwhelmed.
Acute Care (deemed a danger to themselves and others) - Five clients. Each wanted attention and petting, and to tell their own pet stories, they worked pretty well together giving each other time to pet and have Sal to themselves. He sat in his own chair very politely for attention, and only glanced briefly at the little cup of ice cream that one of them had. One client wanted to walk him out to their special outdoor enclosure to smell the smells and talk to him privately (I swore I wouldn't listen!) and he was great walking with her.
Children's ward - The best of all possible scenario's for Big Sal: two children and one wanted to take his bath and go to bed - didn't want any interaction. So, the little girl (maybe 10 years old), got to have her own private visit with the pitty-prince. Lots of petting, massaging, snuggling and giggling due to kisses and happy wiggles.
Adolescents - Three mid-teen young women who were having a nice time coloring together when we came in, all instantly hit the floor with squealing and calling him over for hugs and kisses. They did a great job "sharing" him, and we got to talk about responsible dog ownership, why Sal doesn't have cajones, and what they can do to help make sure all dogs are cared for and loved properly. (Side note - we get to talk ALOT about why we got no cajones at Juvenile Hall, it's a staple topic and if I don't bring it up, one of the kids does first thing!)
Adult Care - Our personal security detail ushered us into a side TV room with about seven clients, both men and women. All the ladies hit the floor again for petting, hugs and kisses, The gentlemen were a little more reserved, but melted like puddles when our boy gently climbed each lap to give a big smooch.
Towards the end, one of the ladies was becoming more agitated and was losing focus, but before it could escalate Sal turned to focus on her directly, walked up on her lap (she's sitting on the floor), planted a big smooch on her, then gently walked up her torso til he was face to face with her and put his head on her shoulder for a hug, and gave her some gentle little neck kisses.
She wrapped her arms around him and just hugged him tight. I was watching to make sure she would release him when he was ready, but he stayed there for a goodly amount of time!
She was in heaven and we left her with a big smile on her face and pleased as punch to run to tell the staff what happened, and that she would wait a little while for more medication. She was feeling better.
UPDATE 6/11: Salvador and Jackie just accepted a Hero Award from the Placer SPCA along with her team for the work they do bringing comfort to Kaiser hospital patients. Many congratulations! News