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A Memory of Beano.    1997 - 2008

by Claire Senecal

When I first met him, I fell in love with his little face and his beautiful, loving eyes, so he came home to live with me, my husband, and his French bulldog sibling, Pitou. Beano was two years old and already certified by the Delta Society. The following week, Beano and Pitou (who was already certified and had been working in companion animal assisted therapy for over 6 months) were working at the Arc of Northern Rhode Island doing companion animal assisted therapy with clients who have developmental disabilities. Beano was a major success even though he was the new one, and according to the clients made a lot of noise when he was breathing. I had anticipated their curiosity and possible fright, so our first lesson with Beano included how everyone was different. Beano was different because he had a flat face and his breathing was louder than most other dogs. We talked about how peoples' voices are different some are higher or lower than others - and how some of us snore when we sleep. "Doesn't Beano sound like he is snoring?" After that, everyone just accepted and loved Beano for just the way he was. Throughout the following 10 years, Beano, Pitou, and eventually little Bibbitt made an impact in many lives, and brought joy to whomever they came in contact with. One very special story that I call 'Beano's Cure' follows:

Beano's Cure

One morning, I was invited to visit an eighth grade classroom that has had a pet assisted therapy program in place for a couple of years now. The purpose of this program is to familiarize the middle school students with adults who have developmental disabilities (the clients are bused in from a center for adults with developmental disabilities.) I spoke to the students about my program and we played a couple of games that I had developed for my program at the facility that I visit. Of course while all of this is going on, Beano and Bibbitt are working the room and stopping to greet each and every child and adult in the room (even when they weren't invited!) After the program, some of the children sat on the floor and played with Beano and Bibbitt. At this point the Assistant Principal who was in the room to see the program came over to me and asked me to look over to a particular boy. When I did, I saw a child who was laughing and letting Beano climb all over him while petting him and talking to him. I didn't pay much attention to the scene until the assistant principal told me that this particular little boy was having a really tough time lately and his parents were going through a messy divorce. She went on to tell me that this was the first time that she had witnessed the boy smiling since the beginning of the school year. That really made me think of the many times that Beano has made people laugh and smile because of his comic ability. He certainly has brought joy to a lot of people in his small way. What is more incredible is that while many other therapy pets have visited that classroom Beano is the one that brought smiles to this little boy's face.

The Beano Scholarship

Our companion animals have a way of wrapping themselves around our hearts and becoming our best friends, our confidantes, and, sometimes, like our furry, four-legged children. Every therapy dog is special in his or her own way, but once in a while, one comes along that has so much love to give, he or she adds instant value in any setting, with any client. Beano Senecal was such a companion. In honor of this very special companion animal and therapy dog, Claire Senecal will sponsor a team - with proven financial need - to take the 4Cs course at no cost to the team. Interested applicants should contact Claire at clseneca@bryant.edu for requirements or additional information.



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