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July 22, 2016

Jennifer and Mac

Jennifer and Mac 

As an intern for ICAN, I was given the opportunity to visit Mac, a fan favorite, and Jennifer, who both work at Kid's Abilities. When I first walked into the building, Mac was laying on the ground while two young children obsessed over him. Jennifer had warned me that the vast majority of people that walked into their clinic fell in love with Mac. I was no exception. He was an absolute sweetheart. I was given the chance to sit in and watch him work with a client. Mac was definitely his motivation for the entire session. They played this game they had made up, called "Beat the Mac", where the client had to dump all the stuffed animals into the basket before Mac could take them all out. I watched as the client accidently kicked him in the face and Mac didn't even react. I watched Mac bring countless laughs to both Jennifer and the client's faces.

Several years ago, Jennifer's clinic owner participated in a conference for services available to kids with disabilities on the west side of Indianapolis. Here, she met a few people (and dogs) from ICAN. She was ecstatic, and rushed to tell Jennifer, who had always been interested in getting a therapy dog. Everyone was sold on the idea and they moved forward into applying. Jennifer remembers when ICAN came to do a home-visit for him, they brought Mac, but he wasn't assigned to her yet. She instantly loved Mac, so when she received the phone call in 2014 that she would be placed with Mac, she was overjoyed.

Now, Mac is 3 years old and exceeding every expectation. As Jennifer said, Mac seems to pick up on every client's personality and acts according. For instance, he knows which children have more gentle tendencies and which clients he needs to be more cautious around. He brings energy, excitement, laughs, cuddles, motivation, and a helping hand when you need it.

I asked Jennifer to share some of her favorite memories of Mac with me and the list is endless. She says she has a few distinct memories, which include: Mac and her daughter cuddled up next to each other outside on a cold day deep in conversation, Mac cuddling on his bed with a client that has Down Syndrome and Selective Mutism, Mac sitting on the clients' laps and the clients giggling, and lastly, a little 5-year-old boy with Down Syndrome talking face-to-face with Mac and asking if Mac might be feeling scared. She also mentions that she loves the excitement Mac shows when he sees some of his favorite people - especially Dino.

Visiting Mac and seeing how a facility dog can help motivate these children was amazing. As Jennifer said, "Mac is pretty much the sweetest and most joyful soul. He loves so many people and so many people love him back and because of that…the blessings are endless" 

by Megan Schlegel, ICAN Intern