Editor’s note: It’s no secret there are hard working dogs, cats and sometimes even more exotic pets who put in a full day’s work. But while most are tending to traditional animal jobs, others are going to work with their owners and performing “people” jobs at local stores, offices or job sites. Take Jasmine for example, who works as a therapy dog at Oklahoma School for the Deaf with her co-handler Gayla Jackson. The workday isn’t a job for Jasmine and, instead, she sees it as the best part of her day.Name and occupation:
Jasmine is a 3-year-old Lab mix who has worked as a therapy dog at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf since February, when she was adopted for the role from the P.A.W.S. animal shelter in Ada. Jasmine knew the shelter well by the time she was adopted in February, as she had been adopted and returned to the shelter twice. Jasmine’s most recent adoption, however, will be her last and Gayla Jackson, Oklahoma School for the Deaf counselor, said she is right where she belongs. Jackson and the staff at OSD approached principal Chris Dvorak about rescuing a dog to work as a therapy dog at the school, which Dvorak immediately got behind. Jasmine now goes to work with Jackson almost everyday at OSD.Special talents:
Jasmine has the “super-doggy” puppy power to spot people who normally don’t like dogs and works to make them a life-long dog fan. Jackson said OSD’s superintendent, Larry Hawkins, doesn’t typically like dogs, but Jasmine wasn’t about to let that continue. After a few grinning greetings and pettings sessions with Jasmine, Jackson said Hawkins has definitely warmed up to Jasmine. Jasmine works as a therapy dog at OSD and couldn’t be happier about her new career.
“She gets so excited,” Jackson said of Jasmine when she knows it’s time to go to “work.” “She doesn’t think it’s work.”
Jasmine, in addition to her excellent listening and patience skills, is bilingual. Jasmine, when she was selected by OSD, was taught to understand some commands in sign-language. Being the smart dog that she is, she picked up on the language quickly and now takes commands to sit, lay down and stay just through signing. Perhaps her favorite sign, however, is being told she’s a “good girl,” which is usually accompanied by a tasty treat or a petting session.
Oh. By the way, Jasmine loves treats. While she is a dedicated employee, Jasmine makes sure the first thing she does when arriving to the office is making the rounds through the third floor to get any treats waiting for her. One OSD secretary has solidified her place as one of Jasmine’s favorite (and first) stops, as she always has a treat in hand ready for her.What makes Jasmine perfect for her job?
Jasmine is a gentle, loving dog with the “perfect personality” for a dog that could spend the entire day cuddling with students or being petted by employees. Jackson said Jasmine provides students, and even employees, a chance to get away from stress and anxiety and just enjoy time with someone that cares deeply for them. Jasmine has lovingly helped students calm down before a test, been hugged while a student has gone through family drama at home and has greeted countless students just seeking companionship like they’re the most important person in the world. Dogs are normally not allowed at OSD, so Jasmine also provides students a chance to interact with a dog, which many of them may have never done or may be missing back at home.
“They know Jasmine is their dog,” Jackson said of the students’ love for Jasmine.
Jackson said when they first considered getting a therapy dog, in their mind they pictured a perfect dog with no faults. What they found in Jasmine was a dog full of love and compassion that also has had struggles in life and has issues of her own, such as being claustrophobic and afraid to be left alone. Jackson said learning with Jasmine and working through those issues has made an impact on her handlers and shown that anyone can overcome life’s hurdles.
If you have or know of a dog or cat or other pet that works a people job let us know. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the animal’s name, the name of the owner and where the special dog or cat works and contact information.