August 18, 2015 | Posted in Andy The Everydog

Andy-Everydog-Part-17-350PXMaria was silent. She talked to no one — except to her parents at home. At school, and anywhere else that was not home, she did not utter a sound.

Her teacher became concerned and asked Maria’s parents to come into school for a conference with her. She suggested that their 5-year-old daughter might benefit from professional help. Maria, it seemed, had chosen “selective silence”.

She sat with her parents in the waiting room of Dr. Anne Foss, a child psychotherapist. Dr. Foss was also an animal lover. Her office was also inhabited with fish, birds, a lizard and her own golden retriever, Duffy.

Dr. Foss and Duffy came to the waiting room to greet Maria and her parents. While she talked to them, Maria lifted her eyes from the floor to the lovely face and curious eyes of Duffy, who proceeded to place his head in the little girl’s lap.

Maria didn’t acknowledge Dr. Foss. She was too engrossed in petting Duffy’s head and ears and nose. When Dr. Foss was ready to begin her session, she called Duffy to her. “Duffy, come,” she said. Duffy obeyed and walked to her side.

Maria’s face suddenly registered sadness and disappointment. Dr. Foss said to her, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were still playing with Duffy. If you want him to come back to you, just say, ‘Duffy, come’ “.

Maria just stared at the doctor. Then, in the softest whisper, she said, “Duffy, come. Please come.”

Dr. Foss sat down on the floor next to Duffy and told Maria that she understood how hard it was for her to talk to people she didn’t know, but that she didn’t have to be afraid to try and she’d know what to say when she decided to say it.

As the session ended, Dr. Foss asked Maria if she wanted to say goodbye to Duffy.

“Goodbye, Duffy. ‘See you soon,” Maria said.

‘Till next time,