Creating Loving Bonds With Transferable Attachment

As a parent/caregiver, you know the love you have for child is strong and your attachment to them runs deep. It can be particularly painful to parent a child who is dealing with the after effects of childhood trauma that is causing them to act out in unhealthy ways. A child that has experienced severe emotional and physical abuse in early childhood also has problems bonding to their parents/caregivers. At Calo, we help your teen begin to explore and create loving attachments with our unique Canine Therapy Program.

Students at Calo get a hands-on course in creating a bond by taking care of the daily needs of a golden retriever. Your teen and the golden retriever will create a mutual relationship based on care, love and trust that will teach them to transfer those values to their human relationships. At Calo, we refer to this as transferable attachment.

Recently a Calo student, Henry (not real name), departed Calo with his adopted canine, Charger. As a part of our adoption process, students must write an essay based on the title, How I will transfer the interdependent relationship I share with my canine to my human relationships. This is a way for us to give students the opportunity in their own words to describe transferable attachment.

Charger depends on me for lots of things. He counts on me to play with him. This is important so that he can get his energy out. He needs me to potty him because he cannot open doors to go outside by himself. Charger needs me to feed him. I put his food in a bowl and make sure that he has clean water to drink. After his surgery, Charger depended on me to take care of him and make sure he did not pull his stitches out. Charger also depends on me to bathe him and keep him clean. One of the biggest ways Charger depends on me is for me to train him so that he can be off leash and know when to be calm and when to have fun. This is very important so that he can come to live with me at home and be socially acceptable.

I depend on Charger for things too. I count on him to keep me calm when I dont have the greatest feelings. He stays calm with me rather than be all rowdy. When I feel lonesome Charger is there to keep me company. When I want to get energy out, Charger plays with me inside. Usually I will throw the ball with him either in the milieu or in the pit. Once I got full time [integration] with him, he started having really bad attachment problems. At first he was way too dependent on me and every time I left the room he would bark so that I would have to come back. Nowadays he doesnt bark as much because he knows that I will come back later and take care of him. These are some of the ways Charger and I depend on each other.

At home, I depend on my family to keep me safe. The main way that I feel safe at night is when my parents lock up all the doors. I know they are home if I need anything. My family is learning to help me deal with not so good feelings by giving me some personal space. This helps me to be able to calm down quicker and then talk about it. I also depend on my mom for getting my laundry clean and for keeping me fed. I could do it on my own but I am used to my mom doing it. I like that better. I depend on my dad to be able to hunt. My dad has helped me do that by sometimes taking me and my brother to go shoot. He also took the hunter safety class with me. I was dependent on my dad to teach me lots of different things like learning how to drive and hunt.My family is dependent on me too. They depend on me to help do things around the house or do errands because I can drive now. My mom depends on me to talk to her in the morning because my dad and brother are even grumpier. According to my mom, I am the least grumpiest in the morning. My family depends on me to not be so uptight. The rest of them are very tense and I help them relax and be more laid back. My animals depend on me here to pet them and let them in and outside. When I was little I was dependent on my parents to potty train me just like I have to do with Charger. Now I am depending on my parents to help me learn how to be a good adult.

These are just some of the ways that Charger and I are interdependent and my family and I are interdependent with each other. Charger is helping me learn how to be more helpful when others depend on me, and I am learning to be dependent on others too.

To learn more about our Canine Therapy program please click here. If you are interested in learning more about Calo, please email us at or call (877) 879-Calo.