The thing that keeps me going is the great progress I see in the kids whose families actually follow through on the recommendations I make. You just don't see that in the schools. And the working conditions in the schools around here are bad... no disgusting houses, but ridiculous caseloads and way too many extra responsibilities. I also like the fact that we can work with the kids 1:1 instead of in huge groups.
Funny you mention crazy dogs. I like dogs, but I get so sick of people who act like you're mean if you don't want their dog climbing all over you licking your face while you're trying to get their kid to talk!
And I take the "no toys" thing with a grain of salt. I don't take toys with me all the time, but if kids are really shy and won't look at me without something enticing then I'll use my judgment and do what's necessary to make therapy beneficial. I always tell parents, "It doesn't really matter what we play with, you can talk about anything" but some of the kids with communication issues are super shy and need something exciting to get them interested in a stranger.