This is my blog for all things service dog. Any and everything that has to do with service dogs is welcome here. I will post everything that I can find or think of regarding service dogs, even as it pertains to my own service dog. Welcome to Dogs In Service!
I found this story on another website, which I have posted in my blog on "Helpful Links." I think this story helps people understand what peoples' service dogs mean to them, and the some of the issues they face on a daily basis.
Tamandra and Borias - A Match Made in Heaven- submitted by Tamandra
Borias is the best thing that's ever happened to me. It's hard to believe it's been seven years since fate brought us together; seven years since I first held this chubby fuzzball in my arms. I had just suffered the unexpected tragedy of losing my doberman to a heart problem, and so decided turn back to the breed I had as a child. A German Shepherd Dog is the ultimate working dog, with beauty and brains in abundance.
I call all of this fateful because of how we were brought together. My order was a tall one. It's no easy task finding a good, quality German Shepherd that's been bred to work, but that also has his 'drive' in check so that he's not too difficult to handle. I was about to give up but then I found that folded piece paper on the floor of my car--the one that had all the breeders names crossed out. All but one. With this one last chance, I left a message saying I was looking for a Service Dog prospect, and hoped for a male. Later on, when the breeder returned my call, she informed me that a couple who worked for the FBI were there doing extensive tests on the litter in hopes of finding a cadaver SAR prospect. There were only two males in the litter, and they had said that this largest male would make a great Service Dog because he was mellow, and took things in stride. This made the breeder glow with pride, since she had long hoped to have a dog of hers do that kind of work). All that meant that Borias and I were meant to be.
And he knew it too. We've been inseparable since the day I was allowed to bring him home. He displayed none of the typical puppy- separation-anxieties like crying for his mom and litter-mates. It was as though he knew he'd just found home. The very next day he went on an outing with me on leash, trotting right beside my wheelchair with no problem. He was such a quick study. I used clicker- training to begin teaching him some of the things he would do for me, but I had no idea, at nine weeks old (and after only a few training sessions), that he would be picking up my dropped keys and wallet! In fact, he got so into excelling at his job, he learned how to unzip my backpack when I wasn't paying attention--- to take out my wallet just so he could give it back to me! (Perfect practice makes perfect, after all!).
On one occasion early in our relationship, I was in a grocery store, and had unknowingly dropped my wallet in the aisle. When I noticed, I said out loud "Oh no! Where's my wallet?" Instantly Borias was headed behind me, pulling on his leash, then suddenly was again in front of me, wallet in his jaws, tail wagging proudly. What a good boy!
This bond of ours has deepened through the years, which go by so fast. We've shared some incredible times, both recreationally and competitively. He's gotten to hobnob with celebs, been to a U2 concert, watched the Broadway play The Lion King with great interest, and is a regular at the zoo, where he often gets more attention than the other critters! He's the first dog I've ever earned an obedience title with, getting a blue ribbon twice. He passed a therapy dog test with a flawless performance, and can now visit the infirm and have children read to him.
Yet despite his eerily human capacity for understanding and our blatant and essential life-connection, we still run into incredibly small minds. Do they have an idea in their head that a dog to assist a person with a disability must look a certain way? I realize that Borias has the stature and presence of a police officer, but we are rarely treated with the respect that an officer gets. Quite often, we're denied access to functions and establishments. It's hurtful, and infuriating all wrapped up inside of a helpless feeling.
Being in a wheelchair comes with some (but not too many!) obstacles. Do I really need to add 'social ignorance' to my list?
I'd love to find a way to open the heart of the world...
That's the way Borias lives his life, with an open heart. He is my inspiration. My soul-mate. My heart dog.
This story below is a bit long but WELL worth the read.....Enjoy!
Brendan & Spook Show - Service Dog or Super Dog? Both!-submitted by Cheryl
My son Brendan will be 7 Dec, 17 2008, he has had severe Epilepsy since he was 2 mon old. Brendan has 6 different types of seizures, & has Mild Autism. Brendan was having over 100+ seizures a day before he was placed on Meds, & Received a VNS (Vagal Nerve Stimulator) Brendan had surgery to place this device when he was 2 1/2 . My son still had 35 + seizures a day even with the VNS. Brendan's Autism & Seizures have caused him to have Developmental, & Speech Delays, as well as he is an exceptional escape artist, he also has Melt Downs that are out of his control, he escalates so high , to the point that he doesn't even know or realize what he is doing, or what is happening. Brendan is the most loving, kind-hearted child you could ever know, he meets no strangers. Brendan functions on more of a 2 1/2 - 3 yr old level, he doesn't comprehend, that if he runs out in front of a car & gets hit, he could die; if he did live he would turn right around & do it again. He honestly doesn't understand what can happen. He can be outside because of the heat; it makes him seizure more, when he gets too hot. I also have Epilepsy, & Narcolepsy, but have been told that Brendan's Epilepsy isn't caused from mine, The Dr's don't know why either one of us have Epilepsy. We were Lucky enough to be blessed with a friend that my husband works with & who knew about Brendan's special needs. He also Breeds Labs, & wanted to donate one to Brendan, I worked with another Trainer to train him to be a Seizure Alert & Autism Service Dog, he showed me when he was only 4 weeks old that he could tell me before Brendan was having a seizure that it was going to happen, he was such an awesome dog & was so smart. We worked with him & trained him for 8 mon. he was so great for my son as a Service Dog, & a Friend, Sadly he passed away on New Year's EVE. He went into a seizure himself & wasn't able to recover from it. I rushed him to the Pet Emergency Hospital when I found him like that & they did everything they could but he just wasn't able to fight the fight. We do miss him greatly. Shortly after the loss of Hogan, the SD that passed away, my sons Seizures started getting worse, & his Autism melt downs were worse as well. We knew that we had to find another SD for him, but I didn't feel I had the time, nor the Ability to Train another SD, so this time we decided to find a SD that was already trained for my sons needs. We were sooooo luck to find a lady in South Bend Indiana, that trains Siberian Huskies for all types of SD work, & she happened to have a SD that was ready to go & was a perfect match for Brendan's Needs. Her name is Spook Show Baby ScoobyOvanna, Spook , or Spook Show for short. She is trained to alert to seizures before they happen, she is trained to do Search & Rescue scent tracking, she also is trained to help with the Autism, she blocks Doors, she pushes the HC buttons that stores have to help open the door when needed, as well as many other special things. It took us approx 6 mon to raise the money needed to get Spook Show for our Son. We are so happy & Blessed with having Spook as our new Family Member. Spook Show just had her 2nd Birth Day on June 9, 2008 we got her on April 24, 2008. Spook was only home with us for 5 min when she started Alerting to a seizure coming on for Brendan; she nudged him over to the trainer's lap, to let her know she needed to help him. The trainer was willing to fly here to us with Spook Show so that we wouldn't have to spend so much money flying 4 people & hotel for 2 weeks + Meals. I had gone to the store to get some meds for her when Spook Alerted to her first seizure in Brendan, Spook also will go to Brendan's room & pull his covers back & nudge him to his bed when she senses a seizure coming on, if he is asleep & has a seizure she will lay across his legs to keep him from trying to get up & falling after the seizure, she also licks his cheek to help bring him out of the seizure, & to let him know he's ok & she is there for him, if Brendan vomits during a seizure, Spook will burrow under him & roll him on his side so that the vomit will go out of his mouth & he won't choke on it, & she then will clean it up so he won't get it back in his mouth. We went to the Grocery Store one day & Brendan got away from me & Bolted through the store, I had to let spook loose to help me find him & get him back, she ran as fast as she could & fallowed his sent through the store until she found him, she then blocked him & barked to let me know she found him. She does her best to keep him from bolting away from me when we get out of the car, she thinks ahead, you can literally see her wheels turning she is already up & ready to get out & as soon as I open the door she jumps out & runs to the end of the drive way & watches to see where Brendan is going to run, & when he does bolt she takes off & tries her hardest to keep him from getting away. Spook also Alerts to my seizures, so she has double duty, & she is really awesome. She isn't happy unless she's working. Spook was placed here for my son & she is awesome at what she does. Spook also Pulls my sons Special needs chair, he uses when we have to do a lot of walking, she also has a Mobility Harness that she wears & Brendan holds on to her for balance, he also has a vest he wears, with a tether strap that connects to his vest, & also to Spooks Harness, so now Spook also helps Brendan balance when walking, & helps keep him from running off by being hooked together, I can give her a sit stay, or lay stay command & she will do it & it keeps Brendan from getting away , she uses all her weight & strength to keep him from dragging her across the world. Spook has always put Brendan's safety first, she will run across the street right after Brendan not even looking or worried about herself getting hurt or hit, she worries about Brendan, & his safety. She is truly a GOD SEND, & I don't know what we would do without her. She is not only a Service Dog, but she is a member of our Family, & Brendan's best friend. He loves her sooooo sooooo much. Spook never lets Brendan out of her sight. We love her more than she will ever know, or understand. Thank You Spook Show for all you do for our family, & for saving Brendan's life many times.
We Love you, you're our Angel. Love Mommy, Daddy, Nathan & Brendan (www.petjoyonline.com/Service-Dog-Stories-s/214.htm)