New member of the family- Service dog

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New member of the family- Service dog

Post  sailingmuffin on Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:55 am

Hi All,

I finally get to post good news. I am getting a service dog. She is a black lab named Dora.

I have been on the waiting list with a Service Dog facility in Pennsylvania for about a year, but it turns out they will not have a dog until next summer. I started looking around and my Mom sugessted that I call the Vet School about 50 miles from us. The school trains a lot of the dogs for Homeland Security/TSA. I spoke to the head of the program and he said that I was welcome to come and look and that a lady who runs a service dog place in Virginia was coming to look at some of their dogs on Friday, so that would be a good time to come.

Each dog was brought in and they played in the room a little, exploring, watching how they did with people. Well, this one dog, Dora, came in and she came straight to me. I fainted a few seconds later and she stayed with me. She did this once more as she was doing something else. At some point, the lady from VA put down some treats. Dora suddenly stopped halfway through, took off running towards me, got there as I was falling and let me fall on her. Three very experienced trainers, the lady from VA, and one professor just stood there for a second, and one said, "I think we have just found S's dog. I have never seen a dog alert like that in my life." One of the trainers has Type I diabetes and he said that when he was working with Dora, she would let him know when his blood sugar was falling. It was one of the most amazing things i have seen in my life.

I had a long talk with the trainer from VA who does a lot of alert training. She said she usually doesn't advocate owner training, but in this case, she would. She also reccomended some trainers as did the Auburn people. Dora has to be spayed and the vet school likes to keep them a week or so post-op. So I will pick her up in about two weeks. There is a good trainer in Jemison, who trains most of the police dogs for the state, but has trained dogs for disabilities too. Dora will go to school there for a month and I would come up twice a week to work with her. Then she is mine.

So it looks like in mid to late September, our family will get to welcome two new members- Dora and a nephew.

This isn't how I planned it, but I know it will work.

Pain free days,
sailingm
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sailingmuffin

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Service Dog

Post  Cookie Monster on Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:56 am

What wonderful news, Sailingmuffin! I am so happy for you. My dog came into my life around the time that I first went off work on disability. He has been my constant companion and somehow finds a way to bring me joy even on the worst days. I'm sure that your new family member will make a big difference in your life. You two are meant to be together.

Cookie Monster

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Re: New member of the family- Service dog

Post  tortoisegirl on Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:07 pm

Congrats! I hope the wait isn't too frustrating now that you have seen the dog in action and know that with further training the alerting will only improve. Is it going to be tough to get a ride up there twice a week for a month? Not sure how far that is for you (plus the time there). Good luck! I have a friend with a service dog and in addition to being a big help, she has found her to be a good icebreaker in social situations. Previously she'd get a lot of stares for being in a wheelchair, but now people will come up just to say hello to the dog. I imagine that can be good & bad though. Best wishes.

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Re: New member of the family- Service dog

Post  Migrainegirl on Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:16 pm

SM, that is so amazing! It's hard to believe how smart these dogs are. I'm super excited for you!
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