Dogs are our companions, children, friends, and hearts. To some people, dogs are also their eyes, hands, and legs. Dogs can enable disabled people to access the world like everyone else. At Fetch! Pet Care we wanted to take some time out to share two of our favorite stories of how Assistance Dogs have changed and saved people’s lives.
Alida was 2 years old in 2012; a little toddler with a rare lung disease. She required oxygen tanks to be with her at all times. Her parents wanted their little girl to have the independence that other children enjoy. That’s when Alida’s parents read about Assistance Dogs helping people, just like Alida, to live “normal” lives. They began their search for the perfect dog, named Mr. Gibbs, and a trainer that helped them train Mr. Gibbs how to carry Alida’s oxygen tank. Mr. Gibbs follows Alida everywhere; when the toddler climbs up the slide Mr. Gibbs goes up with her and then comes down with her too! Alida’s father says, “He follows our instructions well, but getting him to listen to a 2-year-old is harder. But he is getting used to her”. You can see Mr. Gibbs in action on YouTube with Alida and on the television show, The Doctors.
Another hero story told by First Coast News, is of Sweetie, a service dog for the last 13 years to Jerry Williams. Jerry was disabled in a stock car accident 30 years ago. In March, Jerry found himself lying on a bed that caught fire. He quashed the fire and then when it re-ignited, he started to crawl out of the house. However, the smoke was too thick and Jerry found himself lost inside his house. Then he heard the jingle of his dog’s collar, and followed that sound out of the house and with the help of a neighbor, to safety. Sweetie is all he has left and right now, all he needs.
In August we celebrate the dogs that provide extraordinary service. These devoted and hardworking assistance dogs spend their lives helping their beloved owners. In August Assistance Dogs Internationalhas identified their goals to recognize and honor assistance dogs; raise awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs; honor puppy raisers and trainers; and recognize heroic deeds performed by assistant dogs in our communities. To find out more about service dogs and their contributions, check out Pet Life Radio.
Do you have a service animal? Send us a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll share it on our Facebook Page!