Service dogs are the hands, legs, eyes, or ears of a person with disabilities. Labrador retrievers and German shepherds are well suited for the work of a service dog. They have a love of people and great energy. They are strong, calm, and patient. They do not chase other dogs, birds, squirrels, or cats. They excel at all kinds of jobs when properly trained.
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.07(d)|
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Eager to Serve
Diary of a Service Dog
By Margaret Peiffer, Daniel Majan
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2016 Margaret Peiffer
All rights reserved.
Let me tell you about my life as a Golden Retriever service dog. I kept a diary of important events growing up. My life began at the Alexandria Animal Shelter on November 29,2015. I was named Ana, one of the main characters in the movie "Frozen". Ana rescued her sister, Elsa, from, a mean person who threatened to harm her. I'm proud to have the name of someone who was brave.
I stayed a short time with my mother, Heather, at the shelter. She was at the shelter because her family had to move into an apartment, and pets were not allowed. The family hoped someone would adopt her. A trainer of service dogs came to the shelter. My mother was chosen to be trained as a service dog for a blind person. The staff at the shelter thought that I, too, would make a good service dog. They contacted Guide Dogs for the Blind. A representative of the organization agreed with the staff's decision.
I missed my mother, but was excited about being chosen for the special work of a service dog. I was matched with a family who did the initial training. It was a family with three children. I loved the children because they hugged me and made me feel wanted. Soon I began my work learning the seven basic commands that every dog should know. The commands are sit, stay, come, down, no, off, and heel.
I wore a special vest to let people know I was a service dog in training. When I learned a command I was given my favorite treat. Days were not all work and no play. I followed the children when they rode their bicycles and played fetch with a bright neon green tennis ball. Life was good!
I can go where other dogs cannot go. I'm trained to be quiet in church and lay under the pew until the service is over. I can go to restaurants after I learn to sit under the table and not beg for food. I am welcomed in hotels and malls. I can fly on an airplane in the passenger section. I can even go to the movies with my mistress. I can ride in a bus, subway, or taxi. Riding the subway was scary at first, but soon it became fun when we visited monuments, museums, and parks. People praised me for my future career as a service dog. I loved hearing words of praise. I was happy to have a lot of experiences with people. This prepared me for my work when I am matched with a partner.
After about a year it came time to say goodbye to the family. This was one of the hardest things I had to do. The family had loved and cared for me and trained me for about a year. It was time for me to move to a higher level of training.
The next period of my life consisted of training with a trainer who specialized in training dogs to help blind persons. I learned new and more complicated commands like focus, brace, forward, left, right, and pick it up. I learned how to handle loud noises, and show appropriate behavior in crowded places.
When my specialized training was complete, the trainer and I met Amy, a blind student in elementary school. I understand she had a serious accident with fire crackers during a July 4th celebration. The accident caused her to lose her sight. Amy is nine years old and will be in the fourth grade at Queen of Apostles School in Alexandria, Virginia. I will be her eyes. I am eager to serve!
During the matching process, Amy is thinking about the answers to the following questions:
Will you be my eyes?
Will you help me experience independence?
Will you be patient when I am slow?
Will you help me get rid of my fears?
Will you be there in happy times, and when I shed tears?
I can answer "yes" to all the questions. After all, "service" is part of my title!
I must learn how to wear a harness. I am older now so this is not a problem. I can't read or write. However, I can help Amy move from, class to class, protect her from things that might make her fall, and pick up things that fall on the floor. I can "brace" or stiffen my body to help Amy safely board the van that brings her to and from, school. I can help her walk confidently to various rooms in the school. I can alert the teachers or other students to Amy's needs.
I get my meals before and after school. During the day I need fresh water in my bowl. The cold water tastes so-o-o good! Snacks are a reward for good performance. I love to hear "Good Girl" or "Good Dog" as praise for doing my duties well. I need to go outside to go to the bathroom several times a day. Amy or another student take me to a special place so the playground stays fresh and clean.
Excerpted from Eager to Serve by Margaret Peiffer, Daniel Majan. Copyright © 2016 Margaret Peiffer. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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