Monday, March 9, 2009

Service Dogs

Yesterday Becks had the pleasure of meeting 3 new dogs. We met 2 up at the local park, a sweet nippy little puppy and a sweet adult golden retriever. It always makes me chuckle that the minute he sees a dog he grabs my hand and we make a beeline to ask if we can pet them. The highlight of the day however was meeting Joey, a service dog, at the grocery store. I saw Joey hard at work but know that service dogs are working and aren't to be approached and loved on while doing their jobs. It wasn't until a little girl, probably about 7, screamed at the sight of Joey that I figured it would be ok to pet him. Joey's poor owner tried to reassure her that Joey was the "nicest of nice dogs" but this little girl was having none of it. I thought about how sad it is that she probably isn't exposed in a positive manner to dogs and most likely has never had the joy of being raised with one. Beckett did his part by practically leaping out of the shopping cart, grinning ear to ear, ready to love and dote on Joey. We spoke with his owner for a few minutes and he was thrilled to have someone recognize how special Joey was.

Did you know that service dogs:
Cost approximately $20,000 just to train
Only 6% of dogs tested make it into a training program
Of those in the training program, only 1 in 8 go on to perform as service dogs
Are often adopted from local shelters based on their special temperaments
Are every variety of pure breed and mixed breed dog
Many institutions are using inmates to care for and train service dogs
Can assist the blind, hearing challenged, provide independence for the disabled, monitor those with neurological disorders, and work as socially therapeutic animals
for those with psychiactric disabilities
Can be fostered by someone as awesome as you?

1 comment:

  1. I always wished my dad would get a seeing eye dog when I was little.