Blog: iHeart Service Dogs
Many of us already know how our pets can bring us joy and companionship, can often sense our mood and seem to know when we need an extra snuggle. Now, imagine a dog dedicated and trained to recognize and respond to specific emotional and physical needs. The effect of such a service dog can be life changing for children who have autism or suffer with epilepsy, or adults struggling with PTSD.
For this reason, the 2017iHeartCommunity Fund was pleased to include two service dog organizations as fund recipients. Let’s face it, whose heart isn’t touched seeing those adorable puppies in their working jackets!
Kingston 4 Paws Service Dogs used our funds toward acquisition costs and veterinary expenses for two new, eight-week old puppies entering their program. Their names are Jarvis and Walter. Jarvis is a very attentive black Labrador retriever and Walter is a handsome and obedient yellow Lab. After spending their first few days with trainers they have now settled in with foster families in Kingston. They go to work with a puppy raiser most days and on outings to the grocery store, shopping mall, theatre and to restaurants. Jarvis and Walter attend weekly classes and have already learned many verbal and hand commands necessary for them to perform as service dogs.
National Service Dogs (NSD) is a similar organization in Cambridge who needed funds to upgrade the transportation vehicle that shuttles their dogs to training classes, vet visits, and eventually to their placement homes.
At our cheque presentations, we were shown some of the basic commands the dogs are trained to perform. Something as simple as resting their head on a lap or positioning themselves a certain way can ease anxiety, offer a feeling of safety, or a well-timed distraction. In many cases, a service dog can provide something special that medications or other therapies don’t, so the value of these programs cannot be understated.
We look forward to hearing how Jarvis and Walter progress, and hopefully to seeing more puppy pictures!