Dog lovers have no problem telling you why the dog is considered man's best
friend. Loyalty, unconditional love, companionship and laughs. Any doctor can
also tell you that having pets makes our lives better and makes us healthier,
by convincing us to be more active. No matter how lazy you feel, who can resist
Rover when he comes up begging to go for a walk? You can't argue with the fact
that we become much more relaxed, lowering our blood pressure, when our loving
dog or cat comes to us to say hello and asks for a gentle pet.
Dogs are amazing creatures! Not only can they be incredible friends, but many dogs provide humans with much needed assistance, as well as love and companionship. It literally brings tears to my eyes to see how some of these
wonderful service dogs faithfully do their jobstheir mission in life is
to help people. From being their eyes, to helping them get around in wheelchairs.
From picking up a dropped pencil, to warning the deaf that something needs their
I'm a dog lover. I'm particularly in love with larger/smart dogs, such as shepherds,
labs and collies. Sadly, we had to put our Sheltie down two years ago from cancer
and, the next year, our Shepherd due to hip disease. They both had very good
lives as our constant pals for 12 years. As much as I miss them, it's hard for
me to imagine the feeling of loss to someone who depends on their dogs to get
through their day.
We still have two goofy pupsters. A Norwegian Elkhound, Nala, and our class
clown, Cassy. As you can see in the image below, Cassy keeps us entertained
with her antics, like when she recently discovered that the tub is a cool place
to rest in summer. No that's not Killroy, it's just Cassy.
Although Cassy keeps us laughing, she's also a wonderful friend, comforting
pal and vicious protector of her family.
A couple of years ago I was surfing the net with thoughts of finding a new dog to replace the loss I knew we would feel soon, as I knew the day was looming when Sheba and Kiko would have to go to doggie heaven. Our Elkhound,
Nala, is a great friend, but hardly a dedicated protector as Kiko had been.
So I was looking around, thinking about what kind of new dog to get. (We eventually
found Cassy, a shepherd/lab mix and wonderful dog!)
As I was searching doggie sites, reading about various characteristics of dog
breeds, I stumbled across a site with a puppy picture that just tore at my heart
strings so much, I had to investigate further.
Turns out the site belongs to Canine
Assistants. As I read their site, I fell in love with these pups. Their
founder, Jennifer Arnold, appears to be a pretty incredible woman.
As a teenager, Jennifer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and spent two
years in a wheelchair. As she explains in her personal message on their web
site: "I believe that I may well have set a record for saying "please,"
"thank you," and most of all, "I'm so sorry to bother you!"
I felt isolated and very much alone. I knew I needed help, but I didn't know
what kind or how to get it."
Featured in the October 18th, 99 issue of People Weekly Magazine, Jennifer
and her crew are now clearly dedicated to turning out some incredible service
dogs and doing what they can to help those in need obtain a canine assistant
to help them become more independent.
There are obviously many charities and groups out in the world who could use
your help. But as a dog lover who sees the wonderful work being done by Canine
Assistants, I just had to share their story with you.
They have many programs where you can lend assistance. From helping them keep
up their supplies to making donations. They also have an online store where
you can purchase merchandise to help their organization. Who could resist puppy
note cards like these in the image below?
They also have a program where you can sponsor a litter of pups. I've been
a litter sponsor in the past, when I can afford it. When "my litter"
was just starting out, I received a post card from them. Their spokespup <smile>,
told me that they were doing a great job learning. It made me feel proud to
know my donation was going to help these amazing dogs, so that one day they
would be out in the world helping folks who have a harder struggle than I do,
getting through the day.
Later, I was thrilled to find a new postcard in my mail from Frisco (the spokespup),
letting me know that his class had graduated! Let me tell you, it's an amazing
feeling to know you were able to help them!
The image below is a copy of the graduation announcement I received from my
pups! Once playful pups, these amazing dogs have now learned, through training
and love, what they need to do to help humans. And as you can see, here's Frisco
with his diploma in mouth, getting ready to go home with his new partner.
The spokespup gave me an idea of how hard they work..."I can
open all the doors at my house and most of the doors at work. I can pick up
stuff my mom drops and I'm even allowed to throw certain things in a can at
work that the people call trash. I particularly enjoy delivering important papers
for my mom to her co-workers. I even have my own folder in which to carry them.
They call it "Frisco's Slobber Folder. Hope you're proud!"
But more important than the rewarding enjoyment I feel watching my litters
grow up into respected service dogs, is knowing what these dogs can do to make
a person's life better. Taken from the Canine Assistant web site, I believe
this says it all...
"Canine Assistants service dogs assist children and adults with physical
disabilities or other special needs in a variety of ways. Some of the tasks
our dogs perform include turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors,
pulling wheelchairs, retrieving dropped objects, summoning help, and providing
"While all of these functions are vitally important in helping a person
obtain greater freedom, perhaps the most impressive gift our dogs provide is
social, rather than physical, in nature. The dogs eliminate feelings of fear,
isolation, and loneliness felt by their companions.
"One Canine Assistants recipient made the value of this gift quite clear
when asked by a reporter what she liked most about her service dog. Immediately,
she responded, 'My dog makes my wheelchair disappear.'"
If you're a dog lover and would like to help, be sure to check out the Canine
Assistant web page. Buy some cards, sponsor some pups, or just send them
a few bucks if you can afford it.
And even if you can't afford a donation, know that Milk
Bone dog biscuits is a proud sponsor of Canine Assistants. So if you have a dog, make the choice to purchase products from companies like
Milk Bones, who help "give back" by sponsoring organizations such as Canine Assistants and
similar groups around the world!