Dog Raising: Normal Versus Service

Saint the Service Dog

     People know that there are others who need help from dogs to do things we take for granted. No one seems to ask the question of how the dogs are raised, however, and how it differs from raising a regular dog. In order to find out the differences, this reporter asked two people with different experiences in raising dogs.

     The first person was Dr. J, who had gotten her service dog, a black lab named Saint, as a young dog. Dr. J said, “I got her when she was 19 months old. They trained her because she had to be in order to be a service dog. Then I had to learn to do the commands. I had to continue to work with Saint and train her. I actually train with her daily to keep her sharp.” This was the beginning of the friendship they have now. In fact, Dr. J and Saint’s partnership was what drew this reporter’s interest in this topic. Dr. J needs Saint because she cannot be out of her wheelchair, and is surprisingly not that impressed by it. Dr. J is the not hindered by this “setback” and thus makes it much more inspiring to this reporter.

     The second person interviewed was Karla Cyr, and she has raised a couple of dogs before. The last dog she had was too hard for her to raise, but she usually is able to have them live for as long as their natural lives. Karla said, “I raised them with love and care. It is important to make sure they are house trained as soon as possible.” There was only one dog she could not house train fully, and Karla said, “The dog was special needs.” The dog was a yorkie-poo, and Karla had to buy a thing called a “puppy-pad” in an attempt to house train him. He was adorable, but Karla gave him away because she could not handle trying to train him. His name was Winston and when the new family got him, they changed his name to Corduroy due to his fur coloration.

     The last story that this reporter will share is a personal one. Robert Doucette (the reporter in question) had this to say. “This happened while I was in middle school. My old English sheepdog, Bo, had to be put down while I was at school. I first met Mr. Bo Jangles (Bo’s full name) when I was 4 years old. He was my first best friend and was also the first dog I ever remember meeting. There was a sense of loyalty from him that most dogs don’t have, or at least not nearly as powerful as his. Bo would bark if anyone tried to leave because he was a herding dog. I still remember the time he stole a meatball off my sister’s plate and she blamed me for it.

     As Bo got older, he began getting seizures and lost control of his bladder. We had to keep him out in his doghouse because he could not help himself. I still remember the last thing I said to him. I promised that I would see him after school, but fate had other plans. My mom came home early to check up on him and coincidentally my older brother was there too. Bo was having a massive seizure, so Mom and James (my brother) brought him to the vet. The vet had to put him down and now all I have left of him is a small necklace with his ashes in it.” If this brought any of you to tears, I am sorry.

     But, as you can see, there is little to no difference in the ways a person (normally) raises a dog compared to a service dog.