Students Facing Challenges

Here are two stories that we hope inspire you to believe in your dog.

Victoria

A car accident changed Victoria's life, but not her zest to live life to the fullest, and meet every new task with a "go for it", attitude. Victoria's two active Labradors needed exercise and a purpose. She rose to the challenge, teaching them to walk beside her, wait at doors for permission to leave, to come when called, sit, down, and stay on command. Her first goal was to make them assistance service dogs, but she soon got the companion dog bug. She taught them agility obstacles, competitive obedience, and how to pull her on command. I am very proud of her and all that she has achieved.

Skip

Owner with a mission and dogs with a purpose.

Skip is an amazing person and a constant reminder to me, and anyone that comes in contact with him, that life goes on. You can either sit down and cry about it, or pick up the pieces and make the most of it.

Skip led a fairly normal life. He was married and in the Airforce. Then in 1987 he suffered the first of seven strokes. It changed his life forever. He has limited use of his arms and hands, and difficulty with speaking.

When I first met Skip, I had to learn how he communicated.  I stumbled along for awhile and finally got it down. It’s a combination of sign language and show and tell. Today we understand each other so well,  it’s hard to believe it was ever difficult.

 Not only has Skip taught his two Golden Retrievers, Dagwood and Darby, everyday manners, he has passed his Delta test and visits many hospitals in the Spokane Area doing therapy work. Of course there is still more time left in the day, so he also trains his dogs for competition obedience. It is a discipline that is difficult for anyone to learn and train a dog for, but someone with as many challenges as Skip, it is near impossible. When I was first helping Skip, I thought we’d be doing great if he could earn a Companion Dog (CD) title. His dog Dagwood has a Utility Dog title and Darby is working on his Companion Dog Excellent title.

Whenever someone tells me they can’t do something, or teach their dog something, I tell them, “Don’t give me that.” “If Skip can do it, so can you.”