Dodie may look small, but she has a big heart for a big job ahead. At 3 ½ months old, our Sunday Dog is being groomed to become a service dog.
We met this eager pup last week as she was learning how to concentrate and ignore other dogs. It’s one of the many tests she’ll have to pass during the coming months. Dodie works with NEADS, an organization that trains dogs to assist Deaf and Disabled Americans.
As part of the NEADS “Prison Pup Partnership,” Dodie lives with and is trained by an inmate at the Boston Pre-Release, in Roslindale, Mondays through Fridays. She spends her weekends downtown with a “Weekend Puppy Raiser,” who will take her to restaurants, shops, malls, and expose her to city noises and every possible distraction.
(Oh and, if you happen to see a service dog in training, check with the human half of the team before you approach. Sometimes they have to concentrate on a new skill and can't socialize.)
Of course, it’s not all work. Dodie gets plenty of time to play and say hello to other dogs and everyone who just can’t resist her affectionate nature. I’m no expert, but I’m guessing that this beauty is destined to make someone very happy. Dodie, you’re a natural.
Get to know all of our Sunday Dogs at Boston Dogs.
Have you ever thought of turning your dog into a therapy dog? Here's a book that will give you a peak into that world. Therapy Dogs Today: Their Gifts, Our Obligation.
Words: Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2011 Penny Cherubino