My service dog Polo, a 2001 graduate of the service dog training organization Canine Assistants, has taught me many things. Above all, he’s encouraged me with his love and humor as we begin each day.
These stories (and more online) are from Quest readers with service dogs, as well as from several people who received dogs from Canine Assistants. Their stories exemplify the many attributes of service dogs described by Melissa Loree below.
How'd she do that?
Dena had a foldout crate to stay in while we visited a water park. We returned to our hotel room only to discover Dena lying on our bed with her toy! I checked the crate, expecting she’d torn it or made a hole, but no … Dena had unzipped it!
Eric Hartley & Dena (Denahi)
Good night kiss
My husband, Mike, tends to go to bed early at night. Hampton, our son’s service dog, had never tried to get on our bed, so just to see what would happen, I patted the bed. Hampton proceeded to jump on the bed and lie with his back against Mike’s.
Assuming Hampton was me, Mike rolled over to get a kiss and got a wet one right on the mouth. Hampton now enjoys coming in for an evening snuggle before going back to watch over our son.
Laura Hamby & Hampton
Upon checking out at a department store, I informed the cashier that Clyde, my mother’s service dog, would be paying and then getting the receipt to hand to my mother if that was OK with her (we didn’t want to scare her).
She said OK, so Clyde took the credit card from my mother’s hand, stood on his back legs with his front ones on the counter, and handed the card to the cashier.
She looked on with amazement and replied, “Will the dog be signing the slip, too?”
Debbie & Pam Murphy & Clyde
A heavenly moon
During a Sunday morning church service, my husband and I were in the pulpit giving a presentation when Magic decided to stretch and moon the congregation. So much for trying to be reverent and holy.
Jeannine Freer & Magic
Ball Ground, Ga.
Hampton loves to dress up in bandannas. I got him three new ones yesterday, and he had to have one on immediately. He likes to pick out which one he wears each day. He smiles when we put them on him.
People move out of my way now in the halls at school. Those who didn’t try to be my friend before are friendlier now.
Josh Hamby & Hampton
Loves to work
Ivy and I both love it when we go shopping and children ask their mothers why I can bring my dog into the store and they can’t. It gives us a chance to show them some of the things Ivy does for me, like how she picks things up for me, how she gets my medication out of the pouch on my chair, or how she gets my cell phone for me. The children almost always end our visit by telling their moms they want a dog like Ivy.
Ivy loves to work. When she wakes up, the first thing she does is bring me her vest to help her put it on because that means she’s on duty and ready to work.
Merry Davis & Ivy
Bringing your service dog along to the movie theater can be uncomfortable when he’s a black Lab. Because he’s virtually invisible in the dark, moviegoers never realize it’s the dog that’s doing the snoring — not you!
Jan Blaustone & Polo
Don’t ever tell Frisco that being a service dog means work. To him, it’s nothing but fun. The more he does, the happier he is. And just when I think he’s shown me all his skills, he proves there is still more he can do.
Which is what happened when I dropped a quarter at the store. I didn’t even think to ask him to get it because I thought for sure it would be too difficult for him. Before I knew it, there he was, determined to get that quarter off the floor and give it to me.
With a crowd forming around us, his determination only got stronger until he finally got it. Then he gently placed it in my hand and pranced around “showing off” to the crowd how proud he was of his accomplishment.
Kelly McMahon & Frisco
Let there be light
In anticipation of receiving his dinner, Oxford runs around the house and turns on all the light switches until we give him his bowl! When Oxford needs to relieve himself, he goes and finds a coat and brings it to me.
Max Gaudenzi & Oxford
What is a service dog?
“What is a service dog — companion, friend, helper, confidant, ambassador of good will? A service dog encompasses all of these aspects and many more; they are unconditional sources of friendship, safety and independence. Yet, with their skillful behaviors and gentle nature, their impact reaches far beyond the physical realm. They are able to connect with people on an emotional level, fostering care and support for their recipient while enhancing disability awareness for the community at large. We all benefit from the extraordinary example they provide.”
Veterinarian Melissa J. Loree, director of education at Canine Assistants
For additional stories on service dogs and their owners, read More Service Dog Stories.