Anything’s PAWsible | September 2012 Class

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XENIA, Ohio – Nine dogs, 10 kids, and countless tears of joy at the excitement of new beginnings with their child and service dog. It was the September’s “Anything’s PAWsible” Class graduation. But it wasn’t just a celebration for the families who were taking home their child’s new best friend. It was a celebration for everyone who had a paw in raising these life-saving dogs.

Work, dedication and training came full circle, as trainers, staff, volunteers, college students and foster parents saw firsthand the future for their dog. And for parents like Stacy, that dedication for their child’s wellbeing means the world.

 

“This has been a super, tremendous experience,” said Stacy, whose daughter’s dog, aptly named Twix, a yellow Lab from the Candy Litter, was trained for her peanut allergy. There are no nuts in Twix candy bars and now, Twix the service dog will make sure that there are no nuts around her girl either. 

“Twix is amazing—I’m just so glad we have her,” she said crying, sitting next to her daughter Megan Lucinda, Twix lying obediently on the floor at her feet.

The Candy Litter was making its debut in a big way for this class, as Mallo, a Golden Lab, was introduced to Cecilia. The whole family, including Cecilia’s sister fell in love with her. And while Cecilia was shy at first, feeding Mallo treats, she came around and by the end of class was comfortable with her service dog by her side.

Andes, another Golden Lab from the Candy Litter met his boy, Braden. As with some children, Braden was not as excited to meet his dog, as Andes was to meet him. It was a true test of Andes, who stretched out at the base of the couch, calmly and obediently, as Braden cried. At graduation, the two were side-by-side, best friends for life.

Just before graduation commenced, the Davies family was interviewed by the TODAY show at 4 Paws, during a taping for an episode, airing hopefully later this month.

Telling their story to the producer, the Davies explained how they came to 4 Paws with two children in need of a service dog. Elizabeth, 7, who has Type I diabetes, and her brother Eddie, 5, who has Alfi’s Syndrome will share Zepplin, a Golden Retriever. Alfi’s Syndrome causes Eddie to have seizures, as well as developmental delays. His mom, Carolina said that her 5-year-old is at the level of an 11-month-old. 

Upon meeting, Zepplin immediately bonded with both children, already calming Eddie and making a new best friend in Elizabeth—and hopefully keeping her safe, alerting her parents when she has low blood sugar. While training at the mall during class at 4 Paws, Zepplin sniffed a woman, detecting her diabetes—putting Carolina at ease.

“[Zepplin] will be a guardian angel,” said mom.

He’ll be a “good companion and help us sleep at night,” said dad, who is an Air Force pilot and is away a lot worrying about his family—especially with seizures and diabetes that tend to lurk around at night. There will be a sense of security and relief, he said, when he’s not at home with his family.

“It’s amazing what dogs can do,” said Carolina, as she watched her son with Zepplin during class. “It’s like he’s growing up.

Dogs, like Zepplin, swing straight into action without hesitation. And that’s what happened with Twizzler and his boy Noah during the time they were in town for training.

“First time she nailed a seizure [this week], I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Noah’s mom about the yellow Lab.

The moment that Gabriel saw his dog, it was love at first sight, as he exuded excitement from the floor, almost hopping on his hands. He sat with a smile on his face, stretching from ear to ear, waiting for the Golden Retriever to come over and give him the sweetest, wettest kisses.

“She’s a perfect pick. You guys are magic,” said Kelly, Gabriel’s grandmother, regarding Eldora aka “Ellie.”

Elleanna never stopped smiling and giggling as Bo Diddley made his presence known the first day of class during their meeting. With a baggie full of treats for her new dog, she made icky faces with each slobbery lick that touched her hand. But it was worth every kiss.

“Thanks for giving this opportunity to my daughter. Independence,” said Elleanna’s mom with tears welling up in her eyes.

Graduation day tugged on the heartstrings of many parents with children receiving a service dog. It was the first time for Evelyn’s family to reach out beyond a family member for support, her mom said. Tears ran down her face as she watched her young daughter with her new service dog Teague, who was as tall as Evelyn and full of fluffy white fur to hold onto. As her mom spoke during graduation, the toddler with tiny little glasses peeked over Teague’s poofy, snow-colored coat.

Class was 11 days that changed more than the children’s lives. It changed the families that came to 4 Paws forever.

“This has been so transformative. I wanted this for him, not realizing [it] would transform my life,” said Brian’s mom about Pixie Stix.

Catching up with the Davies, a few weeks after returning home, Carolina said that Zepplin “is going great with the kids. He alerted to a low blood sugar today and has been wonderful with Eddie’s behavior disruption. No seizure alerts yet, Eddie seems to only have one a month. 

-Jessica Noll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photos by Jessica Noll)

September Class | 2012

ZEPPLIN
Golden Retriever Lyric x Vic
Rockstar Litter
Partner: Eddie and Elizabeth

ANDIES
Golden Labrador Retriever
Blessing (Lab) x Vic (Golden)
Candy Litter
Partner: Braden

BO DIDDLEY
Golden Retriever
Lyric x Vic
Rockstar Litter
Partner: Elleanna

ELDORA
Golden Retriever
NASCAR LITTER
Juliet x Vic
Partner: Gabriel

MALLO
Golden Labrador Retriever
Blessing (Lab) x Vic (Golden)
Candy Litter
Partner: Cecilia

PIXIE STIX
Golden Labrador Retriever
Blessing (lab) x Vic (Golden)
Candy Litter
Partner: Brian

TEAGUE
Goldendoodle
Enya (Golden) x Zeke (Standard Poodle)
Pirates of the Carabian Litter
Partner: Evelyn

TWIX
Golden Labrador Retriever
Blessing (Lab) x Vic (Golden)
Candy Litter
Partner: Megan

TWIZZLER
Golden Labrador Retriever
Blessing (Lab) x Vic (Golden)
Candy Litter
Partner: Noah