Students Team With 4 Paws for Ability To Train Service Dog

By | 4 Paws University, Wittenberg

Since 2009, Wittenberg students have being playing a critical role in preparing dogs for service to others, thanks to Sarah Kelly, vice president for enrollment management and dean of students.

“I read an article about the 4Paws program on and when I learned that the program is based in Xenia, I arranged a meeting with Karen, the executive director, to discuss the possibility of starting a student handler-trainer program here,” Kelly said. “Wittenberg’s program started with four dogs in the spring of 2009.

“Since then, we’ve trained close to 40 dogs,” Kelly added. “It has become a student-led initiative, and I serve solely as an advisor—the students do it all, and I’m really proud of the job they do.”

Read the story on Wittenberg’s website.

Child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder draws pic of his service dog

By | FASD Assistance, Service Dog Stories

When a baby is exposed to alcohol while in their mother’s womb, they may be born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Similar to the Autism Spectrum, FASDs range from mild to severe in their impact on an individual and family’s life.

The effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and or learning disabilities. 90% of fetal alcohol affected kids look just like your neighbor’s. Until you spend time with them.

Iyal Winokur welcomed Chancer into his family in 2008. Chancer has the honor of being the world’s first FASD service dog.

Chancer’s presence defines Iyal’s space in public in a very unique way. In a sense, Chancer legitimizes Iyal’s invisible disability.

The dog validates the child’s experience—even if it appears like willful disobedience to others. Chancer functions as Iyal’s ambassador to the world paving a path for communication and acceptance. That is why, it seemed crucial that the story, Nuzzle – Love Between a Boy and His Service Dog, unfold through Chancer’s voice. Iyal’s mom, Donnie Kanter Winokur, interprets the world to Iyal and Iyal to the world.

ER staff thinks service dog rocks!

By | Seizure Alert

Our son, Cody, fell in the shower Saturday evening after he and our seizure alert service dog, Polly, returned from camp. (Everyone there wanted to know if they could borrow Polly for a few days to teach their kids a thing or two.) We thought he’d just jammed his finger, so we iced it. Polly wasn’t sure about that: she wanted the ice bag to play with. But Sunday morning once Cody got up and around, we noticed it was very swollen.

We decided to head to the ER after breakfast, and Polly alerted a seizure (small one), so he finished eating. As we were trying to leave, Polly alerts yet another seizure. We worked through that one and then headed to the ER.

The security officer gave us a funny look and asked if the dog was a service dog. We told him “Yes,” and proceeded to the check-in desk. The nurse asked us the same thing, and we got some strange looks, but apparently, that goes with the territory. Once called back to the exam room, we waited.

Polly lay down. When the x-ray technician came to take Cody to x-ray, he said, “Polly can’t go back there; it’s not allowed.”  I explained that Polly is Cody’s service dog and she alerts for seizures. He stopped for a minute, then said, “Well, okay.” Polly was right there beside the wheelchair all the way. She wasn’t going to let Cody out of her sight. As they proceeded with the x-ray, the technician finally asked what she does. I explained, and he was amazed. He couldn’t believe that a dog could do these things.

“I’ve heard stories,” he said, “but I didn’tt believe it. That is cool!” Later the doctor came in and told us that Cody had broken his finger. We were waiting for them to buddy the two and brace it, and Polly was content until they started to work on Cody. Then she decided it was time to get involved, checking it out, making sure that he was okay, and that no one was hurting him.

I signed the papers for discharge and the next thing I knew Polly started barking and jumped up in the bed. The security officer came running in, along with the doctor and nurses and staff from the other exam rooms. I explained to the doctor and the officer that Cody was having a seizure and Polly was alerting. You would have thought someone had just shot somebody.

Things were pretty tense, and then the doctor asked Cody what his name was. I explained that he doesn’t usually speak for a while after he has a seizure. He looked at me, patted me on the shoulder, and said, “Well I guess you’ve got it under control,” and walked out. Everyone stood there in complete awe. They couldn’t believe what they’d just witnessed from a dog that they’d seen lying down and sleeping while waiting for Cody. They were amazed and we were so proud of her. She made believers out of them all.

Clifford saves Alex’s life

By | FASD Assistance, Mobility Assistance, Multipurpose Assistance

“Clifford saved Alex’s life last night,” says Alex’s mother. “Earlier, we went to bed really tired, and were sleeping soundly when Alex got up and opened the back door. We didn’t hear the alarm. That’s when Clifford acted. He came into our bedroom and jumped into our bed licking my husband’s face then licking my face back and forth until he woke us up.

“When I woke up I heard the alarm. Clifford took off running and led me to the back door where Alex was. I took Alex back to his room and Clifford jumped up into bed with Alex and laid over him without being told to and this was around 4:20 a.m.

My husband and I went back to bed after dealing with the alarm company. When we got up at 7, Clifford was still laying on Alex. 

“How can you thank a service dog for saving your son from being outside at 4 in the morning and it’s 27 degrees? And we just got Clifford in January! 

“God Bless 4 Paws for putting Alex and Clifford together.”

February 24, 2012.