Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bella the Future Service Dog

Today, Addy and I visited our nursing home friends as part of our regular pet therapy visits, and as a bonus extra, we met Bella, a future service dog. She's a sweet, five-month-old black Lab, and like any young dog with a demanding career ahead of her, she needs lots of practice meeting all kinds of people, dogs, cats, and anyone and anything else she might encounter in the course of her work.

The girls were a little doubtful of each other at first, but soon teamed up to sit side by side so that they could both get liver treats. No pictures of that because I couldn't take pictures and dispense treats simultaneously!

Service dogs such as Bella will be go everywhere with the person they're teamed with, including places that dogs are normally banned from. Federal law protects their human partners' right to have their canine aides with them, but the flip side is that the dogs must able to behave anywhere, in any circumstances. Puppy raisers like Bella's current foster family raise and socialize the future service dogs so that they're ready for the demanding training they will begin when they reach one year old.
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