PTSD, TBI, MEDICAL ALERT, PSYCHIATRIC
Meet Majestic McGee!!
McGee is a neutered, 6.5-year-old, 55 lbs., St. Bernard mix. But don’t let his age fool you! It hasn’t slowed him down a bit!
McGee is an absolutely stunning, lively, healthy, and behaviorally exceptional dog. He has been with his handler and his handler’s wife along with their other dog, a greyhound mix, for approximately 4 years. Both of McGee’s “parents” are now terminally ill. His family wanted him to move on and provide assistance for a new handler, because, as written below, McGee loves to work and knows all his commands. Because McGee’s handler was near the end stages of their illness, our trainer, Niesy, graciously offered to foster McGee and help him transition from his former life to a new working life. McGee did a wonderful job of providing comfort and mobility/memory assistance for his handler, but McGee was constantly going back and forth, taking care of both mom and dad, which was emotionally draining for McGee – but understandable. He felt that he constantly had two jobs to do. That’s a lot from one very intuitive dog.
Niesy writes: “When McGee arrived at my place, he showed some dominant-type behaviors. He marked everything in the dog yard and postured over all my dogs, trying to claim everything for his own. I was quick to figure out that he had taken charge of everything in life because of his owners’ failing health. He needed to take care of them, and they needed him to. However, these behaviors were a problem that could cause conflict with a new handler. I gently showed McGee that I am the leader here, and he and I have developed a mutual respect for one another!”
McGee experienced a much-needed break from so much emotional baggage and inability to just “be a dog” – and he started thriving at Niesy’s immense acreage with other dogs, horses, plenty of room to run and learn how to properly interact with other dogs – along with eventually gaining construct and boundaries initiated by Niesy. He literally was becoming a new dog – happier, healthier, and he did not have to spend each day stuck in a home caring for his beloved two terminally ill “people”. After this much needed break, McGee felt freer to train and enjoy his life immensely.
Niesy continues: “I have taken Service Dog McGee to several stores with his vest on: the mall, the courthouse, a medical office, a park and the post office. He has been FEARLESS, FRIENDLY, and OBEDIENT. He enjoys “saying hello” and meeting people, and will “sit” or “lie down” quietly when you sit and relax. He will “sit”, lie “down”, “stay”, and “come” on command. He will also “cover” your back while at a checkout counter. I have been able to give him a bath and brushing, which is truly a feat, because McGee was always so hypervigilant that he even was terrified of being groomed.
McGee comes to me every day asking for pets and hugs!! He loves “going to work” again and likes it when I roll down the car window and let him get some air! Twice, McGee and I have met feeble older gentlemen when out and about, and both times he tried to go with them – obviously, they reminded him of his former handler. He TRULY wants someone to take care of. I have greatly enjoyed having McGee as my guest and I feel he is ready to go to work with a new handler.
If you think McGee would be a good fit for you, I would be glad to meet with you and take him out for a demonstration of all the commands/tasks he knows. If you cannot travel all the way to me, contact me for arrangements and I will see if I can meet you somewhere to reduce travel.”
Prior to Niesy’s time working with McGee, Laurie (CEO), who had originally trained McGee about 4 years ago for his handler’s declining Alzheimer’s and mobility issues, had a 3 hour training session with McGee. McGee has a very sharp memory, and training with him was a breeze because McGee seemed to have remembered the year they trained together and all the same commands were utilized.
Laurie’s write-up was this: “I took McGee out into public for at least 3 hours; two at PetSmart and one at the local supermarket, and McGee passed EVERY SINGLE Public Access Test command on the first try, even though he had not seen me (his first trainer 4 years ago) for 3 years. It was as if no time had passed, even though McGee’s handler had not taken McGee out into public for a very, very long time.
Literally, every command was perfection. McGee’s situation has been difficult. When he was first adopted to the handler, a loving and gentle older man who was starting to develop dementia, McGee was not only trained to pass the Public Access Test, but learned tasks such as leading the handler home if the handler became disoriented, offering Deep Pressure Therapy, and was utilized for light mobility and stabilizing the handler’s weakened gait. McGee still has all the energy and intelligence that he possessed when first trained with his handler, and thrived once outside the house and in his Service Dog vest. He has a very strong need and desire to be intellectually and emotionally stimulated. He bonds very quickly.”
During the 3-hour session, Laurie noticed that: McGee “heeled” perfectly on and off-leash, knew “sit/stay”, “down/stay”, “watch me”, “leave it”, met all sizes and breeds of dogs at PetSmart with absolutely no reaction except polite sniffing (even with dogs that seemed slightly aggressive toward him), let children run up to him, (excited to pet such a “beautiful” dog – McGee is striking in his beauty), and met female and male adults when they asked to pet. At the local grocery store, McGee “heeled perfectly with a shopping cart”, did no excessive sniffing at particular foods, and even “heeled perfectly with a motorized shopping cart” that beeped when it went backward. McGee did not startle at anything, was able to keep wonderful extended eye contact with the Laurie, seemed to enjoy playing with various toys (he prefers lower-frequency ones, such as the “duck” or “pig” versus the higher frequency ones), and was treat and praise motivated. His tail was consistently wagging when he was out, doing “his thing” with the Laurie.
It is the Laurie’s firm opinion that over time, due to the extreme, very sad deterioration of his handler’s condition, McGee has only led a life of the basics; food, shelter, water, and love. It was equally clear that McGee was extremely protective of his handler -which translates into the fact that whomever McGee is matched with, a VERY tight bond will eventually develop, which is what one wants in a fully-trained Service Dog. McGee, of no fault of his handler, has simply become bored; and his intelligence and desire to be out and about, working, turned him into a completely different, happy and determined dog.
According to his handler, McGee does get distracted by the feral cats in the neighborhood, but it is not known how he would react to living with one. McGee would be best suited, according to Laurie, with a person who would be consistent taking McGee everywhere in public, going on frequent walks, and socializing with other dogs and with people. He can heel on either the left or right side, with absolutely no pulling (his Starmark Pro-Training collar is perfect for him). He has a perfect controlled “load and unload” with vehicles. He will “wait” at every doorway. He can get a little car sick on wavy roads, so slightly opened windows to balance vertigo or a bit of Dramamine will help him get over this, as he hasn’t been in the car much recently. McGee also naturally does front and back “covers”.
McGee does NOT like going to the veterinarian. The handler could not remember if McGee had had a bad experience with a veterinarian in the past that led to this (he did not have this when he was first adopted out), but even while having no trouble whatsoever navigating every aisle in PetSmart, once we got CLOSE to the Banfield veterinary area, McGee halted and would not go further.
McGee would be suited for a handler of any age (regardless of gender), who’s age appropriate activity level is 30 minutes of activity twice a day, and working as a Service Dog regularly.
McGee’s rescue requires an application process and a signed training contract with Service Dog Express.
Quick assessment of McGee:
- Is in good health
- Is willing to ‘snuggle’ and be held close
- Willing to be petted and touched on all parts of its body, including back legs and on the face without incident
- Makes good eye contact and holds contact for 10 seconds or more
- Seems to be genuinely interested its “person” and seeks attention
- Responds to praise and petting
- Allows hand in its mouth without incident
- Treat motivated for training
- When walking, is more interested on its “person” than on other distractions (other people, dogs) – Responds to ‘leave it’
- Not easily frightened (a response to a loud noise is to be expected, but the dog should not show excessive fear)
- Is friendly, calm, and generally “laid back” around all ages of children and male and female adults
- Exhibits no excessive barking (training can correct this behavior)
- Shows absolutely NO signs of aggression toward other dogs or people
- Is microchipped
- Up to date on vaccinations
- On monthly preventives
- Unknown relations with cats
We do not transport dogs as there are numerous dogs across the country that need a forever home and have the potential to be a Service Dog. Our dogs have been assessed as potential Service Dogs but have not been trained yet. That training occurs when paired with their handler. This enhances the bond between dog and owner.