MCGEE – San Antonio Area


Meet Majestic McGee!!

McGee is a neutered, 6-year-old, 55 lbs., St. Bernard mix

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 recently adopted stray dog for approximately 4 years.

However, don’t let McGee’s age deter you. When the assessor took McGee out into public for at least 3 hours; two at PetSmart and one at HEB, McGee passed EVERY SINGLE Public Access Test command on the first try, even though he had not seen the assessor (his first trainer 4 years ago) for several years.

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.

Now, as the handler’s condition has deteriorated to the point where he can no longer utilize McGee except for gentle companionship in the home, the family knows that McGee still has the potential to be a wonderful Service Dog for someone who can utilize his potential. McGee lives in a household with another dog who was rescued about two years ago, and they get along marvelously, even though the younger dog is highly energetic.

McGee still has all the energy and intelligence that he possessed when first trained with his handler. The assessor did notice that McGee is EXTREMELY bonded and protective of his “person”, which is understandable given the fact that in the past year or more, the handler has been basically home-ridden. Therefore, any new owner would need to understand that the transfer of bond will take time – but not too much.

The assessor saw the immediate and undeniable difference once McGee was taken from the household, has his SD vest on, had on a Starmark ProTraining collar, and was out in public. McGee seemed to “come alive” again. What was TRULY amazing is that the assessor did the entire PAT test with McGee PLUS extra tasks – and McGee was sharp as a tack. He had forgotten NOTHING. He 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, met female and male adults when they asked to pet, and interacted beautifully – everyone consistently commented on his beauty. 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 assessor, 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 assessor.

It is the assessor’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 the assessor, with a person who would be consistent taking McGee everywhere in public, going on frequent walks, socializing with other dogs and with people. He can heel on either the left or right side, with absolutely no pulling. 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.

So, if you want a completely Public Access trained Service Dog who is gentle, attentive, and highly bonded at home, this is your dog. Because of his protective nature with his extremely disabled handler, any new meet and greets should be done without the handler present and at a neutral location, slowly and gently. Within minutes of being in McGee’s home after a warning growl at the door until the handler was next to him, the assessor played “fetch” with McGee in the backyard, used high-pitched praise, and McGee immediately loosened up. P.S. The assessor, who goes to quite an extent to evaluate the dogs, also had McGee accompany her to the public restroom at the grocery store. We ALL, as handlers, need to get our SDs used to the “flushing sound” and the sound of the air blower. Thus, the picture in the bathroom stall!

McGee would be suited for a handler of any age (regardless of gender), who’s age appropriate activity level is 15-20 minutes of activity, such as aerobics or jogging on a daily basis. Spending a good part of the day on their feet.

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
  • Housebroken
  • 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.

Service Dogs For Those With PTSD and Other Disabilities