Category Archives: Mobility

Difficult training day with Brayton and SD Midas

From trainer Letty, who is working with 16 year-old Brayton. Brayton is intellectually disabled, legally blind, has ataxic cerebral palsy, speech language delay and tends to become anxious with new environments and/or people, causing him to be slightly angry. He is extremely loving and affectionate and seeks physical input to ensure security.

“Today was a difficult training day with Brayton and SD Midas. Brayton was having a very off day, and really wasn’t in the mood to train. We pushed through for about thirty minutes before Brayton’s mood got the better of him. The good thing that came out of all of this is that Brayton turned to Midas for comfort! He laid down on the floor next to him and hugged and loved all over his best friend/ SD. It was truly a beautiful sight!”


Stunning Stella!

An update from trainer Cherry Jenkins, who is training with Nancy, who suffers with mobility, vertigo, and anxiety, and her husband, Jim, who suffers mobility and anxiety, and their SDIT, Stella!

Stella is absolutely stunning!  Stella is part Rottweiler/ part Wolf, which makes her a truly beautiful dog!

Stella is the SDIT to Nancy and her husband Jim. Even though they have only had a few session due to interruptions with their health, they have made tremendous strides with Stella, training whenever they can. This really showed at our latest session in Target.

Stella ‘heeled’ beautifully at all times and we practiced ‘leave it’, ‘stay’, and ‘down’.  Stella kept perfectly calm even when a group of noisy children walked their way. Stella is also learning to ‘cover’ as one of her three tasks.”

.IMG_20140710_161922_817(1) Nancy

The Amazing Nina and SD Sea-Jay

I have had the AMAZING opportunity to meet one of the kindest, most compassionate, and intelligent clients – Nina. Nina has a rather sad story. She has advanced degrees in engineering, and many years ago, while overseeing a construction site on a bridge, a large truck lost control and she was forced to jump off the bridge, landing more than 30 feet completely on her back in the water. She was in her early 30s. Needless to say, the damage to her back as a result of the fall left her completely disabled, and she had to give up the work she loved and was so good at. Since that time, she has gone through depression and anxiety, and suffers from severe migraines almost every other day that leave her completely incapacitated. One of the things that has kept this beautiful woman, now in her late 40s, going, is her passion for rescue dogs. She self-trained her first Service Dog, who passed away. She decided to rescue another dog to self-train, and fell instantly in love with a dog, “Sea-Jay”, a boxer, who is deaf. It was an instant bonding between the two of them – and knowing that Sea-Jay was about to be euthanized, she adopted him immediately. She has completely self-trained Sea-Jay using sign language, and Sea-Jay comforts her during every migraine, lying beside her making sure that a part of his body is touching hers to let her know he is there. Sea-Jay is given SO much love by dear Nina – it’s the most beautiful thing to watch their bond. We have trained both in-house and had our first public training at Petsmart, where Sea-Jay was able to perform all Public Access Commands using sign language – we just have to work on his “stay” for longer distances. Sea-Jay heels perfectly, loads and unloads, constantly makes eye contact with Nina, stays close to her side if she starts to get unsteady due to her pain, and is not distracted by anything – other dogs, cats – you name it. This is just one pair that proves how much rescue dogs, even with disabilities of their own, can be wonderful Service Dogs to responsible, loving handlers. Nina even offered to establish a scholarship in honor of her Service Dog that passed, Abbie, to be donated to, our non-profit arm. That’s just Nina – giving and compassionate to the core. And Sea-Jay gives the most wonderful, slobbery kisses!!!

Nina and SeeJay


Shauna and SDiT Kilo UPDATE!!!!!

I just received a message from Shauna who is currently working with SDiT Kilo.  Shauna is currently getting ready for Surgery next week.

Shauna writes:

Kilo went with me to per-register at the hospital  where he did wonderful.  He focused on me, and laid at my feet, while we were in the waiting room.

Waiting Room 1
Kilo laying nicely in the waiting room, for the next mission for the day.
Waiting Room 2
Watching mom for commands and signals while in the waiting room.

While I was also at the hospital, I needed to have an EKG completed and labs, Kilo was remarkable, never left my side.  With me on the table, he went into a down, and waited until I commanded him “let’s go.”

Nothing seems to bother this little boy, who is dedicated to making his mom safe.
Kilo waiting for labs to be conducted, watching mom.

I just want everyone to know how wonderful Kilo is doing with mom about to have surgery. Mom, Shauna, is waiting until she is aware of who will be with her to ensure he is there before she goes into surgery and when she wakes.  The hospital seems very accommodating.  YAY!!!!!

Congrats To Claudine & Beautiful Lexie

From our dear rescuer and trainer, Cherry Jenkins:

Congratulations to Claudine and beautiful Lexie, who passed their Public Access Test today!

Claudine suffers from PTSD, panic attacks, several ruptured discs in her back, and asthma.

Claudine has been working tirelessly with her Labradoodle, Lexie, for around 2 years, training for this very day!

First, we started at Target. Lexie unloaded from the car on Claudine’s command, waiting with the door wide open. Walking across the car lot with moving traffic was not a problem for Lexie, who stayed close to Claudine and walked steadily beside her in a perfect heel.

They both entered the building with Lexie responding to Claudine’s instructions, Lexie held perfect position behind the cart. Then, Claudine demonstrated for me ‘Leave it,’ placing food very near Lexie, who completely ignored it.

The team walked through a maze of obstacles, and Lexie stayed in a perfect heel following Claudine’s movements as they weaved through.

A distraction was made by me as we walked around, clattering some pans together nearby, but Lexie kept to heel and focused on Claudine the whole time.

Three types of sit were demonstrated perfectly by the pair, along with sit and stay and down and stay at at least 10 feet lengths, which Lexie performed beautifully.  A stranger approached and asked to pet Lexie, and Lexie stayed in sit while petted and remained so the entire time.

Then, after a well-controlled load back into the car, we drove to Petsmart where Claudine and Lexie were asked to walk by pets and birds. Lexie went by completely ignoring them, and at one point, Claudine sat her down right by some cats, but Lexie paid no heed.
Then, finally we drove to a cafe, where Lexie showed how she lays quietly under a table in a perfect down.

But its not over for these two! Claudine now wants to perfect her three tasks and has asked me how to teach Lexie how to retrieve things, which of course is one of my specialties so will be happy to oblige!!”



Savannah and her SD Valentina

From our trainer Letty, who is working with Savannah, a dear 17 yr-old with Epilepsy and Developmental Delays, and her SD, Valentina.

“We had a wonderful training at Target! We worked on a small issues that Valentina and Savannah were having with touching while they walked. This is a technique that is used in mobility; it allows the SD to learn the “normal” gate of their partner. In doing this, when the gate changes or is compromised, the SD can help to correct or stabilize their partner. In some cases, as with Savannah, it can be an indicator of an impending seizure.

I came up with a little device that would keep them closer together and that could be manipulated to continue to “close the gap” between them. I used a stretchy cat collar and a clip. One end was threaded trough the clip and the other into Savannah’s belt loop. Then I simply closed the collar. This gives them both a bit of room to get used to feeling that close as well as keeping them together. It worked like a dream!!!”


From Inuko – who recently lost Trooper:

“Amongst these pictures is one that I look at and just can’t take my eyes off of… Others, I see Trooper as Trooper and it makes me cry all over again. You can see his pride, his affection, his strength, his warrior attitude in almost all of these, and in the rest of them, you can see how much he loved his Momma.

There is also a picture here of me and Trooper with the Marlin, TX Fire Department. They stopped us and asked for a picture, and then talked with us for HOURS. If I’m not mistaken, they actually have this hanging up in the Fire House now. They said they wanted a copy of it so they could do that. They loved Trooper, and it breaks my heart to know that I have to tell them that he’s passed. I have yet to do that.

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Brayton and SD Midas Update

Service Dog ExpressFrom trainer Letty, who has been training with 16 year-old Brayton, who is intellectually disabled, legally blind, has ataxic cerebral palsy, and speech language delay. He and his mother are working with Letty consistently.

“We had a wonderful training at Target. Brayton walked around with minimal cues with SD Midas. The only thing that required cues were walking too fast and hand position of the leash. I came up with a fix for the leash by combining both the short and longer ones together. It worked beautifully. Brayton was able to walk with his wonderful SD with little to no cueing.”