CONGRATULATIONS JASON, CADENCE, AND PAT for working so hard to make this dream a reality for Jason!!
A wonderful report from our incredible trainer, Pat, who has been working tirelessly with Wounded Warrior Jason, who is currently in rehabilitation for his physical injuries at the VA, and his now Service Dog, Cadence!!!
“Cadence had been trained through Service Dog Express over a year ago for an autistic child, but the family had too many issues going on, and decided that their daughter did not need a Service Dog. Laurie trained with them for quite a long time, and Cadence (formerly named Amy), was an absolutely PERFECT Service Dog for this young girl. Cadence passed the ADI Public Access Test (PAT) flawlessly, and Laurie was absolutely amazed by Cadence’s ability to handle the autistic young girl’s behavior. Poor Cadence had to leave the family she had served for so long, but it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
So the WONDERFUL news is that Cadence quickly found the perfect match with Jason on December 5, 2014. He had always wanted a Boxer, and their connection was immediate. His daughter picked her new name, changing it from “Amy” to “Cadence”. But because Jason was in residence at an Audie Murphy Transitional Rehabilitation facility, he was unable to keep her with him in house. Thus, she was welcomed into my home until such time as Jason was able to take her full time.
Keep in mind as you look through the pictures that Cadence came fully trained by Laurie, and since Cadence had already passed the PAT, her transition to Jason was seamless. In order to ensure she was ready to move on to a completely different person and situation as a Service Dog, we conducted several training sessions with Cadence and Jason. She quickly picked up the few new skills she needed, including working with a wheelchair and then a walker that Jason required. It didn’t seem to matter to her that she was now working with an adult male as opposed to a young girl. In fact, she adores Jason! I enabled Cadence and Jason to spend more time together, not formally training, so as to give them more time to get to know each other.
While Cadence had demonstrated all the line item behaviors and skills of the PAT during her training sessions and visits, we ran her through the test just one more time at the Shops at La Cantera and Bass Pro Shop, in San Antonio, on a busy Sunday afternoon. Despite even only having sporadic time with Jason over the past two months, Cadence and Jason still passed the PAT with flying colors. At La Cantera, we took a long walk through the mall, and that day was the very first time Cadence experienced a walker. She is hyper-vigilant watching out for Jason, which is truly amazing and reassuring for Jason.
Next we went to Bass Pro Shop, which was equally as mobbed as La Cantera. The glass elevator fascinated her… Cadence looked out over the store and her head twitched back and forth. The monkeys and other stuffed game animals were of no interest to her! Usually, the dogs Laurie has taken past these stuffed creatures completely freaks the SDIT’s out – so she always had to do careful desensitization with them but not Cadence! In the pictures, she demonstrates her “Watch My Six” move, facing backward to watch behind Jason. That is an amazing task, and adds extra security to Jason while out in public. Cadence performed “stay there” for a girl and worker at Bass Pro to greet and pet her. Then, Cadence performs a “Cover” in front of the walker. She is such a natural!
While Jason is using a walker now, previously he had been non-weight bearing and wheelchair-bound. Also, we took several outings to the grocery store, fast food places, and nice restaurants. It is amazing how comfortable Cadence is in public.”
Service Dog Express would like to personally express their extreme gratitude to Pat for her amazing hard work, willingness to take Cadence in and foster/train her when Jason could not be with her, and do so much training to perfection to ensure that Jason and Cadence will have a long, happy, and fruitful life together!!!!