Fall 2023 Companion eNews

Each of Jeanette’s expertly trained service dogs, Jolly, Serena, Thelma and Fiji has gone above and beyond to ensure Jeanette can remain as independent as possible, learning to open sliding doors, retrieving lunch from the fridge and even putting dirty dishes in the sink. “I love life. I love adventure,” Jeanette says. “Without my dogs, I might not be so willing to do all of those adventures.” Over the years, Jeanette and her dogs went on countless trips – from canoeing to skydiving!

This spring, a puppy raising program with double the impact began at San Quentin Rehabilitation Center in Northern California, when two future service dogs, Artemis and Wendel, entered the facility to begin their journeys. “I am able to give back to a community that I took so much from,” one handler shares. “This dog is going to serve a veteran, someone with disabilities. He has a job to do, and I have a hand in it.”

“In combat, I saw things no human should see,” U.S. Army veteran Rob shares. “The trauma caused me to isolate myself and avoid social situations.” Dealing with effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he sought help from Canine Companions, matching with Service Dog Fritter, who is trained in tasks to interrupt anxiety and hypervigilance, reduce the impact of symptoms of PTSD in public places and to awaken him from nightmares.

The furry faces in Baylor Scott & White Health facilities are part of the nearly 10-year, one-of-a-kind collaboration between a service dog organization and a healthcare system. Six expertly trained facility dogs – and counting – use their 45 tasks to support patients in rehabilitation clinics, a children’s medical center and a heart hospital – in addition to several therapy dogs to provide comfort to patients.

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