Home
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Must Read: Wonder Dog
The miracle and mystery of service dogs

There was a wonderful story in The New York Times Magazine ("Wonder Dog," Feb. 2, 2012) this weekend about a Golden Retriever named Chancer and a boy with fetal alcohol syndrome named Iyal. The story focuses on a truly compelling frontier in service dog training and placement—where dogs work with people suffering from “invisible disabilities.”

Chancer was trained at 4 Paws Ability in Ohio, which has its own incredible story. Karen Shirk founded the organization in response to her need for a service dog, after a diagnosis of myasthenia gravis at 24 landed her on a ventilator. She has dedicated herself to providing service dogs to people, like her, who have traditionally been denied canine assistance.

It is inspiring to read about how Chancer has transformed Iyal’s life. The dog intercedes and comforts him during tantrums and even seems to anticipate and intervene in situations that might set him off. For the first time, Iyal can sleep through the night with Chancer at his side. He’s more articulate and able to think more logically than before.

Chancer’s ability to calm and comfort, to entertain and to act as an ambassador in the world are things all of us who share our lives with dogs—even those who aren’t specially trained—can recognize and appreciate.

Print|Email
Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com

Photo from 4 Paws Ability.

More From The Bark

More in Guest Posts:
Does Hollywood Affect a Dog Breed's Popularity?
Clean Carpet Pet Stains Naturally
Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon (and Dog Lover)
For people on the street, pets provide companionship and protection
Keeping Dogs Safe and Happy This Fourth of July
Beagle: Free to Good Home
The Imaginary Dog Awards
Making Animal Shelters Better
Beware of Algae
Now You Can Have Fit and Fun Dogs With Very Little Effort