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Therapy Dog Overcomes a Disability
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Rachel McPherson, founder and executive director of the Good Dog Foundation, calls Dutchess and Condon an inspiring therapy-dog team. “Clients and patients take comfort in hearing how Dutchess rebounded from a grim prognosis, and see her as an example of what love and determination can do.” Dutchess’s remaining senses have become heightened, and the fact that she has overcome her disability with grace is not lost on those she interacts with, says Condon. “Whether you are a dog or person, consider not just what’s inside you but what is around you. It is how you fit into the rest of the world that is important. People say to me, ‘I feel so bad for her’ and I say, please don’t. She is as happy as she has ever been in her life. Someone’s petting her now, or wants to play with her right now or talk to her. If she was not able to extend her consciousness outside of herself, she would not get that happy. She derives it from how she reacts with others.”

The deep bonds of love and trust between Dutchess and Condon have fueled the engine of recovery and allowed her to continue to make a difference in people’s lives. “I don’t know if I have ever seen a bond like they have,” says Enea. “Mark lives for Dutchess. He is so proud of how much she loves her work, and she knows she is safe with him. She is an inspiration.”

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 69: Mar/Apr/May 2012
Karen Jones writes for The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. She regularly covers the subject of service and therapy dogs.

Lisa Prince Fishler/Printz Photography

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Russell Hartste... | June 27 2012 |

That is such a gorgeous golden! It is truly amazing, beyond words, how dogs can influence and change people’s lives. A bond made in heaven regardless of perceived disabilities. Miami dog training & Pet Services

Submitted by Eileen Scheiner | July 3 2012 |

How wonderful that Dutchess was given the chance to prove herself with her abilities not her disablilty. Dogs don't sit around feeling sorry for themselves like a most humans would. Thank you for sharing your story about your amazing girl. I'm sure she's touched more lives than you realize...may she have many more years of healthy happy service

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