There are moments in life when one has to stop and hold onto the memories and joys while your heart and head are wrestling to comprehend and accept. Recently many people at Canines for Service had those moments with a special dog named Nicodemus.
“Shelter dogs make their way to our program for training and sometimes one of the dogs touches our lives deeper than others.” – Canines for Service
Nicodemus arrived from Onslow County Animal Services a young, thin, energetic 18-month-old pup with few manners, no training, and intelligence you could see in his golden hued eyes.
Nicodemus challenged many of the trainers with his cleverness and humor. Yes, a dog with a sense of humor! He quickly learned how to open his kennel run in 10 seconds or less to surprise the person taking care of the dogs with a visit to the food preparation area. Nicodemus was quick to learn his skills and was a favorite of the staff, students, and volunteers. What Nic wanted was to be with a person – that is when he was happiest.
“While Nicodemus was in training, an Army Veteran came to talk with us about getting a service dog and submitted his application.” – Canines for Service
Tommy knew it was time for him to have a service dog in his life. After multiple deployments to Iraq and having seen the impact of war, life back home was hard to handle. He was tired of living chained to his service-connected disability and was ready for a change. One of the most difficult factors for the Veteran after being approved for a service dog is the wait.
When Tommy received the call that we had a service dog for him, his excitement increased. The weeks before team training are the longest for the client. Emotions begin to swarm; excitement, anticipation, anxiety, happiness. During this time, the client is sent a manual to study in preparation for training. It may be a bit overwhelming, but the better prepared they are, the better the training week goes. The moment the first meeting occurs with the service dog, all of the anxieties leading up to training dissolve.
“In Tommy’s case, we think it was love at first sight. As the team works to become one unit, Tommy has ventured out more and is now in the process of relocating to continue his education in history; all with his service dog by his side.” – Canines for Service
The team then spends the next week working with the client and service dog. The days are long, and the work is hard both mentally and physically to teach the client what he needs to know for a successful service dog team. The day the new team walks out our front door is a culmination of many long hours of care and training with many hands and hearts to make it happen.
“Our feelings span sadness as we let one of the dogs go, to joy knowing we have helped someone regain a life they once knew.” – Canines for Service