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To Celebrate Graduation, Service Dog Surprised With Magic Trip

Ashley Wilt is a full-time college student, photographer, and puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Being a puppy raiser means she takes in adorable pups knowing that in only a few short, sweet months she’ll have to say goodbye. Although the heartbreak is guaranteed Ashley says it’s worth it to be able to help raise a dog for service.

“The months of love while raising the puppy and the years of pride after they graduate overshadows the bouts of sadness that are weaved in the middle,” she says in an interview with Rover.

As a puppy raiser Ashley has a huge responsibility. Her latest charge, Elijah, is a 1 year old yellow lab who is less than a month away from his graduation. But before he’s ready to graduate he must respond without fail to around 40 different trained commands. “Without fail” means regardless of distraction, be it a room full of toys, good-smelling food everywhere, or crowds of noisy children who want to play. So as part of Elijah’s training, Ashley felt a trip to Disneyland would not only test his focus, but also make a few happy memories before it was time to part ways.

 

 

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Elijah had a fantastic Disney experience, decked out in his mouse ears, “first visit” button, and a leash marked “in training” so people would know he was working, even if it looked like play! Ashley’s photography skills came in handy for capturing the most precious moments of their trip, and will help her remember them years from now while Elijah is assisting someone else.

 

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Elijah seemed extra comfortable introducing himself to the characters that hang around the park for meet-and-greets! He snuggled right up to Pooh bear!

 

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And watch him just MELT right into Cinderella’s lap!

 

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And of course he had to meet every service dog’s favorite, Pluto!

 

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He and Ashley had a fantastic time together, and she got to take home a souvenir that will keep the memory of their time together and their trip to Disneyland fresh for years to come!

Ashley and Elijah have been together since the summer of 2017. He’s attended her college classes with her and has learned nearly everything he needs from her. Ashley will be seeing Elijah off at graduation soon, but she knows he’s ready.

“He is truly my best friend and has taken on my sophmore year of college with me… I have high hopes for his future as a service dog but I don’t think I will ever stop missing him.”

Ashley fosters for both Canine Companions for Independence and her local rescue. Follow her and her fosters on Instagram!

H/T: fox13news.com
Featured Photo: @fosteringpuppies/Instagram

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Written by Adriana Sandoval
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