Shelter to Service Dog program gives new lease on life to recipients, four-legged helpers

Shelter to Service Dog program gives new lease on life to recipients, four-legged helpers
Bank Image

When he returned to the shelter a week later, his resolve began to melt. “There were a few dogs that were adorable, that just — they need good homes, and they were still here. Teddy was still here,” he recalled.

So while his wife was going through training to work with shelter cats, he asked if he could take Teddy out for a run. “He was very spastic in his cage, but when I got him out, I just remember I sat on the bench, I started getting one of my TBI-related migraines. He sat down near my feet, and he looks at me and licks me,” Obst said.

That’s when a volunteer noticed that they were bonding and told him he could take Teddy home for a weekend sleepover. “I said, ‘No, no, I’m good,’ and the lady said, ‘Your wife has already signed him out.'”






Ms. B, a service dog in training, looks up at dog trainer Steph Martin, at the Northshore Humane Society in Covington, La., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. The nonprofit has launched a Shelter to Service Dogs program to pair trained dogs with human recipients. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




The couple took the brindle-coated dog to a pet store to gauge his disposition, and he didn’t lunge, bark or snarl at the cats in the store. “He just sat there and looked at me. … He wasn’t aggressive. He was very docile,” Obst said.

Obst began to think that his shelter dog could be turned into a service dog to help him with mobility issues. They contacted Stewart, whose business includes service dog training, to see if Teddy, now Kimber, had the right stuff.

“I remember Evan sitting here, and he says, ‘Dude, not all dogs can be service dogs.’ And I said, ‘Let’s try.'”

As it turned out, Kimber readily took to his new role. “We started taking his behavior of working with me, some of the natural stuff, and so he’ll go between my legs to brace me, he’ll lean into my knees and brace me if I’m wobbly,” Obst said.

Three months into his training, Obst brought Kimber to a volunteer appreciation party for the Humane Society. Bernier was amazed at how well-trained Kimber was, and at their story.







NO.servicedog.adv.05.JPG

Kimber looks up at Lawrence “Otter” Obst at the Northshore Humane Society in Covington, La., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. Obst adopted Kimber from the shelter. Trainers helped Kimber to become a service dog for Obst, who has medical conditions from his service in the Navy. The pair inspired the non-profit to launch a Shelter to Service Dogs program. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




“At that point, I knew we were going to do this, that we’ve got to do this with shelter dogs,” Bernier said.

Setting up the program took about a year, Bernier said, and was officially launched in February. The initial goal is to train and pair four dogs with recipients per year.

Source

About Mary Weyand 14450 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*