Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Protecting Your Pet: Canine Companions
Dogs are often referred to as man's best friend - but they can also be man's greatest gift. Many of them can even be credited with helping some people live more independent lives. In tonight's protecting your pet, health specialist Marilyn Mitzel is introducing us to some of these incredible "Canine Companions."
WSVN -- How would you like to have someone to grab a snack for you from the fridge?
Pick up things that you drop, or get the phone.
Sound like a luxury but for the physically challenged it can be a neccessity.
One that Jeff Schaffner is thrilled to have.
Jeff Schaffner: "Gann and I got on very well right from the start."
This former commercial airline pilot's life changed drastically when a water skiing accident left him paralyzed from the neck down.
It changed again when gann came into his life.
Jeff Schaffner: "I always had dogs, always loved dogs really enjoyed animals but I never thought I could have a dog as a Quadriplegic."
Not only can he, but without Gann, life would be much more difficult for Jeff.
He would have to rely on others to do the simple things most of us take for granted.
Jeff Schaffner: "He's the best roommate I've ever had -- that couldn't cook!"
Gann came to Jeff through an organization called Canine Companions.
They use only golden or labador retriever mixes because of their lovable, non-aggressive nature.
Lybbi Kienzle from Canine Companions: "These dogs want this job if they don't want the job then they don't make it through the program."
They learn up to 64 commands and will not do anything until they are told to.
But they aren't the only one's who must go through training, so do their potential new owners.
It must be determined that they really need - can take care of - have the right environment and personality for a dog.
Susan Clark from Canine Companions: "It makes it all worth while to watch
someone's life completely change from being disabled and having to struggle.
To having a new companion that helps him do so any things."
For Jeff and Gann - it's a win win situation.
Jeff Schaffner: "You don't find your self getting lonely it really levels out the highs and the lows. He's a happy guy - He keeps me happy."
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