Clover came to her family a few days before Easter in 2017. She was the last of her litter and already showing signs of illness when she got to her new home. She had a cough and spots on her skin which turned out to be kennel cough and demodectic mange. As the months progressed, Clover’s cough worsened. She had persistent bloody diarrhea and needed 10-20 potty breaks a day. By August of 2017, she was leaking urine and having frequent accidents to the point where she had to wear a diaper. Throughout all of this, Clover’s appetite remained healthy, but she was losing weight rapidly – for months she averaged almost 20 pounds underweight. She had no endurance and just wanted to be held and cuddled while she slept. As she grew more and more emaciated, not only were her family members’ hearts breaking, but the FPHC staff’s were as well.
Acupuncture was another holistic strategy that helped improve Clover’s quality of life. Dr. Rensberger used this component of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine to help treat Clover’s urinary and bowel issues. We are happy to report that she is now living a diaper-free life!
Clover’s treatment journey has been long and arduous, requiring persistence and patience from everyone on her healthcare team – her family, Dr. Rensberger, and Clover herself. Two years in and she is living the happy puppy life she wasn’t able to when she was younger. Her skin is clear, her bowel movements are normal, her bladder issues are gone and she weighs almost 60 pounds! She’s sweet and quirky with the energy of a young boxer. When she is not zooming around spreading joy, she is cuddling with her family, laying in cardboard boxes or sleeping with her tongue out. This writer was lucky enough to be in Clover’s basic obedience class and watched her learn quickly and with enthusiasm. She is living her best life because her family dedicated themselves to her healing and ventured outside the box with her care. Now, she travels, she plays, she learns, and she is a source of joy to her family at home and her FPHC family.
Kenny has a very important job at Holy Family School. He provides emotional support to the students in his mom’s class 3 days a week. Kenny started working at his mom’s school in 2016, when he was only five months old. He was trained in the classroom setting to get him used to being around kids. The school’s principal was very supportive and allowed teachers to bring golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers to school because of their friendly dispositions.
The students’ reactions to Kenny are positive. At first, they are very excited to have a dog in the classroom. Before Kenny can visit, though, the students go through their own training to prepare them for how to act around a dog. Kenny’s mom says they need to prove they can handle it. When he’s in the classroom, Kenny sits with students and listens as they read to him. Rumor has it that he is the best secret keeper in the school, so students are comfortable confiding in him. He certainly lives up to his reputation!
Kenny also helps students learn about responsibility. One of the classroom jobs is “Pet Patrol,” which consists of filling up Kenny’s water bowl, cleaning up his toys at the end of the day, and taking him outside for potty breaks. Students submit an application for the job and it lasts for a whole semester.
In his spare time, you will most likely find Kenny playing fetch with his beloved tennis balls, chewing on toys and sticks, and cuddling with his family. We are proud to serve Kenny and his family!
Anne and Teagan are still very new to each other. They began their relationship on October 22, 2018, and Anne says they still have a lot of work to do to get to know each other. Specifically bred to be a seeing eye dog, Teagan’s training began when she was just 8 weeks old. She spent the first year of her life working with a puppy raiser who taught her to be a good canine citizen and exposed her to many different environments. Next, Teagan spent 5 months at the guide dog training facility learning how to keep Anne safe. When Teagan was ready, Anne flew to The Seeing Eye facility and worked with her there for two and half weeks from 5:30 am – 8:00 pm every day. Anne says it was hard work, but worth it!
Day to day, Teagan helps Anne navigate the world at work, at the grocery store, when they are out with friends, and all of the other places that Anne frequents. Anne says people always ask if Teagan can do tricks. “Well, she keeps me out of moving traffic,” Anne laughs, “and that’s a pretty good trick!”
Anne says Teagan and all of her seeing eye dogs have helped her maintain her independence. When she lost her sight, Anne lost herself. The dogs brought her sense of self back. “They keep me being me.”
The Seeing Eye estimates that it costs $60,000 to unite a dog with a client, and it is done at no charge to people in need of a seeing eye dog, like Anne. Not only is there no fee for the dog, but the organization flies clients out to the facility and houses and feeds them while they work with their new seeing eye dog. “It’s wonderful,” Anne says. “Such a gift.”
If you are interested in helping out organizations that train and place seeing eye dogs, they are always in need of puppy raisers. You can also donate online to your favorite guide dog school.