The emotional and physical benefits of pet ownership are undeniable. We have worked with companion dogs for quite some time, and now have begun to open a new chapter for KeenDog and our dog training programs by helping pair and train service dogs for the people that need them. By adding a service dog to one’s life can allow that person more freedom, confidence, companionship and meaning.
When we were contacted by Brian’s sister Kathryn about adding a service dog to his life we began the selection process. When choosing a service dog you must pick a dog that is people oriented, motivated (but not overly), confident, coachable and tolerant. We evaluate a litter at 6 weeks of age and choose the pup whose personality and inherent traits match the disposition needed for the individual. Bruska was the smallest in the litter, had a sweet calm demeanor, well rounded excitement level and it didn’t hurt she was pretty adorable. It was her who was chosen for the task, and came to us at 8 weeks of age.
Bruska learned how to heel, come when called, sit/stay, down/stay, extended place work, how to back up, retrieve and be calm and well mannered in a wide variety of environments. Bruska loves to learn, she has never met a dog or person she doesn’t like and loves herself some snuggle time. Throughout her training process we updated Brian on her achievements so he could be involved at a distance with her life.
At completion of her training we took the trip to Salt Lake City, UT to bring Bruska to her new home. For the next week we worked with Brian at his condo 3 times a day to transfer Bruska’s training from us to him. Brian suffers from early onset alzheimer’s, Bruska is his aid in keeping him to a consistent schedule and providing companionship. Brian lives in a community that has welcomed Bruska with open arms, she frequents Brian around the grounds, restaurant and wherever Brian goes. By having Bruska in his life she has given him a daily regime to keep his mind on, confidence to engage with other people in his community and a best friend for life.