Gander is a celebrity; everywhere he goes he's photographed, on Facebook he has over 250,000 Facebook likes. Gander is a service dog, one of several in America that help improve the quality of life for thousands of people with disabilities.
He was my best friend, the one being that gave me unconditional love at every hour of the day, expecting nothing in return, but, he was suffering too much to keep him going any longer. Today, I lost my beloved service dog, Fred.
Employers often don't have the necessary information on how to deal with employees who require assistance dogs. In addition to needing to understand how to integrate the dog into a work setting, employers have concerns about how other employees will react.
As Nate, 29, walked through the kennels, Otis was the only dog not barking excitedly -- he was just leaning his face against the fence and hoping for some love. Nate took the American Bulldog for a walk in the parking lot, the pup instinctively trotted straight to his car, and it was love.
We've both grown up a lot in the past few years. She left for college and gained some perspective and maturity. I socialized service dogs-in-training and along the way, learned to be patient and in control of my emotions.
I learned that when your dog does something completely outrageous, you may not be able to keep completely calm, but you have a lot of control over how you react. One thing I learned is to 'find the funny,' rather than get angry or frustrated.
The close relationship between humans and dogs is something of an evolutionary mystery. Is the dog a slave, or a parasite? Have we adapted them to our purposes, or have they exploited us for free food and shelter? Either way, we are so close it can hurt.
We have even been known to FaceTime so they can see their granddogs, much to the confusion of Julie and Stephan who look quizzically at the screen when they hear the high pitched voices calling their names.