Creek Speak October 2017 - Page 15

Samwise

the Service Dog

+ By Holly, Cara, and Trevor

A furry, four-legged friend is not a companion you see with most Silver Creek students. There is, however, a yellow lab that roams the halls with sophomore Jackie Ginsborg. Samwise is training to be a seeing eye dog. Guide dogs for the blind are the most common service dogs, but there are other types as well. Some other examples of services provided by these highly trained dogs include: civilian uses like seizure assisting, depression and anxiety dogs, military and law enforcement, and EMS dogs who aid in search and rescue efforts. Jackie decided to train a service dog because her dad trained one while he was in college. Jackie has trained two service dogs already, and “Sam-bam” is her third. She absolutely loves dogs, loves the training process, and is happy to help others by providing this training.

To become an official service dog for the visually impaired, the trainee goes through multiple stages of training. From the beginning, the dog is born to serve. Then, the dog is sent to a trainer, who doesn’t necessarily need certification, but does have the dedication and ability to give the dog the proper training and experience. The training lasts between a year and a year and a half depending on the dog’s learning speed. After the initial training is complete, the dog goes back to the service dog school for 3 months to be sure all the proper services are formally learned and they are accustomed to the official seeing eye dog harness. After the final training, the dog is handed over to its owner for a trial and hopefully full time, day to day use.