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Service dogs graduate to new life
Nelson Garcia Reporter
LAKEWOOD – All were abandoned, some left for dead, but now these dogs found a new “leash” on life as official service dogs.
“I have spinal muscular atrophy,” said Mary Kay Lee. Lee is bound to a wheelchair and needs her dog Potter to act as her hands. “Anytime I drop something, it doesn’t matter what it is he’ll try to pick it up.”
Potter is one of four dogs going through the “pup” and circumstance of graduation Saturday. Freedom Service Dogs celebrated it’s 19th anniversary by officially recognizing the canine partners have been training all year.
“Today’s the day we celebrate that partnership with the dog and their client,” said Dr. Robin Starr, Freedom Service Dogs executive director. “Our dogs really change their lives.”
“Being a cat person my whole life, having this dog come and do for me what he does,” said Lee. “He is absolutely my best friend. I can’t imagine life without him anymore.”
But, life for these dogs is about second chances. Pax graduated today, but last year he was found on the roof of an abandoned house, left for dead. “We rescue dogs from shelters,” Starr said. “We’re looking for dogs that are friendly that are people-oriented that like human touch.”
“Pax is happy to have a home and a big backyard,” said Janell Moseley, Pax’s owner who is paralyzed on side of her body after a stroke. “Pax pulls the wheelchair for me when I’m out in public. He can touch the handicap buttons and open doors for me,” she said.
The work and training by Freedom Service Dogs is done free of charge by volunteers. The group relies heavily on donations. So far, trainers have placed 105 dogs in Colorado.