Meet Shadow, the Hang Gliding Service Dog
Last week, when Dan McManus and his service dog, Shadow, were hang gliding high above Salt Lake City, Utah, McManus turned to his dog and -- wait, what? A service dog was hang gliding?
Yes. A service dog was hang gliding.
Meet Shadow, the service dog who hang glides. Is he the first dog to hang glide? We don't care. This is amazing.
First, we need to get something out of the way. As much as a dog can be said to want to hang glide, Shadow wants to hang glide. Well, maybe he just wants to be with his owner so much he's putting up with the hang gliding part.
The hang gliding part means being strapped into a harness and flying dozens (hundreds?) of feet off the ground, often in lazy circles, on the breeze. Which sounds nice, actually.
It all started when Shadow would just not sit and stay when his owner wanted to go hang gliding.
(If we had a quarter every time that happened to us ...)
“He always liked to chase me,” McManus told Fox 13. “So I would be out here flying, and he would chase me and jump up at me and sometimes get my foot and hang on a little bit.”
Shadow is a psychiatric service animal who helps McManus with his separation anxiety, and part of that job is making sure he's always around his owner, who struggles when he has to be alone.
“He seems to know he’s a service dog,” McManus told Fox 13. “He seems to know what his job is. If I’m anxious, he has that calming effect on you.”
But when McManus took to the skies alone, it disturbed Shadow greatly. So McManus built him a special harness to see if he'd like to go for a ride. He did. “He wanted to go along, and he didn’t really like to see me up there by myself,” he said. “He needs to keep me safe, so he needed to go flying with me to keep me safe.”
And Shadow seems to like it up there.
“He’ll put his little paws and arms out around me and hang onto my arm and get right with it,” McManus said. “He shifts his weight. He looks down at the ground. He looks around at the other gliders in the air.”
Heartwarming, isn't it? Don't get any ideas.
Via Fox 13