Rocket's DogBlog - Natural Empathy

Chapter 43

May 4, 2012

Yo boy.

We are in d-e-e-p trouble here. Five words: Great Dane Service Dog Puppies. Sends a chill down the spine, doesn't it? I mean, c'mon, can you imagine MERYL as a SERVICE DOG? Seriously?

Yeah, me neither. But my Auntie Pat (CCI Superstar Puppy Raiser) told me about an organization called PpaWWS, which stands for Paws and People Assisting Wounded Warriors. Very cool, right?

See, they use Great Danes (and the occasional German Shepherd, Bulldog or Standard Poodle) to assist veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or Traumatic Brain Injury. Their website states "PpaWWs is the only service dog program that uses Great Danes, a breed that due to their size naturally performs many of the mobility assistance tasks needed by those with TBI. They also have a natural empathy which inspires them to learn psychiatric service tasks on their own initiative to assist with PTSD and TBI symptoms."

Meryl was reading over my shoulder. "HA! I knew it," she said smugly. "I could be a service dog if I wanted to." She peered at the screen again. "I have natural empathy."

I looked at her dubiously. "Well, sure you do, but that's just part of being a service dog. The whole being-out-in-public thing for you kind of baffles me. For instance, you don't ride well in a car: you don't sit still and you try to climb into the front seat all the time. I can't imagine how'd you manage on the light rail or a bus."

"I could learn to be better in a car," Meryl admitted. "I kind of like watching Marianne freak out when I pretend to shift gears for her."

I started to snicker but caught myself. "That's not very nice, or helpful," I said sternly. "Service dogs are supposed to be helpful, you know."

Meryl rolled her eyes. "Fine. Tell me more about PpaWWs."

I scrolled through the website. "They help heal mind, body and spirit. Well, that sounds like CCI dogs. Hey this is cool! It says "Service dogs in training between 8-9 months of age are matched with Wounded Warriors. Then the Warrior is guided to train their own customized service dog through a six month Warrior Training Program.""

Meryl looked startled. "Wow, if CCI worked like that you'd already be matched with someone. I dunno, Rocket, I kind of like having you around for another six months."

I nodded. "Yeah, but it would be fun to learn together with the Wounded Warrior. I guess both programs work well in their own way."

Meryl nudged me. "What's the website say about puppy raisers? Do they even have them?"

"Yup, there's a tab here for puppy raisers." I clicked on it. Meryl and I groaned in unison. "WE WANT YOU!" it said in big bold letters.

"Oh Dog, don't let Marianne see that or we're doomed," said Meryl gloomily. "CCI puppies are one thing, but I'm not sure John would be excited about raising Great Dane puppies." She shuddered. "Mina would have a heart attack. Dozer would move out."

"Yes, but you and Dewey and Marianne would love raising a Great Dane puppy, so that's three for and three against. I bet John could be swayed." I pointed to the photos. "Look, it's a mini-Meryl!"

"Aww, she's almost as cute as I was at that age," Meryl cooed. "Hey, it says they need puppy raisers in Fayetteville, NC; Manchester, MD; Delaware and San Diego. I don't see Denver listed."

"That's a relief," I sighed. "Still, if they knew there was an eager puppy raiser in Denver, that could change."

Just then Marianne walked into the room. I slammed the laptop shut and Meryl and I pretended to argue over a toy. She eyed us suspiciously. "What's up? What were you doing on my laptop?"

"Nothing," I squeaked. Meryl winked at me, then barked and ran for the back door. "OUT, I NEED TO GO OUT RIGHT NOW," she barked loudly. Marianne ran after her. "OK, OK, I'm coming, stop barking!"

I quickly logged off the PpaWWs website, but first I bookmarked it. You know, just in case Marianne ever wants to look at it. Heh.

Chow for now!


Questions or comments for Rocket? Would you like to be notified when Rocket updates his DogBlog? Send him an e-mail!

Would you like more information about Canine Companions for Independence or perhaps be a puppy raiser? Call 1-800-572-BARK or go to CCI for details.



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