Please meet this week's Wag Your Tail Spotlight Dog, April!
April's human Richard P. shared with us:
I would like for you to meet my second best friend, APRIL.. ( My wife is my first best friend, but after 35 years together, she deserves top billing! ) So about April. April is a three (3) year old Black Lab, and Chow Mix. As a pup she was injured in a kennel accident, and lost her big fluffy tail, it had to be docked to a stub, as a result of most people mistakenly think she is a pit mix.. She was up for adoption and no-one would even consider her because of the tail, or rather the lack of one! We found her, just days before she was to be "put down", and what a find!
We were told that she may have, or develop, a "Bad Temper", because no-one knew what breed she was, and that we should not expect too much from her because she didn't appear very smart, or trainable! BOY, WERE THEY WRONG!
April is more than a family pet, she is a WORKING SERVICE DOG! She got her basic training, here at home, with the help of our 14-year-old Lab, "Buddy", who was a Coast Guard Drug Dog, Retired.. ( Now passed away..) Then April went to a professional Trainer, "Jill", who taught April to pick up my car keys, when they were dropped, or bring the cell phone, on request. That evolved to turning on and off the lights, at bedtime, fetching the phone when it rings, bringing a water or juice bottle from the refrigerator, upon request, picking up Ink Pens and pencils, and even getting my baseball cap! April has retrieved dropped table service at home, and in a restaurant, she has retrieved my wallet at the Hospital Cafeteria Check Out Line, even went under my parked van to get my cell phone, when it fell out of the holder on my power chair, and went under, half way, and out of reach! April attends Church almost every Sunday, Standing when the songs are sung, and even folding her hands (paws) on the edge of the pew during prayer time. ( Jill, and my wife taught her that one.)
So why do I need a trained, working dog.? I retired from the U.S. Coast Guard and developed problems with my feet. I had the right leg amputated below the knee, and part of the left foot as well. There are a lot of things I don't do well. Like walking around in the dark, after turning out the lights, to go bed. Or trying to get a drink after I have removed my prosthetic leg, even balancing and leaning down to pick up my keys, or a pen, or the phone, if they were dropped.. Moving from one room to another to answer the phone when someone calls, often takes longer, than the phone will ring, and I miss the call.. But NOT when April brings the phone to me.
So you see why I say April is NOT a PET. She is indeed much more than that. She is my Second Best Friend, My Helping Hands, My Support System! It's a simple fact, we saved her life, and she, makes mine so much better, because of it!
As a footnote... We were asked by the kennel that April came from, to "Foster" a Male Lab-Mix who had been rescued from an abusive home. He is a year and a half old, and very timid. He had laid in his kennel for two months and would not raise his head, he would not look at the staff, and would even hide, if someone came to see him! They said he had not one time wagged his tail, while they had him at the kennel. We have had him six months now, and he tries to imitate April! "Gilligan", is now learning to retrieve, and races to get to the item first! His tail never stops! From abused and timid he is becoming a strong and helpful little boy! And it is due in part to April. And the effort and affection in our home.
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