In the wee hours of October 22nd, 2009 when most people in our small little town were sleeping soundly, I was burning the midnight oil with my mother and Ralph welcoming 5 sweet little puppies into this world.
Of the 5 puppies, one of them completely won our hearts and found his forever home right here with us. At birth he was named, Mr. Blue (we had painted the toenails of each pup so we could tell them apart and his were blue) – but he quickly earned the name “Beast” as he was the biggest of the litter. By 4 months old, he was nearly 60 pounds!
We began training Beast by the age of 2 months with simple things (socialization mostly) and focused on Bonding with him. By 4 months of age, we had a trainer (from a reputable service dog training program) come in to work with him weekly. The trainer was amazed at how well trained and mature he was for his age. It was like he was meant to be a service dog all along.
By the age of 6 months, Beast was learning how to do simple things like pull my wheelchair and knew how to sit, stay, and heel (mostly, lol!). He could pick many things up and hand them to us but still needed to learn the art of being really gentle with them.
By the age of 8 months, Beast showed us a few things the he knew how to do all on his own….like alert for seizures, low blood sugars, and open doors. He was just starting to come into his own and it was truly amazing!
When Beast hit his one year birthday, he was already going into public with me, pulling my wheelchair (and pretty darn good with knowing what left, right, and stop meant), and being on the alert for many other things that I could have never anticipated he’d do. We began working on him deciphering the difference between remote control end telephone.
By the age of a year and a half, he had pretty much mastered picking up any item that we wanted him to (except anything covered in plastic – he was really not sure what to do with anything covered in it). He could pick up pieces of paper, change (although we did have ONE incident where he swallowed a quarter by accident while trying to give it to me – and he was frantic looking for it!), pens, glucometers, phones, wallets….and yes, even items wrapped in plastic! He has learned not only how to open doors that swing out, but he taught himself how to open doors that pull in (as long as they have a french door handle) and he will even alert for other people’s blood sugar/blood pressure issues.
Beast will be turning 2 in October and people still can’t believe how well trained he is and how much he can do. When we first started training him, we didn’t know if he’d be the ‘right fit’ or if he’d be successful in all the aspects he needed to be in order to go out in public – but I went with my gut and I decided right from the start that, no matter what – Beast would always be our loving dog – and, if he was successful in the training, it would be a wonderful bonus.
On his off time, Beast enjoys playing with his mom and dad (who are in the same home with him) and being silly
He loves dress up
…And relaxing afternoons by the water
Playtime with his service dog girlfriend, True
And, as you can tell…but he enjoys nothing more than playtime in the pool!
Beast has given me my independence, my confidence and my freedom back – I will forever be grateful and will never forget how absolutely wonderful he is!