Howard Magazine - Page 46 - At your service continued (2)

Howard Magazine
- Page 46
At your service continued (2)

may be released to more suitable endeavors or become pets.


“Where did we go wrong?” she recalls her husband, Art, lamenting.


Her son, Devin, who was in high school and served originally as a co-raiser, adopted one of the dogs as a pet, but Patterson says she chose not to “because I didn’t want to take on caring for dogs with two different routines. Now look at me!”


The retired teacher is currently assisted with the tasks of daily life by Bruno, another Lab/golden-cross raised by a college student who credits him with earning half her diploma, as he went everywhere with her. Now Bruno knows to climb in Patterson’s lap to control her tremor disorder, attends her art and yoga classes, and vacations with the family at bed-and-breakfasts and hotels. He recently assisted with a presentation on service dogs, embodying the Americans with Disabilities Act definition of service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.”


And although her first service dog Karlyle has hung up his “reporting for duty” yellow cape and retired, he’s been adopted as a pet by the Patterson family. (This option is available to clients when “their” service dogs retire and almost all take it, unless medically incapable, in which case other family members often step up, according to Bentzinger.)


Both dogs perform basic tasks like opening and closing doors and drawers, but Karlyle prefers to be “the closer” — that was always is his favorite job, and if Bruno is not around Patterson still lets him do so. Bruno prefers opening and tugging anyway. In the active role now, Bruno also picks up items Patterson drops and not long ago pulled off her socks.


While Karlyle is a permanent member of the household, and now claimed by Cindy’s husband as his very own, Cindy thinks back about giving up those pups she raised.


Just when she had trained each one to be a model canine citizen, she had to turn it over and start again.


Patterson had always thought of herself as a teacher and saying goodbye “was as hard as it was for me to give up teaching” because of illness.


More than 1,200 puppies are being raised by such volunteers. Bentzinger quotes one of CCI’s longtime puppy raisers to explain:


“‘It’s like raising children. When they get old enough, they go off to college. When they’re done with college, you don’t want them to move back home, do you? You want them to go out, find a job, be happy and make a difference.’


“That’s exactly what these dogs are doing.”