Hi Rhonda and Stephanie!
I thought I would send you an update about our Veterans Moving Forward Vincent who is in the final stages of his Service Dog training. He is scheduled to begin training with his veteran in the middle of March. We are using these final weeks to sharpen his Service Dog skills and teach him some specific skills his veteran needs.
Vincent's veteran is a chaplain who works in hospice. In addition to needing a Service Dog for himself, his veteran would like Vincent to be a Therapy Dog for the hospice patients. There are differences between a Service Dog and a Therapy Dog. One significant difference is a Service Dog is expected to focus on his person, ignoring other people, whereas a Therapy Dog needs to be very social with strangers. We feel Vincent can do both jobs, so we have been working with him switching between the two jobs. He has been doing therapy work in an office with a LCSW.
Vincent will be flying home to Texas with his veteran. To prepare him for the trip we have been visiting the airport. He has had the chance to see what an airport looks like, go through security and even board a plane. We found out happy Vincent can set off the metal detector alarm with his wagging tail! Here is Vincent peeking out from his seat in an airplane.
A representative from Veterans Moving Forward visits the home before the veteran gets a Service Dog. It is important to see the living situation to better prepare the dog for life with the veteran. In anticipation of his move, Vincent has begun living with a cat and is getting extra exposure to children.
We learned Vincent will be sitting on the backseat of the car when he commutes to work with his veteran. We researched how to do this safely and discovered the Center for Pet Safety recommends only one company's car harness based on an independent crash test study. (This research was very eye opening!) The recommended company, Sleepypod, graciously donated a harness for us to try with Vincent. I have been working with Vincent to get him used to being tethered with a seatbelt and learning how best to have a dog ride on the seat. I ended up finding a hammock style seat cover works great for Vincent when he is in the harness and keeps my seat clean. Here he is riding in style!
It seems like yesterday that I picked up 8 week old Vincent from the farm. Now he's all grown up and almost ready to do the work he's been training so hard to do. Thank you for donating this fabulous dog to Veterans Moving Forward! He is a very special boy!
All the best to you!
Donna and (almost!) Service Dog Vincent 🐾❤🐾🇺🇸
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