School shooting victim gets help from new service dog

http://www.wkyc.com/story/news/health/2013/11/07/nick-walczak-chardon-shooting-service-dog/3469779/ Monica Robins 7:18PM EST November 7, 2013 CHARDON — Chardon school shooting survivor Nick Walczak has a new friend that will never leave his side. “I’m not lonely anymore. He’s constantly with me,” Nick says. He’s talking about Turner, his new service dog who…

In Jazzy’s Memory

10435_1046660906594_2193508_n[1] W.A.G.S 4 Kids was recently contacted by 3 generous spirits: Carolyn Bryant on behalf of Eric Brown and his best friend Jazzy. Here is their story:

A dear friend of many recently lost his beloved dog, Jasper, aka, ‘Jazzy” to an extended illness. I know that many can relate to the pain of his loss. I’m reminded that the love of a pet owner is often and (at least) quadrupled by the return love of a pet. The dog whisperer in me feels compelled to give a nod to Jazzy’s beloved human, Eric Brown. Eric, without a doubt is one of the finest human beings that I have ever met! I often associate the name, “Eric’ with charity and unselfishly giving to others, most of whom are strangers to him. I briefly mentioned to Eric that, though I wish I can heal his pain, I know I cannot, none of us can (sadly). However, I would be thrilled for you to participate in redefining that pain by helping to light a torch in honor of Jazzy’s loving and indomitable spirit through donations to Eric’s chosen charity, Working Animals Giving Service for Kids.

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In Eric’s words:

Dogs have played a special part in many of our lives and been closely linked to our families for thousands of years. I had a special dog named Jasper (Jazzy) who recently passed away after a struggle was degenerative myelopathy (this is the k9 equivalent to Lou Gehrig’s disease).

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Jazzy was an Aussie Collie mix, a rescue pup, who came to me from the Aussie Rescue and Placement Helpline (ARPH) about 12 years ago. Although a mix Jazzy looked the tri-colored rough collie. He was a joy from the very beginning sweet, smart, handsome, endless energy and oh so eager to please. He breezed through his Canine Good Citizenship testing with nary a doubt. For 11 years he was my constant companion and the perfect dog (if you don’t count a few thousand pounds of shedded collie fur and a few extra barks and I trust me I don’t count those.)

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About a year ago Jazzy started to have trouble getting up. After extensive test it was determined my boy had DM. Over the last year Jazzy and I worked closely with my vet and did twice a week hydrotherapy sessions to help prolong that time he was able to maintain function in his hind legs. I can’t begin to tell you how much closer we grew during this period. A week or so ago things reached the point where it was time to grant Jazzy a graceful exit.

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To honor my friend the illustrious Jasper, I’m hoping you will help me raise funds for W.A.G.S 4 Kids, a wonderful organization that works to help kids with disabilities get service dogs to help kids handle some of the challenges they face in his name. I think this is very fitting tribute my sweet and noble friend and a great way to make a difference by helping kids with services. Thanks for listening. Run like the wind Jazzy.

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HolidayPuppy

Please…No Puppies for the Holidays!

HolidayPuppy

Please No Puppies For The Holidays!

As a parent, I know the temptation of finding each day of the Holiday season a special opportunity to make our child’s material dreams come true.  If you’ve asked your child “What would you like for the Holidays?” there is an implied obligation to ante up and deliver.   If begging for a puppy is the child’s chant this Holiday season, simply dig in your heels and say “No!”

Adopting a dog into a family can set an example for good behavior for a child’s lifetime.  How you treat this pet will be a tangible experience in love, patience, responsibility and handling adversity.  I think everyone should have a dog.  I actually think everyone should have two.  I think every child should grow up learning the lessons animal ownership can teach.  Unfortunately, I am wrong.  There is a lot to consider first.  Be sure to think through the consequences of bringing a living and often demanding addition into your household before you rush out and do something in haste to meet the Holiday deadline.

The fact is, you have a lot of homework to do first.  Successful ownership and training is rooted in all the decisions you should be making before the dog joins your family.  Your first decision is, what kind of adult dog you want to live with.  After about ten months, that adorable little pup you bring home is going to look like a full grown whatever it is you’ve decided on.

Go to the library or search the internet and refer to one or more breed manuals.  Pay particular attention to the pictures of adult dogs and the descriptions of a breed’s traits, temperament, size and demeanor.  If you are interested in “designer” breeds, no one can guarantee a 50/50 split on the traits of each side of the puppy’s background. Cockapoos and Labradoodles  aren’t pure bred dogs.  There is nothing wrong with wanting one, simply understand it’s just a genetic tumble that could turn out any way at all.

Have a family meeting so that everyone agrees in advance what it is you expect.

Nod and smile sweetly at your child as the assurance is made that they will do everything for the dog, they will be completely responsible for feeding, care, long walks and poop scooping, if only, oh please, they can have a puppy for the Holidays.  Forget all of that.  It won’t happen and it never has.  Not since time immemorial have Mom and Dad not wound up taking care of the dog.

Once the family has chosen the breed of dog find a reputable breeder.  Ask your local veterinarian and contact the American Kennel Club for recommendations.  Preferably find someone who is breeding dogs to show.  These breeders take great care to produce the soundest, best quality dogs for their own use.  After picking one or two pups from a litter to keep, the rest of the pups are available for sale.  “Pet only” breeders are not as concerned about minor flaws that may pass on in generations of  breeding and may not be as good a source.

Once you’ve found a good breeder, ask when their next litter of puppies is due.  It probably won’t be for The Holidays.  Be willing to wait. A puppy is an investment of your time, your energy and your heart.   Bringing a puppy into your home should be an event  and celebration all its own. So don’t rush out to bring home a puppy for The Holidays.  For the Holidays, an IOU for the right puppy later, should do.

Wendy Crann is President and Executive Director of Working Animals Giving Service for Kids., training and placing service animals to children with disabilities in Northeast Ohio.  Wendy’s book, “Dogs Don’t Speak English” outlines everything you need to know to pick a puppy and train him as a service animal or simply the best pet you’ve ever had.  To find out more go to www.wags4kids.org.