Sunday, February 17, 2013

Feel-good story: Meet Cricket, assistance pup in training

Cricket, a 14-week-old black Lab, is the new pup on the block.
She's pretty cute--so's her pal, Lucy, who's giving us a chance to get acquainted.

Cricket's just the latest weekend guest at my pal Lucy's house. Lucy's parents have trained several dogs for NEADS, National Education for Assistance Dog Services, which places assistance dogs with deaf or disabled Americans. Most NEADS dogs are trained by prison inmates, but need to be prepared to help people negotiate the outside world. So on weekends, Cricket and others like her stay with volunteer trainers who help socialize them.

In fact, Cricket and Lucy were on their way to SmartPak, the horse and dog supply store on Rte. 9 in Natick. Had I not just finished my morning walk, I would gladly have accompanied them. Besides Wellesley Books, it's my favorite store. Mom actually has informed the staff that if they ever see me hanging around outside to please let me in and give me whatever I want. Actually, I made that last part up. I wouldn't need their help, expert though they are at matters both canine and equine.  I'd just take whatever I wanted.

Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with the author of a forthcoming book about raising an assistance dog!