The “Can Do” Kids are in a tizzy because they are invited to a birthday party for Muggins, Mickey’s service dog.
Hector and Arthur J. have dogs and know what dogs like, but Muggins isn’t just any dog. He’s a service dog. He goes everywhere with Mickey. He is specially trained to guide Mickey wherever he goes.
“Hector, said Arthur J., “We better not guess on this one. We better do our homework. I’m going to look up what service dogs are allowed to eat as treats or what toys they can have.” Hector thought a minute and said, ” Why don’t we just ask Mickey? He will know. It’s his dog”!
“Awe, what kind of a surprise will that be for Mickey? Besides, it looks like we couldn’t be bothered learning about a service dog,” said Arthur J.
So, Arthur looked up about service dogs on the Internet and he found out that service dogs are never allowed eat food from the table or food scraps. A service dog cannot be distracted by the smell of table food when he or she is working. They eat dog food. They can have dog biscuits as a treat. Arthur found a recipe for dog biscuits that is approved by a program that raises service dogs.
The next day, Arthur told Hector what he found. They took the recipe to the “Can Do” Kids Cooking Club and everyone helped make Muggin’s birthday gift…a big basket of fresh baked dog biscuits for the best service dog!
Do you know that it takes very special training to prepare a puppy to become a service dog?
What is a service dog? Why it’s a dog with a very special job. Service dogs help children and adults with disabilities have a full life. There are service dogs who are guiding eyes for those who can’t see. Service dogs help people with all kinds of disabilities including those who can’t hear or have physical disabilities.They are wonderful companions, faithful friends, and hard workers.
Most service dog puppies come from special programs that raise and train service dogs. Soon after a puppy is born he or she is placed with a volunteer puppy raiser family until he or she is ready to be trained as a service dog.
The puppy raiser families teach the puppies to be well behaved dogs. They also make sure the puppies get lots of love and experience many different places and things in the community.
Puppies are tested during the time they live with the puppy raisers to make sure they will make good service dogs. The puppies return to the training center where they came from when they are between twelve and eighteen months old to again be tested. If a puppy meets the requirements, he or she goes on for training that will prepare him or her for a life of assisting a person with a disability. If a puppy doesn’t meet the requirements, he or she is put up for adoption.
The average service dog works for eight years. If the person with the disability can’t take care of him or her and the new service dog, the retired service dog may be returned to the program that he or she came from. The program may find the retired dog a new home. Many families want these dogs because they are so well trained and make good pets.
The next time you see a service dog, remember not to pet him. He is working and you don’t want him to forget, even for a moment, that someone depends on him.