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Hi everyone! :D I'm new to the GreyTalk forums.. and actually, I'm new to the Greyhound/sighthound scene in general!

 

I've been in search of a Greyhound to train as a service dog. (I won't disclose my disability here yet, but I probably will at some point if I become more comfortable posting on this forum.) I was just wondering whether anyone here uses a Greyhound as a service dog and how the breed has fared in that line of work.

 

Up until a few months ago, I was raising a Golden Retriever puppy to be a service dog, but she washed out because she was overly afraid of noises and was never excited about working. :( I thought her anxiety was something we could just train through until I went to a service dog training meetup and saw how different her attitude was compared to other young dogs her age. I felt it was unfair to force her to be something she didn't want to be and I was having trouble keeping up with her need for exercise, so I retired her to the foster home she had been in before she came to me, and they adopted her.

 

I'm 23 years old but not very active because of my disability. I can do short daily walks just fine, but my Golden Retriever NEEDED two 45 minute walks a day in order to be somewhat happy inside my apartment. I did it until I physically couldn't anymore, and that's when she started trying to chew holes in my wall. (At the service dog meetup, we were out for five hours and she still wanted to come back to the hotel room and play. It was like she had unlimited energy.) I've heard that Greyhounds are very laid back and often make great apartment dogs because they'd rather sleep than demand constant play. How do you feel about your dog's energy level? Would you consider them to be a couch potato, or more active than not?

 

I want to make sure that a Greyhound will be a good fit for me before I adopt. I don't want to have to rehome a dog again because of a bad fit. :( I've already spoken at length with another SD handler who uses a Greyhound and I've gotten some good advice and information. I just want to know what else is out there! I understand that a lot of it comes down to the individual dog, but I figure that without having the dog right in front of me to evaluate, asking people about the breed in general is the next best thing. :) I've already evaluated one Greyhound and found that he was a big too sensitive for service dog work, so I'm still looking!

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you guys have!

 

 

EDIT: Right now, I'm waiting to hear back about this guy: http://www.greyhoundprisondogs.com/details.php?image_id=1080

Edited by Kaila
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Hi Kaila,

 

I will send a message to Greytalk Member Limbrooke83 who has a greyhound service dog named Dee Dee. She is on the site from time to time, but not weekly. Hopefully she will see the message and be able to provide you with some of the info you are looking for. Since you are new here, you can't access the private message system. You need 50 posts to do that, so it's easier if we point her to your message.

 

i know there are one or two others here who have had greyhounds as service dogs but cannot recall who they are. Weekends with nice weather are a little slow here, so it may take a few days before the right people see your post.

 

Welcome to GreyTalk!

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 

 

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Lol! Brooke is actually the Greyhound SD handler that I've already spoken to. :) I was wondering if anyone else had a Greyhound SD. I know they're not terribly common.

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Dee Dee has some demonstration videos on Youtube. Here are some links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn5xf8ngx6I&feature=channel&list=UL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1zLcjFjEbY

 

There is also an organization called Purple Heart Greyhound Service Dogs. I don't personally know anything about them, but here's their website: http://www.purpleheartgreyhounds.org/

Edited by galgrey

Cynthia, & Cristiano, galgo
Always in my heart: Frostman
Newdawn Frost, Keno Jet Action & Chloe (NGA racing name unknown), Irys (galgo), Hannah (weim), Cruz (galgo), & Carly CW Your Charming

Princess http://www.greyhound-data.com/d?i=1018857

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." -- Unknown

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Lol! Brooke is actually the Greyhound SD handler that I've already spoken to. :) I was wondering if anyone else had a Greyhound SD. I know they're not terribly common.

 

That figures. I know there were one or two others here in the past year or two who were either traning their hounds or already had a hound who was a SD. Hopefully they will see the thread and chime in.

Edited by Time4ANap
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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 

 

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How about your non-SD Greyhounds? Are they hyper or very calm, and what level of companionship (more "velcro" or more independent)..?

 

The Greyhound rescue that I'm looking at is affiliated with Purple Heart Greyhounds (a service dog organization for veterans with PTSD). It's called 2nd Chance at Life. :)

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Guest limbrooke83

Hi Kaila! Yep, I'm here! Obviously we've talked a lot about the breed and its pros and cons for service dog work, but huge kudos to you for looking for as much input on the breed as possible! The Greytalk forums are an awesome source of information on this breed. There is a greyt community here of people with tons of experience with greyhounds in general. I think you'll find the greyhound community is unlike any other - kind of like a huge extended family. Greys as SDs aren't terribly common, but they are growing in popularity because of their amazing temperaments. Seems like I hear from someone new every other week who either has a greyhound SD or is training one. :D

 

From everything I've read, Purple Heart Greyhounds is a solid SD program. There is one fake greyhound SD program I am aware of, who does not train their dogs in anything beyond very basic obedience (no real task training), whose trainer admittedly breaks laws while "training" the dogs because "he's just trying to do a good thing," and whose dogs still have major issues just weeks before placement which would cause them to wash them out of any reputable program. So doing your research is definitely a good thing all around. You know Elo on Facebook? She's done heavy research on greyhounds and SDs for the past year, and has finally found her perfect match and is bringing him home next weekend. If you'd like, message me on FB and we can go over some of the evaluation videos of her future service dog candidate and point out the strong points we found that caused her to choose that particular dog. The videos aren't public on her Youtube, but I can ask her permission to share them with you.

 

Not all greyhounds can become solid SDs, nor are greyhounds the right breed for everyone who needs a SD, but that's true of any breed. Based on what you and I have discussed, I think a grey could be a perfect match for you. But definitely continue doing research until you feel confident about this yourself. You know your needs better than anyone. Best of luck to you in finding just the right dog! :D

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I've become a big fan of Dee Dee after seeing her Youtube videos! You two make a great tream!

Cynthia, & Cristiano, galgo
Always in my heart: Frostman
Newdawn Frost, Keno Jet Action & Chloe (NGA racing name unknown), Irys (galgo), Hannah (weim), Cruz (galgo), & Carly CW Your Charming

Princess http://www.greyhound-data.com/d?i=1018857

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." -- Unknown

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Guest limbrooke83

I've become a big fan of Dee Dee after seeing her Youtube videos! You two make a great tream!

 

Awwww thank you! :beatheart DeeDee is a really special dog. I'm really thankful she came into my life when she did. She definitely enjoys her job. :)

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Guest Jacks_Human

Jack is being trained at the moment to be a service dog, although not for me (although I do have a disability, PM me if you like)-- as a therapy dog for children. However, he's very loyal and clever about learning new tasks. For example, he will fetch the mail for me, and knows how to clean up after himself.

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Guest limbrooke83

Jack is being trained at the moment to be a service dog, although not for me (although I do have a disability, PM me if you like)-- as a therapy dog for children. However, he's very loyal and clever about learning new tasks. For example, he will fetch the mail for me, and knows how to clean up after himself.

 

Hi there! Congrats on training Jack to be a therapy dog! DeeDee worked as a therapy dog prior to becoming a service dog, so I know how important and rewarding that job is.

 

I just wanted to clarify something in what you wrote. A lot of people mistakenly use the terms "service dog" and "therapy dog" interchangeably. They are actually two very different things. A service dog is trained to do tasks for one specific person with a disability and is able to go into all places open to the public with his/her handler (this right is provided to disabled handlers under the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other laws). A therapy dog is trained to provide comfort and companionship to multiple people, such as in a nursing home, a school, a hospice center, a library reading program, etc. They can also be trained to provide Animal Assisted Therapy in settings like a physical rehab center, where the dog may allow people to practice mobility by brushing the dog, playing tug, throwing a ball for the dog to retrieve, etc. Therapy dogs are not able to go into public places with their handlers unless given permission by that specific location to do so.

 

Some of the confusion between the two terms comes from psychiatric service dogs (PSDs), who are trained to help with psychiatric disabilities like PTSD, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc. These dogs are often mistakenly referred to as therapy dogs, but they differ because they are specifically trained to do tasks to mitigate their owner/handler's disability. For example, a PTSD dog may wake a person from nightmares, do room searches on command, go into a room ahead of a handler to turn on lights, alert the handler to the approach of a stranger from behind, bring a handler out of flashbacks, lead them out of crowded rooms if they go into a panic attack, etc. The ADA specifically states that dogs whose sole purpose is to provide comfort or companionship through their presence do not qualify as service dogs under the law.

 

Service dog laws can be extremely complicated, so I'll stop there. I just wanted to clarify - a therapy dog is not a service dog, and vice versa. A dog can be trained to do both types of work, and disabled handlers certainly do benefit from the companionship of their service dogs, but the two jobs are very different. Hopefully that all makes sense, lol. If not, let me know and I can try to clarify a bit more. :)

Edited by limbrooke83
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Guest HoundWorks

I actually was just talking with a SD trainer today at our Greyhound group's annual picnic. She had two Greys there who were in training and they were wonderful. She had so many great things to say about using Greys as service dogs and the different approaches to train them depending on what disability they would be needed for. I have always wondered myself why they aren't used more often as service dogs. She gave me her business card and I have it someplace. I'll have to find it so I can give you her contact info. I believe she works with training both hounds and the people receiving them and I'm sure she would be happy to chat with you.

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Guest freightsmom

How about your non-SD Greyhounds? Are they hyper or very calm, and what level of companionship (more "velcro" or more independent)..?

 

The Greyhound rescue that I'm looking at is affiliated with Purple Heart Greyhounds (a service dog organization for veterans with PTSD). It's called 2nd Chance at Life. :)

 

Kaila, I work very closely with Bev Sebastian who founded 2nd Chance and Purple Heart and would be happy to get you in touch with her or tell you more about the service dog program. As a newbee, you can not send emails at this time so feel free to contact me through my website or on Facebook.

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Guest freightsmom

I actually was just talking with a SD trainer today at our Greyhound group's annual picnic. She had two Greys there who were in training and they were wonderful. She had so many great things to say about using Greys as service dogs and the different approaches to train them depending on what disability they would be needed for. I have always wondered myself why they aren't used more often as service dogs. She gave me her business card and I have it someplace. I'll have to find it so I can give you her contact info. I believe she works with training both hounds and the people receiving them and I'm sure she would be happy to chat with you.

 

I think you are talking about Greyt Hearts Service Dogs and Patti Goettler in Woodford VA.

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While you could theoretically train any dog to be a "service dog" certain breeds are likely to be better. Sight-hounds, which greyhounds are, tend to be dogs set up to work alone or in a pack with other dogs in getting prey - hunters would set them loose and they would go and catch the prey and then come back with it -- so they are pretty independent. Contrast that with German Shepherds or the other breeds in the working group that stay with the human partner - for example - finding buried people or tracking mines.

 

I've trained various types of dogs and greyhounds have been the "least interested" in training and it seems to take them a long time to "get it". My doberman was the best - he was focused on me and he wanted to learn. Not that greyhounds can't do it - it just might take longer and the results might be "spotty".

 

Check out the book "Soldier Dogs", I thought it was a good read. There was a chapter or two on how they pick the dogs for military service.

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Guest limbrooke83

I agree greys are more independent and need a different training approach than dogs like labs or goldens, etc. But I've trained quite a few breeds and mixed breeds and DeeDee has been one of the quickest and most motivated to learn new things. I think you have to find what works for that dog and incorporate a different training approach, but greys are obviously pretty intelligent. You just have to make them think that what you want them to do is their idea to begin with, lol. It's easier than it sounds. ;)

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I actually was just talking with a SD trainer today at our Greyhound group's annual picnic. She had two Greys there who were in training and they were wonderful. She had so many great things to say about using Greys as service dogs and the different approaches to train them depending on what disability they would be needed for. I have always wondered myself why they aren't used more often as service dogs. She gave me her business card and I have it someplace. I'll have to find it so I can give you her contact info. I believe she works with training both hounds and the people receiving them and I'm sure she would be happy to chat with you.

 

I think you are talking about Greyt Hearts Service Dogs and Patti Goettler in Woodford VA.

 

Yes, that was Patti and her new organization Greyt Hearts Service Dogs. You can google that name and find her website. It's a small one, but it has contact information. Patti's a great person, with tons of dog training experience on top of greyhound experience.

 

One of her dogs that she brought was Danny, a white hound who looked like he could be Cara's big brother. He was beautiful with a rabbit-fur coat. But what really impressed me was how brilliant and agile he was. He's going to be a star performer, I can tell. :colgate I agree with the person who said that not all greyhounds are cut out to be service dogs. Along with a cat-like "what's in it for me?" attitude and general physical laziness, some just probably wouldn't be interested in doing tasks for his owner. But there are plenty that are eager to please, knife-sharp like Danny and would make brilliant service dogs. And yes, you probably wouldn't have to spend hours a day playing with a greyhound, unlike a lab or golden.

 

OP, what did you mean by "too sensitive" when you wrote this?

I've already evaluated one Greyhound and found that he was a big too sensitive for service dog work, so I'm still looking!
Was it kind of a shy dog? Greyhounds are a sensitive breed, but they do run the range from spooks to bomb-proof as you'll find from many discussions here. Even the bomb-proof dogs are sensitive in the manner that they don't need strong corrections. For example you never need to jerk the leash to get their attention. Once you bond with a dog and he knows and trusts you, the tiniest corrections are all that are needed. I can steer my hounds with merely the touch of the leash on a shoulder, just like an experienced horse steers from the touch of a reign or a shift in weight. I can also direct them with a finger touch. I can stop them with a soft "ah-ah" if I see them plotting some mischief in the house. (Of course that's not to say I never have to yell at them. Ajax occasionally gets the full Voice of God, just short of a lightening strike when he chases or pounces our cat. He's occasionally a pure sh#$head. :lol ) Edited by jetcitywoman

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Hi Kaila!

Yeah i'm here too, hehe.

If you want any of those vids let me know! I know one in particular you can have a look at that's short and sweet with the testing and whatnot.

The thing i've noticed about greyhounds is that they do tire themselves out a bit better than other dogs. For example, let them into the backyard to play with a stuffie, they'll do their "zoomies" (look for zoomies on youtube if you dont know what they are) and they can tire themselves out in 5-10 minutes without much help from you. Then, depending on the dog, they're good to go for another 8 hours without exercise.

 

All dogs have different energy levels. I would suggest going on an outing - maybe a meet and greet - and observing the different dogs.

For instance, I just went to a dog day at a local park, for responsible ownership, and we had greyhounds there.

One of the greyhounds, named Eb, layed down maybe 30 minutes after we had everything set up, and stayed lying down until we left.

Although Eb would be wonderful with settling and quick to lay down for you - he doesn't have the energy level required.

 

Then there are other dogs who don't lay down at all and are still pretty energetic. They might have a bit too much energy for you. These don't have to be dealbreakers, just keep them in mind.

Personally I think greys are a wonderful breed for people with fatigue problems because you don't need to exercise them as much or work as hard to keep them exercised than with other breeds.

But anyways, that's enough of a novel for now. Feel free to chat with me on fb, or Brooke, who's obviously better hehe :)

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Guest limbrooke83

I wanted to pop in again to mention a book I really enjoyed that I think anyone wanting to train a greyhound (in any capacity) might benefit from. It's called "When Pigs Fly!: Training Success with Impossible Dogs" by Jane Killion. It's not specifically about greyhounds, but about the more independent breeds in general and how to get them to do anything you want them to do. I wish someone had told me to read this book before I adopted DeeDee. It really is a great book. :)

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Guest Wasserbuffel

I don't know much about service dogs, but I can tell you about my grey as a pet. My grey is very easygoing and fairly bomb-proof. She's only shown a bit of nervousness about a few things, but generally gets over it with a little help from me. (E.g. she's hesitated to walk past the first snowman she saw, but once I walked her up and introduced her, she never paid them any mind afterward).

 

Jayne generally lazy and laid back. She is always ready for a walk, or an adventure out, but doesn't need one every day to keep her calm and happy. If the weather is horrid, we can stay home and do some training or a puzzle toy instead. We can walk just once around the block, or a couple miles. She's more tired after the longer walk, but she's still happy after the shorter one. She's most energetic when the weather is turning from HOT to cooler. She'll have a couple days where she needs a good run in the yard, or a long walk to get some of the squirreliness out, but after that she's back to normal.

 

Jayne is a loving dog, but fairly independent too. She'll happily join us in the living room on the couches, or she'll be alone in the spare bedroom. Occasionally she throws "fits" for attention, where she'll lay on the bed kicking and barking until we come in and pet her and play with her on the bed for a bit. We could probably extinguish that behavior by ignoring her, but we think it's adorable, so we oblige her.

 

When we're out and about she seems to max out her stamina at about 3-4 hours, then she just wants to go home and nap.

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Guest HoundWorks

I actually was just talking with a SD trainer today at our Greyhound group's annual picnic. She had two Greys there who were in training and they were wonderful. She had so many great things to say about using Greys as service dogs and the different approaches to train them depending on what disability they would be needed for. I have always wondered myself why they aren't used more often as service dogs. She gave me her business card and I have it someplace. I'll have to find it so I can give you her contact info. I believe she works with training both hounds and the people receiving them and I'm sure she would be happy to chat with you.

 

I think you are talking about Greyt Hearts Service Dogs and Patti Goettler in Woodford VA.

I actually was just talking with a SD trainer today at our Greyhound group's annual picnic. She had two Greys there who were in training and they were wonderful. She had so many great things to say about using Greys as service dogs and the different approaches to train them depending on what disability they would be needed for. I have always wondered myself why they aren't used more often as service dogs. She gave me her business card and I have it someplace. I'll have to find it so I can give you her contact info. I believe she works with training both hounds and the people receiving them and I'm sure she would be happy to chat with you.

 

I think you are talking about Greyt Hearts Service Dogs and Patti Goettler in Woodford VA.

 

Yes, that was Patti and her new organization Greyt Hearts Service Dogs. You can google that name and find her website. It's a small one, but it has contact information. Patti's a great person, with tons of dog training experience on top of greyhound experience.

 

Yes! Thank you both! It was Patti. And both Danny and Liberty who she had with her were truly amazing. Especially since they had only started training this April or May (?) and Danny is so close to being ready for service work. Totally awesome!

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OP, what did you mean by "too sensitive" when you wrote this?
I've already evaluated one Greyhound and found that he was a big too sensitive for service dog work, so I'm still looking!
Was it kind of a shy dog? Greyhounds are a sensitive breed, but they do run the range from spooks to bomb-proof as you'll find from many discussions here. Even the bomb-proof dogs are sensitive in the manner that they don't need strong corrections. For example you never need to jerk the leash to get their attention.

 

The Greyhound that I evaluated, Jake, was a small male (~55-60 lbs, I think). It didn't really become obvious how shy he was until I saw him next to a bunch of other Greyhounds. When a new person or dog would arrive, the others would greet them happily but politely, and Jake would stand away from the group with his tail between his legs. We were at Petco for a Meet & Greet, and I had the chance to walk him around the store. There were some men loading big bags of dog food onto the shelf from a cart, and the cart and the noise the bags made when they were dropped startled Jake but not the other dogs. It concerned me, since a service dog has to have solid nerves.

 

I don't know much about service dogs, but I can tell you about my grey as a pet. My grey is very easygoing and fairly bomb-proof. She's only shown a bit of nervousness about a few things, but generally gets over it with a little help from me. (E.g. she's hesitated to walk past the first snowman she saw, but once I walked her up and introduced her, she never paid them any mind afterward).

 

Jayne generally lazy and laid back. She is always ready for a walk, or an adventure out, but doesn't need one every day to keep her calm and happy. If the weather is horrid, we can stay home and do some training or a puzzle toy instead. We can walk just once around the block, or a couple miles. She's more tired after the longer walk, but she's still happy after the shorter one. She's most energetic when the weather is turning from HOT to cooler. She'll have a couple days where she needs a good run in the yard, or a long walk to get some of the squirreliness out, but after that she's back to normal.

 

Jayne is a loving dog, but fairly independent too. She'll happily join us in the living room on the couches, or she'll be alone in the spare bedroom. Occasionally she throws "fits" for attention, where she'll lay on the bed kicking and barking until we come in and pet her and play with her on the bed for a bit. We could probably extinguish that behavior by ignoring her, but we think it's adorable, so we oblige her.

 

When we're out and about she seems to max out her stamina at about 3-4 hours, then she just wants to go home and nap.

 

Jayne sounds like the perfect energy level for me! I hope I'm as lucky! I've heard that females are more independent than males (in all breeds, not just Greyhounds)--would you guys say that's true? I seem to bond best with male dogs (again, of any breed) because they just seem more interested in following me around and being joined at the hip! I really love that in a dog. When I'm at my computer, I love having my feet snuggled under them, or having them spoon with me in bed.. It's the best! All the female dogs I've known have never been interested, or they're interested only on their terms.

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How about your non-SD Greyhounds? Are they hyper or very calm, and what level of companionship (more "velcro" or more independent)..?

 

The Greyhound rescue that I'm looking at is affiliated with Purple Heart Greyhounds (a service dog organization for veterans with PTSD). It's called 2nd Chance at Life. :)

 

Kaila, I work very closely with Bev Sebastian who founded 2nd Chance and Purple Heart and would be happy to get you in touch with her or tell you more about the service dog program. As a newbee, you can not send emails at this time so feel free to contact me through my website or on Facebook.

 

I really appreciate that! I have her phone number but have been far too shy to call her yet, but I'm planning to. We've exchanged some e-mails and I understand that they were hit pretty hard by the hurricane that passed along the west coast of Florida. Apparently they had a ton of flooding!

 

If you have any information or opinions about her program(s), or know what sort of commands the dogs leave the prison program with, I'd really appreciate that. And if you talk to her on a semi-regular basis, a good word might really help me find the perfect dog. This search has been going on for over a year now (if you count the time it took for me to train and ultimately wash out my last service dog in training :(). I'm going to try to find you on Facebook and friend you so we can chat more!

 

I think you are talking about Greyt Hearts Service Dogs and Patti Goettler in Woodford VA.

 

I'll check her out as well! Thank you!

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