Puppy Dom has had a busy month enjoying fun fall activities and taking his first visit to the hospital his puppy raiser works at, while Service Dog Zari has been loving settling into her new role and her new home.

Dom Does DogFest

Dom was involved in his local DogFest event in Sacramento. This year, the event was held virtually, but Dom and his puppy raisers made an appearance at the event, explaining their role as puppy raisers and showing off Dom to all the attendees. Dom’s buddy Villyan Bijev from the Sacramento Republic soccer team Dom is named for! Dom’s DogFest fundraising team, appropriately named Indomitable Pup, raised over $1,200 for Canine Companions!

Fall Fun

Dom’s puppy raisers took him along on a fun adventure to nearby Apple Hill for some apple picking and cider drinking. There were a lot of good, socially distant distractions there with people, crowds, pet dogs and the smell of delicious food all around. Dom did well ignoring distractions, including the occasional rogue apple on the ground.

Halloween was spent safely outdoors with a few other Canine Companions people and puppies. Dom saw a lot of people in costume that day, which didn’t seem to faze him. They entered him into a costume contest, so Dom also got to practice a little dress up. He was also a very good boy in the evening when kids knocked on the door for candy, maintaining his “down” command. Great job, Dom!

To continue the fun, Dom was introduced to a plane and got to ride on a bus! When an opportunity arose to expose Dom to a private plane and a bus, his puppy raisers were sure to jump on it. Dom practiced loading in and out of the plane, and rode at his puppy raiser’s feet on the bus. We were told he was “perfect,” and we aren’t surprised!

Dom Visits the Hospital

Dom got his first taste of medical offices and hospitals, a setting very familiar to his puppy raisers. First, Dom experienced three medical appointments. He practiced his “under” command at them and was very quiet.

Dom’s puppy raiser, Jennifer, is a child life specialist and facility dog handler at Sutter Children’s Center, Sacramento. Jennifer and Facility Dog Glimmer comfort and encourage children battling cancer and help them through medical procedures.

Dom recently spent a day at the hospital with Jennifer and big sister Glimmer. Dom was introduced to a lot of new sounds and smells, and did his best to stay focused even with the employees “ooh”ing and “ahh”ing over him. He also had good practice going through a lot of different types of doors – automatic doors, automatic double doors as well as practice riding on an elevator. While he was there, Dom also said hi to nurses and even waved to a patient and staff in isolation through a glass door. We’re sure he made a lot of people smile that day. Great job, Dom!

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Zari Settles In as a Service Dog

As we told you in our last blog, Zari was matched as a service dog and we couldn’t be more proud! We’re excited to tell you more about her perfect match!

Zari’s Perfect Match

Zari was matched with Bill, who has Parkinson’s disease. Bill and his wife Sharon have been involved with Canine Companions for decades as breeder caretakers and incredible volunteers. Zari helps Bill walk more confidently, helps tug him out of bed in the morning and out of a chair if he’s seated. Sharon says, “Zari is so smart and learns things quickly. She helps Bill walk more confidently because he holds a handle connected to her vest. She also loves tugging Bill up out of his chair and keeps trying until she sees him standing.”

Zari can assist with tasks such as retrieving his meds and opening doors for him. In the future, they hope to train her to do that when she hears the alarm on his phone go off. She can bring the phone to Bill, and she’s just started learning to get a water bottle from the fridge. She also provides constant companionship to Bill and brings new happiness to their home. Sharon says, “She brings a smile to our faces when we play games like cards, puzzles, hot potato, bowling, and more. Like most goldens, she loves cuddling which is extra important to Bill since depression is a part of having Parkinson’s. She can instantly put a smile on his face.”

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Zari Has a Blast

Zari has been so spoiled during her first month in her new home. When she’s not helping Bill with physical tasks, she’s swimming and playing fetch. Sharon and Bill said, “Fetching a ball is her favorite thing to do on land or water which makes it easy for us to be sure she gets lots of exercise.”

The Perfect Pair

Sharon says, “Can you fall in love in a month? Yes! Actually, it was love at first sight!” We’re so glad to know that Zari has found her perfect place. Sharon continues, “We are eternally grateful to Canine Companions for placing this loving dog in our lives. We can’t wait to see what the future holds!”

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this perfect pair, either!

To learn more about volunteer puppy raising, click here.