I’m always amazed by a dog’s understanding, purpose, and compassion. I live near Gallaudet University, a private university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. Yesterday, Phineas and I were going into the store Unleashed by Petco, his favorite place in the neighborhood where everybody knows his name. A service dog was coming out of the store with his mom, a student at Gallaudet, who had her rescue dog trained as a service dog.
We were quickly joined by another neighborhood dog and his dad who has a severe chronic pain disease. This rescue dog was also a service dog, and is able to detect a chemical produced in his dad’s brain that causes severe pain. He alerts him to take his medicine to get ahead of a pain onset.
We talked for quite a while outside Petco and both people said that these rescue dogs were lifesavers for them. I’ve always felt that when I rescued Phineas, he rescued me right back. For these dogs, that isn’t a feeling; it’s a fact. They saved the lives of these people, and that purpose has fueled a deep and unabiding love and devotion that goes both ways. It’s something that anyone can easily see just by meeting them.
I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of how rescue dogs can be incredible partners for people from all walks of life who are grappling with a whole host of health challenges. It’s amazing what love can do.