As part of our partnership with Saint Francis Service Dogs, we are showcasing some of their many success stories. Today we meet Elizabeth and Luna!
We have known Elizabeth for a long time. In 2011, Elizabeth was partnered with her first Saint Francis Service Dog, Zeus. With Zeus by her side, Elizabeth graduated from high school, began her young adult life, and entered the workforce. When Zeus, unfortunately, passed away, Elizabeth became a candidate for a successor dog. Successor dogs are dogs matched with a previous partner of Saint Francis in order for them to maintain the same level of independence and self-sufficiency they established with their first dog. The matching process for successor dogs can sometimes be more involved than a first-time matching because we want to ensure that the new dog fits with the existing style of the partner.
Luna was puppy raised in our Prison Puppy Program and trained by our Kennel Manager and Field Trainer, Robby. Robby noted that not only was Luna a real sweetheart during training, but she also had excellent position work. He says, “She would always be so aware of where she was, whether it be in the right or left position. She always wanted to make sure she did not cause me or whoever was handling her to trip or fall. She always checked in to make sure of that.” Elizabeth has cerebral palsy, and she utilizes her service dog to retrieve dropped or out-of-reach items, carry things for her, and provide balance and steady her step during transitions. A dog with exceptional position work was a must. After a series of matching interviews held at our training facility, where our training team observed Elizabeth working with our dogs, it became clear that Luna was going to be a perfect fit.
Elizabeth says of Luna: “The best thing about the partnership is that she loves me for me. She has made me a better person and has given me the confidence to talk to people. She makes me smile all the time. I am very proud that I am her partner.”