The Human Animal Bond

Today on October 16th, 2015. Snowy went onto Rainbow Bridge, her wings opened and she took off to start her next journey, she will wait patiently to meet Trish and all her friends there at the Bridge, she will be missed. Our hearts are heavy but it is the memories that will lift them all to new heights. Forever young, forever white, she will always be Trish’s shining light at night. Snowy will be missed and never forgotten. Goodbye our Dear Friend.

I have always been blessed with the most incredible relationships with the animals in my life. As a group, they taught me myriad truths. Individually, each showed me something special about the traits I possessed, but could not bring to the surface without their help. This is true of all of the wonderful animals I’ve had the privilege of working with – but particularly true of those with whom I shared my life and my home.

In honor of that special relationship shared by a human and companion animal, in this section I will introduce you to some remarkable people with whom I had the pleasure of working, as they sought to improve and enhance their relationships with their own dog partners…

Last year, I received a phone call from an older woman, named Trish, living in the Catskill Mountains. Trish was 78 years young, unable to drive, and had limitations with walking and using her hands. Her American Eskimo, Snowy, had been by her side since three months of age; and was having problems with submissive peeing and fearfulness. We spoke on the telephone and scheduled an appointment; and that’s when our journey began.

Once I was introduced to Snowy and Trish in person, and saw their home-bound world, I made my assessment: Snowy suffers from fear
aggression; Trish has physical and mobility restrictions, uses a walker-chair, has braces on her legs, and terribly arthritic hands. From that first meeting, the goal was to develop behavioral modification for Snowy’s entire way of life, while incorporating familiarity with all of Trish’s medical equipment and limitations. As we progressed, we began to reintroduce Snowy back into a world that was safe, and to increase and build Snowy’s confidence in herself.

Confidence is very hard to build in dogs who suffer from fear, so we wanted to find something that Snowy naturally does on her own, and then build on that talent. While talking with Trish at her table one day, we noticed Snowy was spinning on her hind legs in the air. I realized that this was it! Freestyle Dancing…

We knew that we had a tough road ahead of us. It would involve Snowy’s ability to overcome all her fears of change, noise, new equipment; but from the very beginning, I could tell that Trish and Snowy were determined to become partners; in life and in dance.

That was a year ago. We are still working with Snowy; but many things have already changed for her. The submissive peeing has stopped; Snowy is allowing others into her world and surroundings at home; and she has made new friends among humans, and other dogs. We have
steadily been bringing both Trish and Snowy out and about, away from their house. And while we still have a long way to go, I firmly believe that the power of the Human-Animal Bond will heal all in time.

Meet Trish and Snowy… A remarkable pair!

2011 UPDATE TRISHA and SNOWY
HURRICANE IRENE

On August 28, 2011, Upstate New York was hit with one of the worst hurricanes to come inland. Trish and Snowy live in Prattsville, NY.

Prattsville was wiped off the map after this hurricane. The devastation and loss for all was horrific. As the water worked it’s way up to Trish’s house, evacuation was esstential for both Snowy and Trisha. Emergency crews worked as quickly as they could to get all in danger to shelter and higher grounds. This is when Trisha saw that Snowy was truely a Service Dog for her. Staying by her side and comforting Trish with her presence. Trish wanted to share with you part of her service routines that she performs for Trish. Here are examples of the service that she provides for Trish. Trish teaching Snowy many things that she can do for her as needed.

2010 UPDATE TRISH and SNOWY

Trish is turning 81 years young this year, and Snowy is 4 years old. I have seen the two of them become a remarkable pair in both of them dealing with their very own special limitations. Trish amazing in her ability to understand that behavior modification is a lifelong commitment with remarkable results when following through and understanding that change comes with time and patience, and obtaining the knowledge to help make these changes.

Snowy has shown through her intelligence that she can learn and overcome fears that she faces on a daily basis. Snowy this year has passed her Canine Good Citizen Test ( a very hard feat in itself ), due to the fact that they are very limited to , socialization, outside of their home environment. I do not see them enough, but I have seen the sensational results. Snowy we have taught her to become a service dog for Trisha with the skill of retrieving the phone for her, she also picks up her own toys and returns them into a basket. Continuation of Snowy’s Freestyle Dancing is moving forward with a new twist of Trisha sitting in her walker chair.

We have added a Treadmill into Snowy’s exercise program for those days that its hard to practice their freestyle. Snowy adapted to it magically and can do a full 20 minutes on it by herself, willing jumping on to go for a run.

Changes come with age, but Life never stops, and the willingness to learn to adapt is there for the taking. I am very proud to be part of their lives !!!!!!!!!

Trish & Snowy February 2015

Four years have passed since I have written about Trish & Snowy a lot has happened. As we all get older things that we were able to do on a regular basis gets harder and more strenuous to do. Trish is now going on 86 years and Snowy is now approaching 10 years of age. The bond between the two of them is forever growing, adapting, and evolving together to care for the needs of one another especially the need of Love. Trish has a harder time getting around, she is not as mobile as she used to be, and Snowy has her ups and downs also, but together they get through the rough times. Freestyle has changed to the game of “What can you do for me”, with Snowy going through various Freestyle moves. The one and most important part of this great team is their bond and love for one another. We might not be able to do everything we used to do but that is the wonderful part of growing old with someone who accepts you for who you are. Forever Trish & Snowy !!!!!!!!!!!!