Show Transcript

Narrator 

Has a dog ever touched your heart, or changed your life?  What if a dog could literally open new doors for you?  Across America, people coping with profound challenges are getting a new lease on life... assistance dogs, loving canine companions are working small miracles every day.  Not just because they're trained, not just because they're smart...but because dogs see the world differently than any other animal, because dogs are born to care about us.

Jennifer Arnold Come here Baby Butler. Thank you. Good puppy!
These are the dogs that are ready for training camp today.
Narrator Just outside Atlanta, you'll find Canine Assistants, a place where man's best and oldest friend is taking on an amazing new role.
Frances Rosemeyer They're all being trained to be service dogs, so we teach them 90 commands to open and close doors, to pull a wheelchair, to retrieve dropped items, maybe remove something from a cabinet.
Jennifer Arnold Say I'm a good girl, and I'm a good, solid, full-service dog.
Narrator These extraordinary animals draw people here from across the country.
Gary Arnold Those with the greatest need go to the top of the list. Maybe they have an illness that is causing their physical skills to deteriorate, and they need the physical assistance a dog can bring, or even emotional support that a dog can bring.
Jennifer Arnold And then, of course, Earl.
Narrator

Families come hoping for a miracle.
What they find is more challenging and more complex.

Frances Rosemeyer From the first day of camp, from that Monday morning, they come so tentatively because they're nervous.
They don't really know what they're walking into, really. I mean, we've tried to explain it to them, but it's a nerve-rackin situation. They're here to almost learn like a new language.
Jennifer Arnold And Max, who's one of our adopted children.
Narrator Jennifer Arnold, Canine Assistants founder, is the driving force behind the program.
Jennifer Arnold Wagner. "Voganner!"
Most of these dogs will end up finding a home with one of the recipients that we have coming into the first day of camp today. So we'll see how everybody matches up.
Narrator Human beings and canines share a special bond. Assistance dogs are adding a new chapter to the story of our connection...
Trainer I've got treats.
You know I've got treats.
Narrator Bringing new possibilities and new hope to the lives of people facing the challenges of disability, injury, and disease.
Jennifer Arnold It's amazing when you look at these little guys and you think that in just a little over a year, really, or a year and a half, they're going to be responsible for somebody's whole life, and certainly for their happiness and their ability to navigate society, and it's an awesome weight.
And yet it's amazing how well they bear it. It just absolutely stuns me.
Aiden Young Big dog! Big one. I would like a big one please.
Laura Young My name is Laura Young. I have 2 children. Aiden is 6, and Abbey is 3.
I'm a single mom.
I'm active duty Air Force for the past 10 years, stationed in Denver, Colorado.
Aiden Young Is that the big light again?
Laura Young Aiden never feels sorry for himself.
He's never jealous of what other kids can do that he can't do.
His sister's dancing around; he's just excited that Abbey's having a good time.
And he never takes anything for granted.
Everything that Aiden sees is just a wonder to him.
Everything that he experiences just makes him happy.
Aiden Young Look!
I love this snow!
Laura Young He never complains.
He's just a great child.
Producer Tell me why you're in a wheelchair.
Aiden Young Because I have cerebral palsy.
Laura Young At 10 months old I was concerned that he wasn't developing the same.
Even though he was my first child, I wasn't really sure. So we went and saw a developmental pediatrician who diagnosed him right away with cerebral palsy and told us that he needed physical therapy and speech therapy and occupational therapy and just a lot of extra help. Right now, we just take it day by day and as he grows, try and see what strengths have grown with him, and it just seems like every day, Aiden learns a new, unique way to do something for himself.
Aiden Young A dog for Aiden.
I can't really stand up by myself, so I want him to kind of turn out the lights for me.
Laura Young Alright. Are you ready to get in your chair?
Aiden Young Sure! I'm ready!
Maybe if I drop my crayon or pencil while I'm working, he can pick it up for me.
Cameraperson Would that be helpful?
Aiden Young Yes, that would be a lot helpful!
Laura Young I just think that it's going to help his self-confidence, and at school it's going to kind of make his wheelchair invisible and everybody just really get to know Aiden as a person as opposed to Aiden as a disability.
Jennifer Arnold I'm Jennifer Arnold, and I'm the founder and executive director of Canine Assistants, and I'm excited that you guys are here.
Narrator Every other month, Canine Assistants welcomes a new group of families to Georgia for training camp.
Jennifer Arnold One thing that I want to say again, you're going to hear this like 3 times this morning, don't have a dog in your mind, okay? Please don't have a dog in your mind. Wait and meet the dogs and sort of decide together with the dog.
Narrator For 2 weeks, they'll work on building a new partnership and a new life.
Jennifer Arnold All these dogs know how to do everything you're going to ask them to do. So it's not the task, okay?
Narrator The hopes of a lifetime ride on the first 2 days, on making just the right match between a dog with special abilities and a person with special needs.
Jennifer Arnold What you're looking for is the dog that comes out and looks up in your face and loves you.
Camp Participant Oh, look at there!
Jennifer Arnold She's like, I just want to kiss your face. I think you're very cute!
Camp Participant Look at! Look at!
Jennifer Arnold The people feel like they're sort of picking out their dog. When in reality, the dog very clearly picks out their person. I don't know what it is.
We know that personality has a lot to do with the matching process.
And from there it's just sort of that magic of chemistry. And when you see those bonds develop so quickly and so powerfully, it's pretty overwhelming.
Meaghan Hopkins This is Wagner.
Deborah Casey Hi sugar.
I don't like you.
He's gonna like you.
He's the one supposed to be your daddy!
Bryson Casey My name is Bryson Casey, 30 years old. I live in Kansas City, Missouri. This is Rachel.
Rachel Rearrick We were together probably about 3 or 4 months, and he found out he was going to get deployed to Iraq, and I decided to wait on him. I couldn't watch the news or anything because it was like, is it him, or whatever. So I just did whatever I needed to do. Went to church a lot and prayed, and he came home safe!
Bryson Casey It was just like any other day. Just gonna go to work. It was rainy. I just remember braking a little bit, and then the car went out of control and spun around a couple times. And then trying to move and couldn't move. And then just lying on the ground wet waiting for the ambulance to come.
Therapist One, two, three.
Theotis Casey It always hurts to see a child that's had an injury like this. It's heart-renching because you can always reflect back upon what your child was. You know, he was an athlete in high school. Then going in the service. Then coming back from the service, being whole. And then this happens.
Bryson Casey I used to go out and just run by myself. I miss that part of it, just not having to tell anybody what I'm going to do and asking for help. I miss just being.
Deborah Casey I remember one thing he said when the injury happened. The injury was bad enough, but, he said, "I'm the one that's supposed to be taking care of you!" And now you gotta take care of me. So he's working so hard that that's not going to be a problem. He's a great kid.
Bryson Casey I'm really excited for the dog. Once I start getting out more in the public, at least I know I'll have maybe like a little buddy with me to help me out. I think it's just going to open a lot more doors, and it's going to be great for me.
Jennifer Arnold Gentle. Gentle! Look at that. Here, you hold this little piece, okay? Good boy. Hold it right at the end. I'll put my hand over yours. How about that?
Chase Wilson She's got sharp teeth!
Jennifer Arnold Yeah, but those sharp teeth aren't gonna get you. For the last almost 20 years, I watched the dogs give themselves sort of wholeheartedly to their task. And dogs are really very smart and able to pick up on the concept of if something falls, I need to pick it up, rather than just learning to pick up one item and another item. Good girl!
Narrator For dogs to be good partners, their role must be second nature, so Canine Assistants Program starts at birth. They breed most of their dogs right here.
Kent Bruner, DVM Two days old and he weighs a little bit less than a pound. Eyes aren't open. Can't really hear us at this point, but he can smell. So it's important that they do get handled and know our scent, and that this is normal. We didn't necessarily plan to do it this way. It's just the way it sort of evolved over time. But it provides us the most opportunities to try and create the perfect dog for someone.
Volunteer We're going into the agility yard, babies! Let's go puppies!
Jennifer Arnold They learn so quickly when they're young, that that's the time that we most need to work with them.
Volunteer Come on, guys. C'mon, run, run, run, run, run, run!
Narrator Training begins early, at just 7 weeks.
Jennifer Arnold They do lots of outings. They help them acclimate to home visits and things like that. It's also a time when you have to be very careful that they don't develop fear issues. So it's important that they have people with them, as they enter situations that are frightening, that they really trust.
Volunteer What are you thinking about?
Jennifer Arnold It's just so important for the puppies to do things that are a little bit scary to them, and when people say it's okay, you can do this, I promise, for the puppies to say okay, I can. Whoo! Good job! Whoo!
Narrator Except for overnights and outings, the dogs live and train here for 18 months. Then, they're ready to find a best friend forever.
Lisa Panish My name is Lisa Panish. My boys are Chase and Connor Wilson. We are from Largo, Florida. Hi. Chase and Connor both have Cerebral Palsy. They both walk a little bit differently. Connor has mild spastic diplegia, and Chase has moderate spastic diplegia and walks with the walker. You want what's best for your kids. You struggle with pushing for independence, but then also trying to be protective of just the world and all the things that happen throughout the day.
Gym Teacher Ready? We're going to do it one more time. This time I want you to move, and I want you to hop like a bunny rabbit. Ready, go!
Lisa Panish

You're always going. (with emotion) One time, one of my friends asked me when are you going to stop? And you don't. And I'm sure you've met a lot of people like that. Maybe some day if somebody said my boys don't have cerebral palsy anymore, then I'll stop. But until then, I'm going to do everything I can –and I’m crying– to make them be independent and do the stuff they want to do without me always having to be there or have an aid there or have somebody there to be with them.

You're going to hold her? You want to hold Foxy? Okay.

Jennifer Arnold Thelma is a very nice dog.
Narrator For some people here, the greatest gift is just to find a friend.
Tom Kay Good girl, Thelma. Good girl. I think it'll be a big life changing experience for her. Just be her best friend. They'll watch movies together. They'll do all kinds of things that other kids can do together that Julia really doesn't have that much experience other than her sisters.
Julia Kay Thelma.
Tom Kay Thelma. She's made it pretty clear. I think she likes Thelma.
Julia Kay Best friend forever.
Tom Kay Best friend forever.
Jennifer Arnold

Dogs are very, very emotional creatures, and because of that, they're very sensitive, and I think that probably of all the things I've learned over the years, it is that the key is the relationship. Come here Harmony! Dogs want to make their humans happy.

Harmony. No, silly! Harmony. Yes! Good girl! Good girl! I don't have any treats, and you still did it for me, didn't you? You're smart!

Narrator What gives dogs this special connection with humans? Over 12,000 years of living and working together. Adam Miklosi, Ph.D. is a world- renowned expert on this bond. For the past 16 years, Miklosi has directed research on its evolutionary roots.
Adam Miklosi, Ph.D. If you want to put it in a very simple way, I try to say to people, you know, dogs live in a universe where the sun are the people, or the humans, so they are focused right from the beginning, and this is one factor what was involved in domestication. For a dog, this is a genetically inherited trait so they really need this relationship.
Jennifer Arnold Oh, fell off the bridge. Oh well!
Narrator Since dogs and humans began living together ages ago, our partnership has been based on mutual benefit, on caring and sharing. As we bred dogs, we built up the traits that make them our best friend.
Jennifer Arnold Dogs are in essence a man-made species. We have created them. In terms of evolution, they're very successful, and that success has been due largely to the fact that they pay such close attention to what pleases us. They recognize that we are more than their meal ticket. We are their partners in life.
Kent Bruner, DVM Really, as much as we like to think we're teaching them all these things, if it weren't for dogs being dogs and having that ability to read us and understand us, this wouldn't work the same way. The dogs understand how they can help in ways that we didn't really intend or really even teach them.
Destiny O’Brien Your ears are soft!
Rachel O’Brien She's soft everywhere! (laughter)
Narrator It's almost as if they could read our minds. Dogs have abilities to help with problems that at first seem invisible.
Rachel O’Brien Think she could be your best friend? A lot of people look at Destiny and they don't see a disability because they just see Destiny. But Destiny, at 6, was diagnosed with epilepsy. In Destiny's case, she falls in that 20 percentile, where it makes hers very severe, very life-threatening. 9 times out of 10, when Destiny has a seizure she stops breathing, and so there has been several, several times where my husband or I have actually found Destiny completely blue. We've been through 2 brain surgeries. They did end up taking about 4 inches of her brain out. Almost losing your child so many times-- it's very scary.
Kent Bruner, DVM With Destiny, with seizures, we don't know how the dogs know that a person is going to have a seizure, but we've had dogs in seizure units who alert 15 to 20 minutes before the EEG would become abnormal, showing abnormal brain activity.
Narrator Not only can some dogs sense that a seizure is coming, but amazingly they seem to feel the need to tell us, to warn us of the danger.
Jennifer Arnold I'm going to tell you our take on seizure dogs. At this point, we don't know to what stimuli the dogs are responding when they can tell in advance that a seizure is oncoming, okay? And because we don't know that for sure, we don't know what to train them for, how to train them.
Kent Bruner, DVM And it could simply be smell. They recognize when this smell occurs something really bad is going to happen to this person who is the most important person to me in the world. So that becomes very distressing to them, and then they want to tell them hey, this really bad thing is going to happen.
Jennifer Arnold So we don't promise that the dog is going to be able to anticipate onset of seizures. But, what helps is the bond.
Destiny O’Brien Is this the one you want?
Recipient What?
Destiny O’Brien Is this the one you want?
Recipient I got it.
Connor Wilson Oh, she pulled me out of my chair!
Narrator Day 2 of camp. By afternoon, almost everyone has paired up, except for one of the twins.
Jennifer Arnold Chase has been the most difficult match in the camp, obviously.
Narrator Jennifer discusses the decision with her trainers, the people who know the dogs best.
Jennifer Arnold Connor and Foxy look great together. They were sort of an instant love match, which has made it a whole tougher for Chase. He seems almost like his being a little more hurt has made him much more cautious with his body. So he doesn't want to get knocked around as much. The primary goal here is that this child needs to walk without his walker, Okay? His brother does, I mean, it's his twin brother. Life is not very fair right now.
Chase Wilson It's already the 14th day!
Lisa Panish No, it's not the 14th day, it's the 2nd day.
Chase Wilson The 2nd!
Lisa Panish We went through 8 dogs. I started writing down all the names of all the dogs. Oakley ended up being the 6th dog he met out of all 8.
Chase Wilson Oh, I don't have it. I don't have it.
Jennifer Arnold Good job! His bother's going to get his dog today. He wants his dog today. We're just going to ask all the recipients to be patient with us. We're going to keep working until we are comfortable with a match for him.
Jennifer Arnold I think that trying to be sure that we have appropriate partnerships and that we have the right dog in the right slot, it's literally like watching tab B fit into slot A. It's easy, and for most of the folks in this camp, we had that ease. For a few of them, it was a lot more difficult, and that's always hard for us. When we don't feel like the emotional connection is there, that becomes very difficult because when you don't have that emotional connection, getting the other things like the task, like the tugging the door open and going for help is so much more difficult.
Jennifer Arnold All right, our first match is Chase and Oakley! (applause)
Kent Bruner, DVM The matching may be the most important part of the whole thing. That 2 days at camp where you make this decision that really impacts everything that's going to happen in the future and everything that's been done to that point.
Jennifer Arnold Bryson and Wagner!
Kent Bruner, DVM Because if you take this great working dog and you put it with this great person and they don't match, it just sort of doesn't work right.
Jennifer Arnold Aiden and Nala! (applause)
Narrator The match is just the beginning, day 2 out of 10 days of intense training...
Jennifer Arnold Conner and Foxy.
Narrator Day 2 in a lifelong journey.
Jennifer Arnold I'm not sure that I understand exactly the magic that is the relationship between people and dogs, but I know that when it works, both for our recipients and for people in general with their dogs. It changes your life. Okay, you guys, look around the room. This is the Training Camp of November 2009.
Gary Arnold Training camps are tough. She puts herself in, heart and soul. So consequently, it drains her. But the whole process of working with dogs, for her is such a pleasure and such an inspiration to her that I think she is quickly renewed.
Narrator For Gary Arnold and his sister Jennifer, Canine Assistants is a true family business. They run the program along with Jennifer's husband, veterinarian Kent Bruner, DVM. (puppy cries)
Jennifer Arnold You need to grow up to take care of somebody, don't you?
Narrator But for Jennifer, it's more than a job, it's a life saver.
Jennifer Arnold Well, when I was 16 years old, I woke up one morning and I went to get out of bed, and I fell on the ground.
Narrator Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Jennifer's world turned upside down.
Gary Arnold She was confined to a wheelchair, and she was lost, emotionally and physically.
Jennifer Arnold I fell completely to pieces, and I quit, and that broke my father's heart.
Narrator Desperate to give his daughter hope, Jennifer's father searched for answers.
Gary Arnold He had heard about a service dog school in California, knew how much she loved dogs and animals, and thought it was a great fit. Unfortunately, that service dog school didn't have the ability to place a dog this far away. So he thought well, if she needed help, surely there were lots of other people in this area that did as well.
Jennifer Arnold So my dad said let's do this; let's make this what you do. And I was so excited by the thought that there was something left that I could do that I mean I really did get up and start fighting. Go ahead. Stop. Yes, what a good girl you are! What a good heel. Turn around. And feed it to her as you're rolling, buddy. Can you stick your hand down as you're rolling?
Narrator Jennifer opened Canine Assistants in 1991. Her own life experience is the foundation of the camp training philosophy.
Jennifer Arnold

I feel like she's doing really well. I don't feel like a dog trainer. I feel more like somebody who facilitates relationships between 2 totally different species.

Good job, guys. Good heel, Nala.

And one of the things that we do when we bring people into training camp is we try to help them understand as much about this very different species with whom they're going to be living as is possible.

Chris Casatelli No, you get out of my treat pocket. Get out of my treat pocket!
Narrator To make the most of our relationship, people need to understand one thing; dogs want and need to make people happy.
Chris Casatelli

Yes! Excellent job. The methodology here really is positive reinforcement for requested tasks. That's basically it. I want him to want to work; I want him to love to work. When I start with a dog, I use a technique that we call targeting. I take treat and I sort of posture the dog with the treat. I don't touch the dog, it's not like a physical posturing. But I use bait to put him in a position to create the desired result. So if I was looking for a sit, I would take the treat, put it over his nose.

Yes, good sit!

From that situation, I would take the treat to do a down. And I would just point to the ground. Yes, good job, very nice! And we get a sit and a down. Okay, so then later as it becomes more advanced, I would just sort of gesture to the floor. Down.

Yes, very nice. So the treat is right there. Then it would be even less the next time, it would just be a command, a verbal command, which would be "down."

Yes, very nice job! Then later, there's no guarantee that Wagner's recipient may be nonverbal, may not be able to give the command down. So in that case, I teach Wagner this, which is just a look to the ground.

Yes, what a nice down. Good job.

Then from there, we say "stay."

Jennifer Arnold We call them minimal movement cues. Dogs can detect and respond to less than 1/10th of a millimeter of movement.
Chris Casatelli Yeah, that's my boy. Good job.
Jennifer Arnold I mean, it's really quite easy to ask the dog to do something, provided you do it in a way the dog can understand. People automatically assume that dogs are going to understand them. They don't.
Chris Casatelli Come get me. Come on, Wagner. Wags.
Jennifer Arnold Think about it from the dog's perspective. You don't speak the language. You're much like a foreign exchange student who comes from a culture that is entirely different from your own, where poop, is a marvelous thing. I mean, you're talking about where it's okay to drink out of the toilet bowl. You're talking about trying to get 2 separate worlds together without having a catastrophe, and it's easily, easily done through understanding.
Chris Casatelli

Let's try it one more time, and then we'll see if I can go outside. People are sort of boggled by it because it's the old mindset of traditional obedience says you have to dominate the dog. But I'm physically able, if I wanted to, to dominate the dog. A recipient is not going to be able to necessarily have the same dominance over the dog. So the whole philosophy doesn't make any sense when it comes to service dog training. If I have a recipient who's a quadriplegic, he's not going to be able to physically restrain the dog. He's going to have to rely on his voice and the proper motivation to get the dog to do the commands. Switch.

So our approach comes from the other way, which says the dog has to love the recipient, love a job, love the task, and then that will nullify all those behaviors, that resistance to working, because he's going to want to work. He's going to be like I want to sit, and I want to down, and I want to pick up your phone because it brings me pleasure, it brings you comfort, and we're best friends. So that's what best friends do.

Very nice job. That's great.

Adam Miklosi Ph.D. In many people's head, the human/dog relationship is sort of dominant/subordinate. This is the job of a scientist to convince dog people, including dog trainers, that this is really now an outdated view. It's actually more biologically sound to have that sort of bond relationship, which is more like a father or a parent/child relationship.
Narrator Dr. Miklosi's research reveals how we've shaped canine behavior. Dogs don't need to be forced to work for us. They are born wanting to.
Adam Miklosi Ph.D. Then the whole thing gets very easy because we don't have to dominate the dogs. We just have to show them that we control the situation more or less, and they pick up on that quite well and then go along with this idea.
Jennifer Arnold/td> And it's simply teaching people to think about situations as their dogs think about the situation, and it creates this enormous bond that is based on absolute trust.
Chris Casatelli Aiden, my man. How ya doing'?
Aiden Young Great!
Chris Casatelli You are great-- you got a great dog! I'm Chris. I'm Nala's trainer. I'll be working with you guys this week.
Narrator Day 3 of camp. For the rest of the week, the teams will work hard on building their bond into a real partnership.
Chris Casatelli I'll be here to answer any questions, do anything, and do lots of training.
Narrator The dogs already know their part. But what looks easy for the trainers can present some serious challenges for the new recipients.
Meghan Hopkins Now you do it. Tell him to down, look at the ground. Do exactly what we did before.
Chase O’Brien Down. Down. Well, I'm doing the down!
Meghan Hopkins He's thinking. He's trying to figure it out. I promise. He's thinking. See how he wants to shake? He's trying to figure it out. So ask him again.
Chase O’Brien Down.
Bryson Casey Wagner. Sit. Sit. Wagner...
Meghan Hopkins In week one, it's really important that we allow the dog and the recipient to get to know each other. We don't spend a lot of time going over too many commands. If you notice, we don't even really go over advanced commands until early next week because we really want them to focus on not as much of task, but getting to know the dog, enjoying the dog, spending that type of time together.
Aiden Young Go play. Go play.
Meghan Hopkins We want the dog to start to trust their new person.
Deborah Casey He won't leave you.
Bryson Casey Go play.
Jennifer Arnold You are his playtime.
Bryson Casey Okay, well, we're just gonna have fun.
Meghan Hopkins They've spent the past 18 months developing a relationship with their original trainer, and now we want that to transfer over to their new parent. So they spend a lot of time just even playing, giving a lot of treats, so the dog realizes this is my new person, this is the person that I'm loving and helping and want to be there for.
Lisa Panish We are not giving it to you. We are not! We're not your person.
Meghan Hopkins If the bond isn't there, then the dog isn't really going to want to do all the harder tasks and harder commands, cues for their person.
Laura Young I guess the hardest part of camp is Aiden needs to learn what he needs to for the dog, to keep his 3-year-old sister away from the dog as much as possible.
Aiden Young Abbey, you're distracting me!
Laura Young Having her realize that this is a family dog, but not a family dog, that it's primarily for Aiden. And then also just working on Aiden training with the dog. Obviously, that's the best bond that has to be built. Making sure that the dog doesn't feel any of that stress of the family situation and neither does Aiden.
Jennifer Arnold All right, now that's a little stress. That's a little indicator of stress on Nala's part. So we might want to calm it down a little bit.
Bryson Casey Wagner, sit. Good sit! Shake. Shake. Wagner, sit, shake. Good shake!
Frances Rosemeyer Good shake. Good job.
Bryson Casey Good shake.
Frances Rosemeyer Yeah.
Aiden Young Nala, sit!
Laura Young Tell her good job.
Jennifer Arnold Good girl. Treat. Good job. Good. Excellent job, baby.
Laura Young Say good job to her.
Aiden Young Good job!
Jennifer Arnold Good girl. Look at her. Look how happy she is. See her waggin' her tail?
Laura Young Are you happy too?
Aiden Young Yes!
Jennifer Arnold Who do you like? Who do you like?
Aiden Young I guess she likes me!
Jennifer Arnold I think she does, little dude!
Laura Young When Aiden looks at Nala, when he talks about taking Nala home, you can see the sparkle in his eye, and I can't think of anything in his short life that has made him so happy so quick. All the parents are just talking about how happy their kids are and what a difference it's making, even the grown-ups who are here with their grown-up parents.
Bryson Casey All day, this is what you get all day.
Laura Young You can just tell everybody is just overjoyed and thrilled at what their life is about to become with these dogs.
Bryson Casey Good boy!
Meghan Hopkins We have some amazing parents, the most amazing people hear us, to me, for sure. They want so badly to have something for their child. They want so badly to have somebody see their child, and this dog is there for her child.
Chase Wilson Oakley.
Trainer Good, got his attention.
Chase Wilson Down. Oakley down. Oakley, down.
Trainer Good. Now say it.
Chase Wilson Good boy!
Trainer Yea! Now give him that treat! Chase, that was perfect!
Lisa Panish Now that we've actually started intensely with our match, holy cow, it's so hard. What was I thinking? And now today is so much better. Their bonding is already there. It's already started.
Chase Wilson Leave it! Leave it.
Trainer There ya go. Good, he left it!
Lisa Panish But you may want to talk to me tomorrow morning after our first night with the dogs in the bedroom because again, I'm not sure where I'm gonna sleep because they said put the dogs in the bed with us. Well, I mean there's 2 beds, and there's 2 kids, and there's 2 dogs. So where does that leave me? Where's our car, over here?
Narrator At the end of the week, the dogs go home for the first time.
Trainer Do you know what the command is to get the dog from the car?
Chase Wilson Up?
Trainer It's car.
Connor Wilson Car. Car.
Chase Wilson Car. Car. Car.
Trainer There ya go. Make sure you don't crowd him. There ya go.
Chase Wilson Car!
Lisa Panish See, you make it look so easy.
Narrator They're just going to a nearby hotel. Still, it's a critical test.
Laura Young Tell her down.
Aiden Young Down!
Laura Young Nala, down.
Bryson Casey Yeah, there ya go.
Jennifer Arnold That first night at the hotel is when we see the dogs sort of understand that this isn't just playtime here at the farm. It's sort of the beginning of breaking their umbilical cord here and turning it over to their recipients.
Bryson Casey Wagner... Wagner, come.
Narrator If the bond is working, these dogs will never leave their partner's side again.
Bryson Casey You don't know what to do, huh?
Narrator If not, months of hopes and a week of hard work could go down the drain.
Bryson Casey Go through. Good boy!
Jennifer Arnold For some reason, when they spend the night with their person, it totally changes their feeling of loyalty, and miraculously, when they come back on Friday morning, that attachment has really largely transferred itself to their new recipient. And it's wonderful! I always say, "It's who you sleep with."
Lisa Panish You can do it. Up, up, up, up, up.
Lisa Panish Foxy! Call your dog. Oh my gosh, we did it. We have one boy and one dog in each bed. How long do you think it's going to last? Oh. Jump up.
Conner Panish Jump up, Foxy.
Lisa Panish I know you're a jumper. Oh, clunk, are you all right? Yeah? All right, should we turn off the light?
Chase Wilson Yeah, turn off the light!
Lisa Panish Shhh. (click!) Shhhhhh. Are we ready? Shhhhh.
Narrator For one of the twins, the sleep over is a bust. After a string of rocky nights, they start the 2nd week of camp with a big problem.
Lisa Panish Oh no.
Connor Wilson Foxy was freaked out. She was like, I'm scared.
Lisa Panish The first night at the hotel, she paced the whole night. We could not get her to calm down. The whole 2nd night, she barked.
Connor Wilson She was like, freaked out.
Lisa Panish They made a call for the dog. They were like I'm sorry, we care about all of you, but we care about this dog, and she can't come back tonight. Then Jennifer brought out Nadia.
Connor Wilson Nadia. N-a-d-i-a.
Lisa Panish And she's like Nadia won't listen to anybody, and we need her to spend some time with a little boy because she hasn't spent much time with any kids. Do you think that maybe you could help us train this dog?
Connor Wilson Sit.
Lisa Panish Sure enough. I mean, they just did it that way, and so he just ate that one up. You know, nobody else can get Nadia to do anything, well, "she listens to me!" So quick, Monday. Today is Thursday, and Nadia listens better to Connor than Oakley does to Chase!
Chris Casatelli Tell her she better hurry.
Destiny O’Brien You better hurry, girl.
Chris Casatelli You better hurry.
Lisa Panish He's looking at everybody else going potty, isn't he? Better hurry, Oakley. What do you say to him?
Chase Wilson You better hurry!
Lisa Panish Better hurry. Hurry. See if he's gonna go. He's sniffin' around.
Destiny O’Brien You better hurry.
Aiden Young Better hurry. Better hurry!
Meghan Hopkins By the end of 2 weeks, we've introduced every single command. We've taught the recipient how to get the dog to do these commands or these cues for them and the teaching tools of how to get the dog to do new things once they get home.
Narrator The 2nd and final week of training raises the bar. The families leave camp behind and take their service dogs into the real world, to places where ordinary dogs never go.
Jennifer Arnold By the end of training camp, by the end of this incredible stress, I'm so madly in love with the people who have come here for help that I would happily give them both kidneys and most of my liver. The dog is but a small gift. It's almost as if we're able to put a little bit of ourselves into the dogs. So when Bryson takes Wagner home, we go with him. And when Aiden goes home, he doesn't go home without me.
Kent Bruner, DVM Well thank you everyone for coming, and welcome to our graduation. Everyone's been working very hard. The dogs are ready to go home. We're just grateful that you could all come here, and all of our friends and visitors and volunteers and supporters, and send off this camp to new beginnings together with their new service dogs.
Jennifer Arnold Congratulations. Are you excited? That's your badge that says you're official. You're a graduate. Can I get a hug? Oh my angel. It's official! Congratulations!
Meghan Hopkins A lot of times at graduation, they ask if they can take us with them because they're nervous about going home. It's something brand new. They've had 2 weeks of the trainers and Jennifer and myself being here to help them through it step by step, to answer their questions, then they're going off on their own.
Jennifer Arnold Connor and Nadia!
Lisa Panish I already love these dogs. I already can't wait to bring them home, and I have all these hopes of what I'm going to get for everybody, and it's like 2 more children that I'm so scared I'm not going to do the right thing for, or it's not going to go-- everything that they have put into these dogs-- it's amazing! So you want to make them proud too.
Bryson Casey I'll send you pictures.
Chris Casatelli That's right, I need that. I need that for sure. You're a good boy, Wags.
Jennifer Arnold You know, in the very short period of time, there's no way we can teach each person how to handle their dog in every given situation. I mean, it's just not possible. So what we try to do is get the person into the dog's mindset because once you get them there, and that's sort of the field in which they are operating, all the other things come very easily.
Rachel O’Brien Well, it was nice meeting you guys.
Tom Kay Nice meeting you. Thanks for helping getting through.
Parent Oh, I know. I know, definitely.
Parent Take care. I will.
Parent Keep in touch.
Parent We will.
Destiny O’Brien I have to say bye to everybody!
Laura Young Initially, honestly, I was like I don't know if I can handle this. It felt like I was taking a 3rd child home And being a single mom, I'm like this just might be more work than what Aiden can get out of it. But ever since the dog has gone home with him to the hotel, and just to watch Aiden with her, it makes it all worth it. Definitely, he's getting about a million things out of it compared to the 3 or 4 things that might become a hassle for us.
Meghan Hopkins Are you going to send me some pictures?
Aiden Young Sure.
Meghan Hopkins Do you promise? Lots of pictures of you and Nala?
Aiden Young Yes.
Meghan Hopkins Okay, are you going to have fun with her?
Aiden Young Yes.
Meghan Hopkins Well, we'll miss you!
Narrator The hard fact is, it doesn't work out for everyone. Still on average 9 out of 10 recipients leave Canine Assistants with a dog that will stand by them for life.
Bryson Casey You guys have a...
Destiny O’Brien Bye Rachel!
Kent Bruner, DVM Someone, who nothing about their life is normal, they spend 2 hours in the bathroom with somebody getting ready in the morning, everything about them says I'm not like everybody else, then you put a dog with them, and all of a sudden they can get a job, or they can go to school.
Lisa Panish What do you say? Jump up!
Jennifer Arnold They have this new hope, and the hope comes from these dogs. And you think good grief, you mean an 80 pound or a 60 pound or a 50 pound dog can transform somebody's life like that? Yes!
Chris Casatelli Bye!
Narrator After 2 months at home, the partnerships started at training camp have begun to sort out.
Bryson Casey

Everything they told us is pretty much true. They said he was going to fall in love, he was going to want your attention, and he's done it all, everything they said that he was going to do.

Nose it. Good boy! Up. Down. Shake. Come on. Come on, bring it. Thank you. Good boy. Good boy! There ya go. Good boy. Good boy, Wagner. Go get my phone. Go ahead, go get it. That's it! Come on, bring it. Put it right here. Thank you. Good boy! Good boy. That's awesome. You're a good boy, Wagner. Good boy. Nose it.

I tried just easing him into it, and then one day he just--let me do more, let me do more, so we've worked on it. Wagner, sit. Sit Good boy! The phone was sort of funny because he just brought it to me one day out of the blue, and I was like well; let me see if I can build on that. What have you got? He's got somebody else's cell phone. I didn't want him just to be laying around all day sleeping. I want him to have a good dog life and enjoy what he's doing as much as I enjoy him.

Ready? Ready? Go ahead.

Rachel Rearrick He lightens things up a lot. It's hard to be down or upset or just whatever with him in your face all the time! (laughs)
Bryson Casey Bring it. He's brightened up my life a lot. I mean, he's got me more active. I feel like I've even gotten in better shape just because I have to take him outside sometimes, and I get a little more exercise. He makes me proud when I go out in public because they see what a good dog he is, and he's such a handsome dog too. Come right here. There you go. He's really changed my life. Good boy!
Aiden Young No Nala, we're turning. We're turning.
Narrator Every match stands or falls on a number of different factors. Home life, the health of the recipient, the nature of the dog all come into play.
Aiden Young We're going back.
Laura Young Everything was going really well at the training camp. But then we got home and we've been training with her and trying, and it just kind of seems more like she really wants to bond with me, with the adult in the family. If she's walking with him in the wheelchair, she's going to look for me or any adult around her, and then go in that direction and not pay attention to where she's pulling Aiden. She just doesn't tune into Aiden and service his needs. She just wants to be with an adult. Aiden was very, very excited and couldn't wait to take her to school, and I kind of kept extending that, trying to get her to pay more attention to Aiden. Then finally, I forced her into school thinking if I wasn't there, she would listen to him. But unfortunately, I got a call from the school right away, and she was doing the same thing with the adults at the school, and not listening to Aiden and pulling his wheelchair in different directions.
Aiden Young She has a bond in her heart with grown-ups now, but she had a bond with kids all around camp.
Producer I see. It just changed a little bit.
Aiden Young Actually, it changed a lot! She decided to face away from a kid, and she decided to face to my mom, and that's not gonna work. It's not working out for me at all. Nala. Come on. Stay. Stay. Stay... stay.
Laura Young I don't know how to explain it. It's like Aiden doesn't exist when I'm around. Just the bottom line is that she really doesn't acknowledge Aiden.
Aiden Young Toy.
Laura Young Okay, she never came. When I saw that Aiden was just done with it and didn't even want to try anymore, then I just realized that if it was ever going to work, we had to do something quick before he just lost all interest in having a canine assistant. I talked with Canine Assistants about a week ago and just said you know, I've kind of tried everything. Aiden is very frustrated. So I just think it's time that we try a different dog. And they definitely agree.
Aiden Young Nala, I'm sad that you have to go, but I'm happy that, I'm happy that you'll finally change for another person that would be a grown-up I hope. It's just you changed for me, and for me, your changing has not worked out. I'm not saying I'm mad at you. I know you don't understand mad, but you know, you really have to go. Sorry. Sorry, I never meant to say that.
Laura Young That's okay, sweetie, that's what's happening, so it's good that you tell Nala, right?
Aiden Young Yeah. (sighs)
Jennifer Arnold

Well you know, unfortunately, on occasion, when dogs go home with people, with that environmental change, something happens that's disruptive to the bond. When Nala got home to Denver with Aiden, she kind of fell apart. And I think when the dogs are worried, lose their confidence, they're unable to focus on bonding with their person, and I think that's what happened with Nala. It's when it happens that we need to make a change. We have the opportunity to correct that. Come on, baby, let's get dressed.

We have chosen for Aiden Ember. She's a lovely female Golden Retriever who is a marvelous, very loving dog, but won't be as sensitive, I think, to the environmental change. And so I feel like she'll have a much better opportunity to really form a lasting bond with Aiden.

Narrator A life-changing partnership. That's the miracle every recipient hopes for. Salsa. Barely 2 weeks after getting home, that miracle may have saved Destiny's life.
Rachel O’Brien

Well, Destiny was asleep and got woke up to Salsa jumping on and off the bed. We didn't know at first it was an alert from Salsa because Destiny had come in the room and said that Salsa just kept jumping on and off the bed several times. And she came and braced herself across Destiny's head, and Destiny did have a seizure. We would never have known about the seizure because it happened at 2:04 in the morning. We would've been sleeping, we wouldn't have heard anything, we wouldn't have known anything. So if it wasn't for Salsa, we would've just kept sleeping. So, I mean, we were both amazed. And, you know, when her seizure was done, Salsa went to bed for the rest of the night. It was almost like okay, I did my thing, I can go to bed now. That's another reason why I said wow, that was an alert!

That was our first one, so we didn't really know what to expect or what to look for. But now after it happened, we, we know. I really think that Salsa's taking care of her. I mean, she's, she's amazing.

Lisa Panish Nadia, where's Connor?
Narrator Service dogs raise high hopes, but the reality is, it takes time and effort to pull it off.
Lisa Panish You know, I expected it to be work, but I didn't expect it to be this much work. I came back like okay, every day, let's work on some of these commands.
Lisa Panish Happy Birthday! Hi!
Lisa Panish The reality is, is that they come home, and I'm tired, and they're tired, and there's homework to do, and there's books to read, and there's bath time. And then it's spend time with your dog, whatever it is. Sometimes it's just petting on their dog, sometimes it's let's comb our dog, sometimes it's let's do a command or two. Then you add physical therapy, stretching and bracing, or occupational therapy suggestions, and before you know it, it's time for bed.
Everyone Happy birthday to you...
Lisa Panish

Chase still hopes to eventually walk independently without his walker. It's fear that holds him back more than anything, so ultimately, he's gotta trust Oakley, and Oakley's gotta trust him. Until I can get that safety and security of that bond there, I won't be able to be comfortable letting them walk. But it'll come. There ya go.

Once I let go of all of the high expectations I had when I went into it and actually got into the depths of everything, that made it so much easier for me. I just, I had to let it go. If there's anything that can make life a little bit easier, a little bit more comforting, then that's what I want, and that's what I'm hoping Nadia and Oakley do for them.

Jennifer Arnold Yeah. She's bringing a toy in. This is Ember, and she has come to meet Aiden.
Aiden Young Pet, pet, pet.
Laura Young Oh. Oh, that is so awesome. Can you believe it, Aiden? She's staying up there with you? She's not even paying attention to mommy, huh?
Aiden Young Heel.
Jennifer Arnold Ember is a really sweet dog. She is a little more self assured than Nala and just, I believe, will do better in the environment. So I mean, I think she's going to be fine. I mean I know she's going to be fine-- I hope.
Aiden Young Ember. Ember, my message to you is that I think you're a great dog.
Jennifer Arnold For a long time, when I first started the program, I thought it was going to be all about the tricks, all about what dogs could do to help people physically, but that is a miniscule, miniscule part of what truly is the wonder of this relationship; that wonderful emotional benefit that you get from having the dog, the social benefit, and it's all based on that complete and total trust.
Narrator We share a history, thousands of years of evolution, and a bond like no other. Service dogs are expanding the possibilities in our partnership, teaching us the joys and benefits of looking at life and the world through the eyes of a dog.