Author: Emily Gertenbach
Whether a dog is hard at work assisting its handler or simply provides cuddly companionship, Atlas recognizes all beloved dogs during this pet appreciation week. We don’t know where we’d be without our furry four-legged friends.
Here are just a few of the dogs that provide Atlas clients, trainers, friends, and volunteers with help and love on a daily basis.
Amanda and Luke
Amanda, a professional dog trainer currently going through the Atlas Academy, has a wonderful bond with her rescue dog Luke.
“Luke and I bonded very quickly and, needless to say, he is my proud “foster failure”. Luke and I love going for car rides and walks at the park. He loves being outdoors so he can hide in the flowers, chase birds and play in the snow. He taught me so much about dogs and dog training, but the most important thing I learned from him is that love and kindness can change the world.”
Jessica and Brewster
Atlas board member Jessica has always had a dog in her life. She credits her dog Brewster for helping through some hard times with his unconditional love.
“He makes me laugh – every single day. He nudges me for cuddles when he knows I am down, when depression has a hold, or when I need motivation to get moving. He keeps me safe, he reminds me what unconditional love really means, he motivates me to be a better person. Brewster is truly my soul dog. For all he does for me, I am in awe of these incredible animals. Knowing that so many are trained and certified to provide services for their human partners is nothing short of miraculous. This is one of the reasons I so adamantly support Atlas Assistance Dogs.”
Cora and Goose
Cora, an Atlas client and volunteer, is currently training her poodle Goose to be a mobility service dog.
“Our favorite activity is hiking – he likes to run ahead and scout the trail, then circle back to make sure I am keeping up. This continues for the duration of the hike. He will also diligently momentum pull me up hills like the ‘little engine that could’…I jokingly call him ‘mommy’s fancy boy’ because he definitely thinks he is a person and can be very opinionated! He likes to sit on the couch and is offended if you do not make room for him.”
Molly and Reid
Molly serves as Atlas’ Director of Operations and Programs. She is also an Atlas Team Facilitator and client. Her dog Reid is a labradoodle who works as Molly’s seizure alert and response dog.
“Reid works hard every day to keep me safe and ensures I do not hurt myself if I have a seizure. But when Reid is not in work mode, he is an absolute goof. He can chase a ball endlessly and is determined to have you play fetch with him. And if no balls are to be found, you can guarantee he will find a stick for you to throw. He is an absolute people lover and can make even cat people fall deeply in love with him with his big brown eyes. Reid transformed my life in more ways than I can think of. As a service dog, he is my life savior and trusted partner; but beyond all else, he is my best friend, companion, and the funniest fluff ball I know!”
Jen and Theo
Jen is a founding member of the Atlas board and also serves as Vice President. She is an experienced service dog trainer and has her own service dog, a white lab named Theo.
“Theo is my partner in all things- adventure, quiet, joy, and sadness. He makes me smile every single day. His hobbies include lounging in the sun, hiking many trails by my side, and whacking at me with his paw if he feels he isn’t getting enough attention.”
Jonathan and Harrison
Jonathan and his pal Harrison, a retired demo service dog, are good friends of Atlas. During his working days, Harrison helped people learn about what service dogs are and how to train them.
Erin and Roger
Atlas board member Erin has an active and much-loved dog named Roger, who keeps her on her toes every day.
“Roger loves running, swimming, pointing at birds and squirrels, moving shoes around the house, upside-down naps, and staring majestically into the distance.”
Beth and Harvey
Atlas client Beth is currently training her dog Harvey to be a hearing alert dog.
“Harvey is a hoot! He is a Havanese, and he loves a good chase (with either him being chased or chasing someone), doing tricks, training for treats, being outdoors (when it isn’t raining), snow, a good night’s sleep, traveling, meals, the cat next door, and kids – he LOVES kids!”
Katrina, Kepler and Hazel
Katrina (not pictured) is an Atlas board member and Team Facilitator. She also makes service dog gear at her Bold Lead Designs shop. Katrina has two pet German Shepherds, Kepler and Hazel.
“Kepler is our resident office dork. His favorite things to do at work are playing “bus stop,” where he body blocks the guys and refuses to clear the way until he has been scratched sufficiently…“speed bump,” taking as much space in the walkways as possible to rest, and patrolling the workshop to make sure everyone is accounted for and that no bad guys snuck in! Hazel is a shy, anxious introvert and is our resident pretty princess. Just looking at her is a joy. Hazel loves on demand belly rubs (but only from her favorite people)…good treats…avoiding strangers…and deep ear massages from momma.”
The list goes on…
Jill and Finnegan
Jill is an Atlas Team Facilitator and Advisory Board member who spent many happy years with her dog Finnegan.
Cindy and Kesey
Atlas Certified Trainer Cindy has special bond with Kesey, her 6 year old Beauceron.
We Love and Appreciate our Dogs
It is clear that whether a dog has been trained as an assistance dog or whether it is a non-working pet, ALL dogs serve essential purposes in our lives. They are friends, partners, confidants, and often know more about us than we know ourselves.
To all the dogs (and other pets) in our lives, thank you for being there!
The Atlas Approach
We believe that a well-trained service dog can make meaningful changes in the life of someone with a disability, and strive to eliminate the obstacles that often occur when individuals seek to obtain a service dog. Atlas fulfills this mission by helping people obtain and train their own service dogs without relying on an organization to provide them with one. Our programs bring the same quality of training and rigorous certification standards that were previously only available through larger groups.
If you’d like to learn more about how your own dog may be able to become certified as an Atlas Assistance dog, or how you can support our mission, please visit our training and volunteering information, or contact us at email@example.com.
About the author:
Emily is an Atlas volunteer and writer who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their rescue dog, Ivy.