Meet Service Golden-in-Training Logan
My name is Suzan and I am a young woman living with
multiple sclerosis in Maine. I have always loved
Goldens, but sadly thought my dream of having one would
never come to be. I suffer from profound fatigue and my
limited energy was going towards part time work, resting
and just the activities of daily living.
nothing left over. But I still got my Golden fix in
different ways. One of my co-workers had three Goldens,
was involved in Obedience and was formerly involved in
rescue with her husband. We talked about Goldens all the
time and lamented that we couldn't have one in the
office with us.
One day I bought a particularly cute
stuffed Golden and brought it into the office. We named
him Dunkin as he was the color of our favorite beverage,
Dunkin Donuts coffee with extra cream, and shared him by
having him spend one week in my office and one week in
hers. When either of us was having a particularly hard
day, we'd bring Dunkin to the other's office to hug and
remind us of the real Golden angels outside of work.
added more stuffed Goldens to my collection at home,
went to the annual Golden Retriever Club fun matches at
a beautiful ocean side park, and bought the Rescue
calendars each year for my office so I could look at
Goldens every day.
even part time work got to be too much and I had to
retire on permanent disability last fall. This was a
blessing in disguise as I was able to do something I had
always wanted to dovolunteer
with a local Service Dog organization,
My Wonderful Dog:
Assistance Dogs for People with
Disabilities. I wasn't sure what I
could do for them as my physical activity was limited
but they were glad to use my occasional help in the
office and I was able to do some computer work from
home. Also, with my husband's help, we are able to be
puppy sitters for when the puppy raisers/foster families
go on vacation. Alas, there were no Goldens in the
program, just Labrador Retrievers. I have to admit I was
a bit disappointed, but found it so fulfilling to be
involved with such a wonderful program nonetheless.
This organization is a tax
deductible 501(c)(3) non-profit that specializes in the
training of skilled animals to aid in the independence
and integration of people with a wide range of
disabilities. These special animals can be trained to
provide balance and stabilization, turn light switches
on and off, retrieve dropped items such as a cane or
keys. Most importantly these dogs provide love and
companionship for their disabled partners.
I had always thought that if I ever became permanently
confined to a wheelchair or scooter I would consider a
service dog for myself. I use a cane or scooter when I'm
particularly fatigued or for long distances and don't
know what the future will bring. When I learned that
there are balance or 'walker' service dogs for people
who can walk but have mobility issues, I was intrigued.
I did a lot of research and talked to other people with
balance dogs to determine if a service dog would be
helpful to me and if I had enough resources to ensure a
good life for the dog. After a lot of thinking I decided
to go for it and submitted my application to the
organization where I volunteered hoping that I would get
a Yellow Labrador Retriever who I could at least pretend
was a short haired Golden!
(Golden) fate was smiling upon me because when the
director learned that it was a lifelong dream of mine to
have a Golden she agreed to accept one into the program
for me! Three weeks ago we picked up a little
9½-week-old Golden girl from the breeder and I was
fortunate to be involved from day one. Her name is Logan
and she is the cutest, sweetest Golden puppy I have ever
seen. . This photo is from our
first scooter ride around the neighborhood together. It
was really hot so I decided to give Logan a ride home!
Retriever out of the Tarameg Kennels in Littleston,
Pennsylvania. Logan is now living with her foster family
(Beaman family of Cumberland, Maine shown here) and will
be going to school at the training center at least twice
a week. I will get to see her at least monthly at
the foster family/puppy sitter skills training classes
and we will get to puppy sit her during her two year
now working in My Wonderful Dog's Teen
Trained Assistance Dog program and Teen Summer
Since over half of service dog puppies do not graduate
(usually due to health or temperament issues) there is
no guarantee that Logan will make it. But I can't help
but think that there is a higher power involved here and
that one day I will have this Golden angel by my side.
Learn quickly little Logan, I am waiting for you.
you will do so well when I use my scooter, being able to
pick up things that I drop, open doors, press the
elevator and automatic door buttons, retrieve items from
shelves, etc. And because fatigue is a major symptom for
me, Logan will be helping me to conserve energy in many
ways by retrieving items such as the phone, turning
light switches on and off and getting help if I need it.
Learn much more about Team Logan
Our Feline Family
All About Logan
Logan Reports her Current News
Articles about My Volunteer Efforts
can learn about some of mine and my husband's volunteer efforts through the following articles,
that appeared in
My Wonderful Dog's
Winter 2005 Newsletter.
Our Feline Family (as of August 2006)
s our "pretty petite Persian Princess". Almost
5-years-old and 6 pounds, you wouldn't know this is the
same matted, shaved, skinny (3 lbs. at 2-years-old),
painfully shy girl we brought home from the shelter.
Personality to spare, she's not afraid to tell off her
older and much bigger brothers.
old man of the group at 16, Max was given to my husband
before we met, by the breeder because he chewed on an
electrical cord as a kitten and was not "sellable".
is my heart kitty, the "momma's boy" and follows me
wherever I go. I originally went to the shelter looking
for one girl tiger kitty and came home with two
6-month-old boys! They are now almost 14.
brother, he's the almost 20 pound food hound. He says he
has "big bones". He knows how to open the door into the
garage and has set off the alarm, bringing the cops to
check on the house ... probably in retaliation for
making him wear these Mickey Mouse ears!
Nile has trained Logan well. When Logan first saw him,
she of course wanted to play. He stood his ground,
puffed himself up, growled and swatted her on the nose.
She has learned to respect all the kitties and whenever
Nile growls at her she immediately lies down. It'll be
even funnier when she's three or four times his size.
All About Logan (from her point of
Best Tricks ─ Well, they're
not exactly tricks but I know a lot of useful service
dog commands. I like to prove that beauty and brains are
not mutually exclusive! Here I am practicing an "under",
very useful for restaurants when I need to go "under"
Now all I need is a hula skirt!
Being able to go
wherever my people go, I'm one lucky dog! I get to go to
restaurants, the mall, hotels, etc.
Pet-Peeves ─ People petting me
when I'm trying to work (I know it's hard because I'm so
cute!), evil fuzzy woobies with squeakers.
Favorite Foods ─ I am a
cheese head! I also like stuffed Kongs, bully sticks,
and knuckle bones. And we can't forget popcorn and
Favorite Walks ─
On the beach and
wherever my people are.
Favorite Photos of Me
My mom is sure good
with the camera.
I'm growing up!
Dear Diary: Service Golden Logan Reports her Current News
JUNE 11, 2007
I have my own blog now: A
Service Dog's Journey.
So come visit me there so you can keep up on all the latest news in my training
FEBRUARY 27, 2007
Look at me! I made it to the
cover of my friend Jill's new book. And, don't you think I look pretty? You
see more photos from my photo shoot at my *media star* page.
Just click here!
Top Dog Knits: 12 QuickKnit Fashions for Your
This book offers a dozen fun and colorful confections to dress
today's mid-size and large breed dogs in style. Projects include sweaters, felted jackets,
pill-box hats, a neck warmer, and even a stylish dog pillow. There's
also a Top-dog measuring guide, Knit-to-fit diagrams and color charts, Learn-to-knit primer,
and Quick and simple felting techniques.
Jil Eaton, whose MinnowKnits label is distributed worldwide, is
celebrated for knitwear designs that meld classic silhouettes with
fashion-forward chic. She is the author of six top-selling books.
AUGUST 8, 2006
My foster family took
Mom and me out on their sailboat. I had such a good time.
MARCH 26, 2006
What a fun day I had today with both my families! We went to a local
sugarhouse where you can see how they make maple syrup, as part of Maine
Maple Sunday. Now this was the real stuff, no Aunt Jemima here!
Boy did they have some funny looking dogs there! Big
smelly ones that they called Cows. And these funny fuzzy
ones that kept staring at me, I think they called those
Sheep. And they even had this really weird little gray
guy with hard pointy things growing out of his head,
poor thing. I think he was called Goat. I'm just glad
I'm a Golden Retriever!
Mom said I did really well. Of course I was a little
curious but I did my "sits" and "downs" right in front
of those weird looking dogs. They didn't seem too
impressed (to tell you the truth they seemed a little,
ummm slow.) The Cow ones just kept chewing, the Sheep
ones kept staring and the Goat one had the weirdest bark
I've ever heard, I think he had something caught in his