DO-IT as a Service Dog

By Charlie the Service Dog (and Becca R.), Phase I Scholar
Becca's service dog Charlie wear a brain hemisphere hat in the NNL camp.

At the beginning of the summer, my mom, Becca, got me a fancy new vest. When I got this new vest, my mom started taking me with her more and more when she left the house. Usually it was just for a car ride, but sometimes I got to go to the park, the store, or just on walks.

After a few months of wearing my new vest, and learning new things to help my mom, we went on a long car ride into a busy city. We arrived at a huge place, with lots of new things, and tall buildings. There were so many new people and smells, but I did my best to stay on task and help my mom as best as I could. At first I was a little overwhelmed, but my mom and I helped each other keep calm.

The best part of my new vest is that it allows me to go everywhere with my mom, which I love, because I get so lonely whenever she leaves me at the house. Now that I get to go with her everywhere, I get to meet lots of new people. Almost everybody likes to pet me, and I did my best to win over those who didn’t. This week alone, I made so many new friends, and got so many cuddles, but only when my mom said I could. I also took a lot of naps.

My new friends all look different, and some sound different too, but I still go see them when they say my name, “Charlie.” A lot of my new friends have cool chairs that make it so they don’t have to walk. Some have an extra metal leg, just like my mom, and some even have more than that. Even with all the new things, I didn’t get scared or nervous at all. I was as careful as I could, but sometimes my mom had to correct me.

This week was pretty exhausting, but I learned a lot, and I loved it. I got to go on so many walks, which I loved, even though I couldn't chase the squirrels or birds. When people got upset, or stressed, my mom let me help people besides her. Lots of my new friends calmed down when I was nearby, and I could feel it.

This was the best week of my life, and I wish everyday was like this. My mom says I have to wait a year to do this again, but I know we’ll have a lot more adventures in between then and now. I get to go to some place called “High School,” whatever that is. Next year when I come back, I can’t wait to see my old friends, and to make some new ones.