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Category: Our Stories

Callie & Bob

Putnam Service Dogs- Callie & BobPutnam Service Dogs placed Callie with Bob in November 2021. Bob had suffered a traumatic brain injury. A perilous symptom remains from his injury,  his fragile balance, which had kept him confined at home. When he did leave his house,  his wife would walk in front of him, her arms spread apart to protect him from losing his balance and falling. Bob couldn’t go anywhere alone. This past May, Bob’s wife passed,  leaving him heartbroken and extremely vulnerable. After that, when Bob did leave his house, he’d use a cane, and someone would have to accompany him.

Then PSD stepped in! One week after he received his highly trained dog, Callie, he decided to try walking his front steps and walkway. Before Callie, Bob had never had to courage to walk this route, even with his wife’s protection and assistance. Bob walked down his front steps without his cane, with Callie close in hand. She matched his uncertain pace exactly, staying with him each step of the way. Bob smiled as he walked down his front walk to the street, independently, successfully, and safely making the journey for the first time in 35 years! Now he and Callie frequently visit neighbors, and Bob eats at his favorite diner with Callie under the table. The owner of the diner seats Bob at the front table because Callie is so well behaved. Bob and Callie are the center of attention.


Duke’s Story

Our pup, Duke, is being raised by Michael, a Naval Officer candidate. When he was a staff instructor at the Nuclear Protype Training School, Michael was selected for the Seaman to Admiral-21 program. He moved to the Bronx in spring of 2021 to begin the training, and learned of Putnam Service Dogs. Approved as a puppy raiser, Michael took over the raising of teenage Duke. It has been a great match for both!

Duke quickly adjusted to life in the Bronx – angry New Yorkers, buses flying by, and walking underneath in the subway stations. Michael took Duke hiking on the beach, and discovered Duke had a fear of water. Michael overcame this by taking Duke canoeing. Duke sat on his lap in the canoe, looking around like a sea captain.
Soon Duke was trying to rescue a swimming Michael, and swam laps around him.

Putnam Service Dogs- DukeMichael took Duke home to Ohio. Duke loved the long car ride, sticking his head out the window and watching the scenery go by. Once there, Duke
proved therapeutic for the family dog, Red, who’d been abused in his past. Duke’s happy presence taught
Red not to be fearful of people. Duke completely changed Red.

When Michael’s Naval Officer training began this fall, Duke went with him to class. Duke quickly became the class star. The staff and students loved seeing him every day as he happily pranced around, bathing in the attention. During class, Duke settled quietly under Michael’s desk, napping on his sweatshirt.

Although he’d grown up with dogs and loves them, Michael’s naval deployments prevented him from owning a dog. He found Putnam Service Dogs to be a very caring organization and was delighted to help raise one of our pups. It was a perfect way for him to give back to the community, and have a great dog as a companion. As Duke’s raiser, Michael works to empathize with him, and understand what he’s thinking. They work as a team to achieve goals in Duke’s training and development. Their work together has added to Michael’s ability to better understand, and lead his sailors in the future.

“Duke trusts me, and will happily walk into any situation or room with me as his companion. When placed, he will make that person his entire world. I’ll be very sad to give him up, but knowing he’ll benefit and change someone’s life who needs it is worth it to me.”

Cary with his recipient, Jake:

Jake says:  “Cary is my best friend. I can’t imagine my life without him. We go almost everywhere together and he always keeps me safe. Cary is very good at his job and constantly alerts me to things I can’t hear. I have more confidence when Cary is with me because I know he’ll look out for me.  We make a good team.  When Cary gets scared during thunderstorms, then it’s my turn to make him feel safe.  Cary works very hard and I’m really proud of him.”

Cary is the best thing that has ever happened to Jake.  Cary went trick-or-treating with Jake at Halloween. Despite it being in a dark, unfamiliar neighborhood, Jake was completely at ease because he knew Cary was by his side.  Cary was absolutely unflappable that night despite all the crazy costumes and loud noises. Cary’s quiet confidence is exactly what Jake needs to be successful. Jake’s confidence continues to soar since Cary was placed with him in January 2021.

Jake and Cary are together so much that Jake’s mom has (repeatedly!) called them by each other’s names!  For more than 2 months Cary patiently endured almost daily soccer games and practices while Jake played this fall.  He would rarely take his eyes off the field, always keeping a watchful eye on Jake. They’d have a joyful reunion at the end of a every game and Cary became something of a team mascot.

Cary still loves his daily walks and doing “zoomies” outside with the kids where he can race and run at full speed.  If Cary has any complaints whatsoever, it would be that if he isn’t quick enough. The cat steals his dog bed!

Brook’s Story

Putnam Service Dogs placed Brook in November 2020 with a family that lived on constant pins and needles. Their 11 year old daughter suffers from epileptic seizures. Everyone in the household (4 people, including the 11 year old girl) lived in dread, waiting for the next seizure to come.

In walked our Princess Brook, and she instantly took charge. Her intelligent, loving nature led her to walk right up to the 11 year old, and introduce herself. Now they are inseparable companions, and sleep together every night – the first uninterrupted sleep Brook’s young recipient has had since being diagnosed with epilepsy. Brook is right with her through the night, tucked against her at the foot of her bed.

Brook’s 11 year old charge now has so much more independence and confidence. She used to be afraid to do anything, for fear a seizure would come and she’d be alone. Now she has Brook. She’s no longer afraid of being alone, because Brook is right there with her.

The family continues to bond with Brook, and the little girl’s Mom is learning how to be an effective handler of Brook. The love for, and wonder at Brook, continue to grow each day.

Brook has changed lives.

We Love Starting each Day with Belle

The term unconditional love tells the story of the bond between a dog and human. Belle entered Maria’s life a short time ago. Maria is battling a cancer that has debilitated her motor functions and has created unprecedented anxiety and stressors. At their first meeting, when Belle entered our living room, she went over and laid her head on Maria’s leg.

Belle has filled our home with a new ambience of positive energy, laughter, and calm. To wake up to Belle is so different than before! Belle distracts us from negativity, and has given Maria new found eagerness to do more, now that Belle is accompanying her. We are beginning at-home training with Jeff Fritz, Putnam Service Dogs’ Head Trainer. Maria and I will learn how to work with Belle as a service dog for Maria, and I will learn how to be Belle’s handler.

In the evenings the TV goes on, and Belle finds her place in the living room by Maria’s feet, or in her husband’s arms. We go to sleep each night happy,
after Belle has given us a doggy kiss, and laid in her bed next to us. As our bond grows, the future is even brighter!