Percy, a beautiful, young labradoodle was surrendered to Doodle Dandy because he had severe separation anxiety. His parents loved him very much, and he was the perfect dog when they were around. But they were both working outside of the home, and Percy was destructive while they were gone. He had harmed himself a few times as well. Doodle Dandy brought him into the rescue and placed him with a wonderful foster and we began training him right away. Because of his anxiety being left alone, he attended several Christmas parties and family gatherings over the holiday season, and loved riding in the car for car pool and errands. With help from our trainer, Percy was able to work up to spending 45 min in his crate before becoming overwhelmed with anxiety.
So, what do you do with a dog who can’t be left alone? You look for someone who needs companionship 24/7. Doodle Dandy reached out to Valerie Fry, a trainer for service dogs, to see if she had any connections with anyone who might need a dog like Percy.
In the meantime, She had just been contacted by a family who was looking to find a service dog for their 9-year-old, nonverbal son, Max, who is on the autism spectrum. Nearly half of children with autism engage in wandering behavior, and Max is one of those children. Their hope was to eventually have a service dog who would stay close to Max out in public, help block any wandering behavior, and alert them if Max should unexpectedly walk off. The timing was just perfect for Percy and Max to meet and see how they would do together.
We weren’t sure how Max would react to Percy, but as luck would have it, they shared a common interest. One of Max’s favorite things to do is play catch and bounce balls, and when Percy arrived, he came with a ball that his foster mom said he always kept with him. Max threw the ball right away, Percy brought it right back, and Max’s face lit up. He spent the rest of that first day playing fetch with Percy and they immediately bonded. Percy has been in training since January, 2019, and has done phenomenal. He passed his canine good citizen test with flying colors, and is on track to complete his service dog training within the next month or two.
When Max gets anxious or upset, Percy lies across his lap or beside him on the couch, leaning against him to give Max the pressure and sensory input he needs. In the car, Max tugs on Percy’s vest to let him know he wants him across his lap, and while Percy lies there, Max pets him and plays with his fur, which calms his anxiety. In one of their early sessions, they did some work with our trainer at Lowe’s. Percy and Mom stood near the entrance, while Max and his therapist went to the opposite corner of the store and hid behind some lumber. Back at the front, they directed Percy to “find Max,” and he immediately began sniffing the ground and pulling his mom directly in the path that Max took, quickly finding him behind the lumber. Once he found Max, Percy excitedly jumped all over him and licked his face.
While he is “on duty” Percy takes his job very seriously, always keeping a watchful eye on Max and sticking right by his side. When he is “off the clock,” Percy is a playful, cuddly dog who loves being outside, going to the dog park, and chasing the two boys around the house. Percy is truly a special dog, and his trainer has often commented that he was “made for this job.” We feel blessed to have found Percy and we can’t wait to see how his relationship with Max continues to grow. A big thank you to Doodle Dandy Rescue and a special thanks to Percy’s wonderful foster mom, Sheri, who we have kept in touch with to share milestones and lots of fun pictures!”
What a reminder that dogs find their people! Max and Percy have a lifetime of growing together because Doodle Dandy thought “out of the box” to find Percy the perfect home.