Inspirational Animals

By: Philip Stewart Email
By: Philip Stewart Email

March 25, 2007

On Saturday, as part of the Festival of the Book, one event brought together an author and a local charity that share a common bond. That bond is service dogs.

Service dogs are some amazing animals that change lives, and even inspired one author to write a book about them.

“I can't even tell you the number of times I've been astounded at what a service dog can do," said Nancy Ruth Patterson.

Patterson is the author of four books, including one book about a very special dog, a service dog.

Patterson first learned about these amazing animals when she was training her own pet.

"When I did agility training, I met trainers who were training service dogs. And the more that I saw them work with the service dogs, the more I though, these are among the most un-selfish people I've ever known," said Patterson.

Service dogs are trained to help people with disabilities. They make life a lot easier by doing tasks that people with disabilities otherwise can't do.

In the Charlottesville area Service Dogs of Virginia trains these special dogs. So this weekend author and organization joined together to talk about these skilled canines.

"The fact that this book is specifically about a service dog, and the impact a service dog can have on, not just one person's life, but on many lives is so wonderful and timely for us," said Gail White, of Service Dogs of Virginia.

Service Dogs of Virginia is always looking for volunteers, puppy raises, and donors. Despite the costs of training, the group places the dogs at no charge.

"It's inspiring and it's wonderful to have an advocate if you will and someone to champion our cause that's a major author and publisher," said White.

Patterson was more than happy to shed light on a cause that inspired her, in hopes it might inspire others.

"Not only do (service dogs) provide real services, but a dog can be a wonderful friend,” said Patterson, smiling. “So really the service dogs are man's best friend and woman's best friend on many different levels."

It can take more than two years and thousands of dollars to train a service dog.

Service Dogs of Virginia is always looking for volunteers to help out.

For more information on Service Dogs of Virginia, including how you can get involved, visit the News Links page of this website.

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