Travels with Judy, Service Dog-in-Training

 In PPH Alaska, Service Dog Training, Service Dogs

The puppy is ready for takeoff

At 8 weeks of age, Judy took her first airplane flight from San Francisco, CA to Fairbanks, Alaska in the arms of Paws for Purple Hearts Northwest Regional Director, Nathan Collin. Last month, service dog-in-training, Judy made the journey by airplane from PPH’s Fairbanks, Alaska site southward to our San Diego site to finish off her service dog training. Judy is a 17-month old yellow Labrador Retriever who was bred at B.E.S.T. Service Dogs. She is a tiny, yet enthusiastic girl with a heart of gold and a strong work ethic. Judy loves to perform service dog tasks; her favorites include pulling open the refrigerator door to retrieve an item and turning on the light switch.

Judy arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska at 8 weeks of age in December, 2016. Her time in Fairbanks was spent helping Veterans and Service Members reduce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related condition symptoms during our Canine-Assisted Therapeutic Intervention (CATI) sessions.  During these sessions she learned over 100 different service dog commands.  She spent evenings and weekends in the loving and supportive care of her Puppy Parents, Heidi Faulkner and family. Judy blossomed from the most adorable little pup into a hardworking, eager to please service dog-in-training. We were all sad to see her go, but we’re very excited to see who she becomes under the expert guidance and training of the PPH instructors and Warriors at Paws for Purple Hearts San Diego.

Judy at 16 weeks getting on a plane
Service pup-in-training Judy was already a seasoned airplane traveler at 16 weeks.
Heading south to San Diego
Judy eagerly heads south to San Diego with her new trainer to finish off her service dog training

Distraction free

Thanks to an Alaska Airlines policy which allows service dogs-in-training to travel in the cabin with a trainer provided the dog is being delivered to their new owner/handler’s home, the trip was a breeze. Traveling with a service dog-in-training can be quite a challenge, but Judy made it look easy. Judy gracefully overcame the many distractions in the airport including barking dogs, working dogs, conveyor belts and rolling luggage.  She settled nicely in the plane under the seat in front of me for the entire 3-hour flight. Judy had an hour layover in the Seattle Airport before she was transferred to her new trainer, Selah from the PPH San Diego site. Judy didn’t miss a beat.  After a brief 5-minute introduction, she performed a perfect “heel” alongside her new trainer as they went through airport security and boarded their plane to San Diego for Judy’s final stages of service dog training.

With your continued support, through volunteering and donations, Paws for Purple Hearts can continue to provide Canine-Assisted Warrior TherapyTM and highly skilled service dogs to Warriors with disabilities including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and mobility impairment.

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