Linda + Brindy

Woman Rescues and Trains Service Dog to Cope with MS Diagnosis

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Linda + Brindy

I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and thought that a service dog would be a great asset to me. After learning that it takes 2-4 years to get a pre-trained dog, and since I’ve always enjoyed animal training, I decided to train my own service dog. I started by compiling a list of requirements for a dog to match my needs. I went looking for a lab when I found Brindy at the Reno Humane Society in May 2010.

Brindy, a beautiful, brindle Staffordshire bull terrier/Rottweiler mix, is the most intelligent dog I’ve ever owned.  She performs a multitude of tasks for me, including balancing me as I walk, retrieving just about anything (including her own leash), removing my socks, and opening and closing doors. Brindy goes with me almost everywhere, but especially enjoys going to church, where she helps me teach Sunday school and snores through sermons!

"People are often uncomfortable around individuals with disabilities, but having a dog breaks down that barrier."

Brindy earned her AKC Canine Good Citizen award early in her training, and we continue earning awards – actually, badges – as Brindy is a member of Dog Scouts of America. As members of a local Dog Scout troop, we go on outings and help with community service.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our young troop donated a set of dog/cat oxygen masks to our local fire department, and we’ve also served as Christmas bell ringers for the Salvation Army. Brindy and her fellow Dog Scouts collected money from passers-by, placing bills in a basket for this noble organization.

People are often uncomfortable around individuals with disabilities, but having a dog breaks down that barrier. They greet Brindy first and then ask me about her – it makes me smile as I tell them about her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  

So, Brindy has enhanced my life greatly by being a terrific service dog as well as by helping me be a positive contributor to society. She’s also the most loving dog I’ve ever owned – a delightful companion who comes running when I need her. All this from a dog who was found wandering the streets of Reno by the Humane Society.

I’ve heard of people who reject pet adoption because “you don’t know what you’re getting.” That was certainly true in my case. Brindy is far more than I expected!

Smiths2014

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Linda Hibbard won Nevada Humane Society in Reno, Nevada a 2015 Holiday Wishes award.