Local Man with CP Receives Special Service Dog!


Here is a happy news story from Binghamton NY!

It’s not as though Anthony Sepe, of Binghamton, never had a dog before.

When he was a boy, Princess was the family’s pet — a sweet, obedient, black-and-white mixed breed still wistfully remembered by Anthony and his mother, Mary.

Then there was Jack, a Belgian Malinois — a police dog — who was tan in color and took his responsibility of looking out for his family most seriously.

They were great dogs, but Anthony, 49, never felt about them the way he does about the two-year-old black Lab named Phineas.

He never bought super-plush beds for Princess or Jack, but Phineas has one. [– MORE –]

I’m always happy when I see news stories like this. And I think of when Emmy and I first met. When I looked into her beautiful brown eyes, I KNEW we were a match! And after only 3 days staying with me in the motel while at PAALS’ training camp, she looked to me to ask if she should obey the cue given by one of the main trainers! There were collective gasps from the onlookers, and one of the trainers said, “It’s happened – already!”

We were recognized as a new team right away. A young, inexperienced team, but a team! In the year and a half since then, we have matured as a partnership. Emmy is distraught to be apart from me, even for a short time. She doesn’t whimper or cry, but she is restless, and when I reappear, she is as excited as if she hadn’t seen me for a week!

We’ve had to be separated on occasion during the past couple of weeks. I had that fender-bender, and am using my daughter-in-law’s van. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a bench seat in the mid-back. It has 2 bucket seats. After one trip, trying to perch on the bucket seat, Emmy just didn’t want to get in the van. My Ol’ Curmudgeon had to lift her into the car, and she struggled to get out the entire time he was attaching her restraint harness to the seatbelt. After that, I didn’t try to take her with me. Perching on that seat, I thought, was dangerous. There wasn’t room in front or between the seats for her to lie on the floor, and I can’t get to the back bench seat to put her there. There wasn’t a place to attach the restraint in the hatch area. There is also the consideration that under no circumstances can I pick her up and put her in the van! So I’ve been without her for the few short trips I’ve made – one to the grocery with daughter and 8 year-old grandson, two to the pharmacy drive-through, one down to the doctor.

Each time, the Ol’ Curmudgeon has stayed with her except one time we both went out to dinner. We were only gone 2 hours, but you would have thought we had been gone a year! She whirled around us wagging her tail and licking our hands, did her little circle-dance with each of us, then concentrated on me. I love her little circle-dance. She turns circles in front of me, rubbing her head and body against my legs as she does. Then she not-so-gently whaps my legs with her tail, and she’s back to rubbing against me. She is practically in a circle as she does this, with her nose almost at her rear end! We go through this delightful greeting every morning, and every time she has done “sniff-about” in the backyard. When she comes in, she greets me with her lovely little circle-dance! I can hardly wait to get my van back! I DON’T like going anywhere without her!

Every day, I am deeply grateful that we have each other. She helps me in so many ways – flipping the dishwasher door closed, flipping up the footrest of my stairlift, picking up clothes from the floor, pulling clothes from the basket, pulling clothes from the washer, pulling clothes from the dryer. She picks up things I can’t lean down to get – even little pieces of paper and the occasional dropped Kleenex. She gets things off grocery shelves that I can’t reach down to. She is a great ambassador for service dogs – people are always stopping me and asking me about her, telling me how beautiful she is. Of course, I’m just “puff-ed with pride” (as my Momma used to say), and will stop and chat about her at nearly any time. Sometimes, my informal meetings turn into a demonstration. Emmy is delighted to “show off” her talents. Someone asked me why I bring her when I’m in an electric cart at the grocery. About that time, my cane fell off the cart from where it had been propped onto the floor. I cued Emmy, “Cane!” and she immediately went to it, picked it up and brought it to me, putting it into my hand. The person was flabbergasted – had never thought of that.

So, I know many of the things Anthony Sepe in Binghamton NY will do with his new service dog – and I wish him a very happy experience with Phineas!

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