Partners and Paws Summer 2021

David and Eclipse (cont. from cover)

Eclipse started having a number of digestive problems, and because service dogs must be healthy themselves to be able to assist their partners, we had to postpone their match. David, again, trusted the process, checked in on Eclipse often while we got to the bottom of his challenges, and kept his Candidate Class curriculum fresh, so that he would be ready when Eclipse was ready for him. Just as Eclipse began to regain his health with special food and treatment, the world shut down. We all had to re-adjust, create new ways of living and working, and, yes, wait. After figuring out some of the challenges and logistics presented by COVID, David and Eclipse were our guinea pigs for what a safe, socially distanced Team Training could look like in the Summer of 2020. They learned how to work together as a team during new and ever-changing circumstances. Finally seeing them together was an emotional day for everyone involved. When we first met David, he hoped a service dog would help him with mobility challenges and balance, seizure recovery, quickly retrieving medicine, and easing his anxiety and stress. The journey that Eclipse and David have been on has brought all of this and more. They are forever bonded by their patience and persistence in becoming a team, overcoming everything that life has thrown at them to get to each other. “I couldn’t imagine what my life would be without him in it.” David says, “This experience has 100% changed my life. I’m doing things now that would have been impossible before. Saint Francis has gone above and beyond in helping me and Eclipse become a team. And in the end, Eclipse is more than a service dog, he has become my best friend. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be without him in it.” David and Eclipse have completed all of their training and tests, and we can’t wait to celebrate them at graduation this year. Partnerships like this one are most certainly worth the wait.


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