Alpharetta, GA – The fact that a puppy was born without a foot will not change his destiny of becoming a service dog, growing up to help the disabled have independence, confidence and happiness in their lives. His name is Pirelli and while it will take longer than the pups born at the same time, he will ultimately travel to schools as a service dog.
Born at Georgia’s Canine Assistants, Pirelli will be 7 months old before he gets his new foot, but in the mean time, a cushioned boot protects his tender limb. “He was born without a foot,” explained Dr. Kent Bruner, Canine Assistants veterinarian and husband of founder Jennifer Arnold. “What we think happened is the umbilical cord got wrapped around his foot and caused that foot to not have a normal blood supply.”
Pirelli is one of the many dogs born, raised, and trained at Canine Assistants in Milton, Georgia. They grow up to be service dogs that assist children and adults with physical disabilities or other special needs in a variety of ways. Some of the tasks the dogs perform include turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors, pulling wheelchairs, retrieving dropped objects, summoning help, and providing secure companionship.
While all of these functions are vitally important in helping a person obtain greater freedom, perhaps the most impressive gift the dogs provide is social, rather than physical, in nature. The dogs eliminate feelings of fear, isolation, and loneliness felt by their companions. One Canine Assistants recipient made the value of this gift quite clear when asked by a reporter what she liked most about her service dog. Immediately, she responded, “My dog makes my wheelchair disappear.”
“I think the fact that he has a disability of his own is going to be incredible in teaching people that it’s irrelevant, that life is not about what your body can do,” said founder Jennifer Arnold. “It’s about who you are on the inside not the outside. I want Pirelli to go into schools and say when you judge whether or not you want someone to be your friend, don’t look at their bodies. That’s not where you need to look.”