“They become somebody’s eyes, legs or ears”: service dogs make a huge difference

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.-Right now, Lions Project for Canine Companions puppy raiser Teresa Hart has three generations of service dogs under her roof. 

“These dogs become somebody’s eyes, legs or ears,” said Hart. 

Maevan is retired, Trevor V is about to be a full time service dog and Dale IV is a puppy. 

She has been training Trevor for the past 16 months. Once he’s 18 months old, he’ll be sent to a training facility for the final lessons before he gets an owner. 

“They can open doors and drawers and open a refrigerator, get a bottle of water for them, they can hand a credit card to the cashier, so it really gives them a huge amount of independence,” said Hart. 

Now Dale is just 16 weeks old and in the beginning stages of training to be a service dog. 

“This one when I first got him he pretty much only knew how to sit. So I’ll always have to remember he doesn’t know anything yet, I have to be more patient with him,” said Hart. 

Norton Children’s Hospital has nine service dogs to help with patients…they see a night and day difference with animals present. 

“They reduce stress and anxiety, reduce blood pressure, and our patients that are hooked up to monitors can literally see that. And they increase and boost mood,” said Manager of Child & Family Life Heather Stohr. 

Teresa is one of the many trainers that make service dogs a reality. She’s trained 16 dogs. 

“A lot of people ask me how I could give them up? I say because I don’t need a dog but someone else desperately needs these guys,” said Hart.