Will Shushelnycky of White Bear Lake, Minn. had three major ear operations in his early twenties, resulting in totally losing his hearing and bone structure in his left ear. His right ear has 50 percent hearing capacity and is helped with the use of a hearing aid. Will has to take out his hearing aid multiple times a day as well as at night in order to keep the device dry, which means he misses important things like phone calls or when the doorbell rings.
Will describes wearing a hearing aid as a constant struggle because he has to experiment with different kinds in order to hear low frequency sounds more clearly. He notes that they’re also quite expensive and they are sometimes not as helpful, especially in crowds with a lot of noise. Will also becomes congested from time to time and has very limited hearing for days even with his hearing aid in. Luckily, Sage, a two-year-old black Labrador Retriever was specially trained to assist people with hearing impairments!
Sage is not only a hardworking Hearing Assistance Dog, but also a full-fledged member of the Shushelnycky family! Whether Will is working in the yard, the garage or in his office, Sage will alert him when his phone is ringing, upon a knock at their door, if the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors go off, as well as when the microwave dings or the kitchen timer sounds. “We’re afraid of burning something and not being aware. Or if I’m in the garage and forget that we have things on the stove the buzzer will go off and she’ll come and get one of us.” On her time off, Sage enjoys playing with their grandchildren and going for walks.
Before getting Sage, Will once noticed an assistance dog with a young boy at church and decided to strike up a conversation with the boys’ parents. His family had suggested Can Do Canines because their son was a recent graduate with a Mobility Assistance Dog from the organization.
“I tell everyone I encounter about Can Do Canines and the benefits I’ve derived from the organization!”
Volunteers are one of the biggest reasons why assistance dogs like Sage are able to be teamed up with their partners. Will says, “Can Do Canines is a totally great organization! I have to give credit to the puppy raisers and trainers. It’s amazing to watch how the dogs are trained. They deserve a lot of credit.” Donors like you are another HUGE reason! Your gifts directly impact our graduates’ lives and because of you they’re able to live more freeing and independent lives. Thank you for all that you do!
“My sincere thanks for giving us beautiful Sage! She’s a great combination of an assistance dog and a companion. I never expected her to be like this with the family. She’s a very good girl.”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Great Start Home— Krista Gorman & Family
Puppy Raiser— Jill & Bill Rost
Special Thanks—The Inmate Handlers at the Federal Correctional Institution at Waseca