Janet isn’t new to Can Do Canines, she’s an alumni! In 1997, Janet received her first Hearing Assist Dog from Can Do Canines (then Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota). Tiger, a Border Collie mix, was her faithful partner, alerting her to important sounds for 13 years until he passed away in 2010.
Years passed, with work, family and friends keeping her busy. In 2019, Janet found herself alone more and felt insecure. Her husband, Pat, often worked nights, and now that her daughter, Angela, was grown and working as well, she felt vulnerable not being able to hear. Janet worried about missing calls on her video phone or not hearing someone at the door. At night, she worried if there was a fire or an intruder. That feeling of vulnerability made it difficult to sleep through the night. “I lived with fear,” she confesses. It was time to regain her sense of safety and peace of mind, so Janet contacted Can Do Canines and applied for a Hearing Assist Dog.
Qeen, a sweet black Labrador Retriever, was matched with Janet in 2019, and Janet quickly fell in love with her new Hearing Assist Dog partner. They certified that year, but during that time, Qeen struggled with a digestive health issue. Unfortunately it was determined that her health problem was permanent and would make it difficult for her to perform assistance dog work. Janet was heartbroken to lose her new partner, but was comforted that Qeen was adopted by her Puppy Raiser family.
Can Do Canines let her know that they’d place another dog with her when she was ready. Janet says, “After losing Qeen, Can Do Canines was amazing to reply and process my reapplication, and got my case going, especially during COVID.”
Making More Room in Her Heart
Kona, an engaging yellow Labrador Retriever, was matched with her in 2020. Janet says, “When I first met Kona, I gave him the time to get familiar with me. He is such a beautiful yellow Lab, with sparkling, brown eyes. He was calm and allowed me to pet him. The third time we met (to train) he recognized me, and that was when I decided he was ready to go home with me.” She was so excited for his arrival, she says she couldn’t sleep the night before. The day he arrived, Kona checked out the house, their cat and immediately settled down beside her. She was surprised and pleased to see his transition into her home go so smoothly.
While Kona was already trained to alert to sounds, the pair learned to work together and for Kona to become familiar with the sounds in her home and to alert Janet. She says the easiest sounds were the cooking timer and smoke detector. “The name call command was the most fun,” she says. Janet and husband, Pat, practiced this often so that Kona would get that person when needed.
Enjoying Every Day
So what does a typical day look like now? Janet reports, “Kona is always by my side.” As she goes throughout her day, he is there. “He got me going and gave me the confidence to get through the day.” What else does she appreciate? “Being able to go outside, not feeling worried about being alone knowing Kona will alert me and help me if needed.”
Their bond to each other is strong, and Janet says fondly, “Kona LOVES to be included in snuggling and hugging! He has to touch me while lying down. We play ball in the backyard. He is full of smiles.”
Janet is deeply thankful for those who contributed—whether by volunteering or donating—so that she could have Kona as her assistance dog. “MANY, MANY THANKS to you all for what you’ve done to make this possible for us! Please kindly support Can Do Canines in any way you can. I have had my third Hearing Assist Dog with them; they are amazing and do so much!”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Great Start Home: Anne Duncan
Puppy Raiser: FCI Sandstone
Special Thanks: Brian & Rebecca Etling, Steve & Lucinda Lenertz, Jackson Correctional Institution
Name-A-Puppy Donor: Mike Shea
Whelping Home: Dana Kittok
You: Thank you for your donations!