Dennis Wold & Mobility Assistance Dog Warner
“Recently I received a call and when I tried to answer the phone it tumbled underneath the table. Before having Warner it would have taken me 15 minutes to try to get the phone back, but with Warner here it took less than a minute; he retrieved the phone quickly and I didn’t miss the call,” says Dennis Wold of Cloquet, Minn.
Dennis became a quadriplegic at the age of 21 due to a diving accident. Throughout his life Dennis has had pet dogs; but now seemed like the right time to try an assistance dog. Dennis knew an assistance dog could help him when he drops items at home as well as when he is out-and-about running errands or at physical therapy.
After years of having dogs in his life Dennis felt that he couldn’t have another dog because of the inability to bring them to places like the doctor’s office, grocery store, or out to restaurants. Dennis’ sister-in-law mentioned Can Do Canines and he decided to research the organization and then called to apply.
Warner, a two-year-old, playful and hardworking black Labrador is well-matched with Dennis as his Mobility Assist Dog. He’s trained to help Dennis with his laundry by taking clothing out of the washer and dryer, picking up items from the floor, opening and closing doors, and grabbing anything that he needs. Dennis says, “Warner is emotionally everything to me because he provides companionship and he helps me physically by picking up anything I drop on the floor, which is great because I’m very clumsy; my hands don’t work. I’ve always liked Labradors and I have had them in the past. Warner is a great match for me because he’s obedient and focused when he’s working, but he also loves to play and demonstrate his skills.”
“This is Warner and he’s my hero! He’s a very good boy.”
Dennis and Warner have a wonderful connection; it is fun to see them fist/paw bump each other and nose bump too! “Sometimes Warner shocks me when we nose bump because of the dry winter air,” chuckles Dennis. Dennis notes that their two months of training may have been intense, but that it’s also been really fun as well; he enjoyed learning new commands and figuring out how to work with Warner. “Warner is smarter than me and it’s fun to show off. I’m surprised by how much he can do for me!”
“Warner enjoys working and getting the laundry out of the machine, it’s hilarious watching him tug my jeans out.”
Dennis’ advice to others who are thinking of applying for an assistance dog is to go for it. He says, “It’s an awesome experience with intense training but it’s definitely worth it. I see a lot of benefits for others who have disabilities.”
To the supporters and volunteers who make Can Do Canines possible Dennis expresses his thanks. “Thank you and keep it up. It’s unbelievable what these dogs can do both emotionally and physically, it’s almost tear-jerking.”
“Warner is such a buddy to have here with me; I know he’ll help me out whenever I need him!”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Puppy Raiser – Nicholas Van Denburgh
Special Thanks – The Inmate Handlers at the Federal Correctional Institution – Waseca