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    Source: 恒星英语学习网    2019-04-28   English BBS   Favorite  

    Michael Carrasquillo is an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran. Three years ago, he could not leave the house alone. He felt uncomfortable and anxious in public places, but that all changed after he got his assistance dog Ojai.

    When my wife wasn’t with me, I was a mess. I couldn’t go out into public. I couldn’t do things. I couldn’t be alone, because I get overwhelmed, and so now I had Ojai with me. I could go out. I don’t have to rely on my wife for everything. I could go out with get on the metro. Ojai, under, under, all the way, all the way. And now we’re in public. We’re at a restaurant. He’s completely out of the way.
    Ojai was trained at Canine Companions for Independence, an organization that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities. Like Ojai, the dogs can pick up dropped items. There you go, such a good boy.
    Open and close doors, and know over 40 advanced commands. It works with Labrador retriever and golden retrievers. We have found that Labrador retriever and golden retrievers offer the best in adaptability, being versatile, being big enough to do the commands like turning on a light switch or pulling wheelchair, but also being small enough to be able to fit easily on a plane or train and stay out of the way.
    They begin training as puppies. Volunteers agreed to keep the dogs for 18 months to teach them socialization skills and basic commands. Then, other dogs returned to the main training center for another six months of training with professional instructors. When that’s completed, roughly half of the dogs graduate with marks high enough to be paired with a person who needs its help.
    Candidates stay on campus for two weeks to work with the training team and the dogs. With those dogs, we were able to simulate almost having a in home experience, so we’re able to let the dog off leash and see how they react and how they respond and what they’re doing in all these different areas.
    The waiting list for one of these little helpers is long. Finally it’s graduation day. All of this is free from those like Michael Carrasquillo who need an assistance dog but they will never own them. Canine Companions for Independence retains ownership of the dogs throughout their working lives and makes sure they’re always careful.
    And you know, we’re team so what I do he does, what he does I do and you know we push each other. We push each other out of our boundaries.
    A loyal helper, a dedicated friend, the devoted companion, Ojai is much more to the veteran than is the eye.
    Alisha in Monrovia, Maryland, the VOA news.

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