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Movin’ on Up (and Down) with the help of a Great Dane

Meet Dan and Casper. In the years BC (Before Casper) Dan was barely getting around with hardware such as crutches and wheelchairs. Casper changed his life.

Dan and Casper

Dan and Casper

Together they are a perfect pair, trusting each other as they move down steps of the museum without the security of a handrail; they go out into a world which neither could navigate alone. After working as a team for a few months, this Great Dane became very aware of his partner’s every movement. They’re perfectly in step with each other.

Constant problem for people with balance issues are stairs without handrails. This does not have to be a full flight of stairs; the 6-inch step out of a parking lot can be an insurmountable cliff for a mobility patient. Not so if they have a service dog like Casper.

Great Danes are perfect for walking a few miles at a time, if allowed naps between efforts. A 26-mile marathon is for other type dogs; chasing yellow balls, or sheep, or birds is not high on their “to do” list either. The short coat of the Dane makes them easy to care for, they enjoy the same environment as people — heat,air conditioning, and soft sofas. If you go outside and need a jacket, they do too, with careful measurement. A baby horse blanket fits well.

– Carlene White, founder of Service Dog Project in Ipswich, MA. The organization trains and places Great Danes with people who live with Multiple Sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia, and veterans with disabilities.

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