Look Who’s Going into to Service. Andy, formerly known as Rawson, was adopted last February by Paul and Laura Anderson of Hemet, CA. Paul and Laura had something special in mind when they went looking for a companion animal — Paul has been deaf since birth and they wanted to find the right dog to become a Service Dog for him. Paul is employed by Riverside County Office of Education as a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Itinerant/Specialist serving Hemet Unified School District where Laura teaches Second Grade at Bautista Creek Elementary School.
Paul and Laura visited several surrounding shelters but were uncertain about the dogs they met because the people in charge did not know the animals well enough to help them. The Andersons had heard of Living Free and visited to see if they could find a dog with the perfect temperament and size for their needs.
They were impressed with Edgar Santiago, the Kennel Supervisor, because he knew each dog so well. They felt comfortable knowing Edgar would guide them to make the right choice… and when Andy was brought to them, it was love at first sight. They’re not sure who picked who, but Andy is now an integral part of their family that includes two cats named Miss Kitty and Annie (who have allowed Andy to share their home).
Andy has had basic training and has learned to wake Paul in the morning when the alarm goes off and to let him know when someone is at the door. He’s also learned many words in sign language. Andy knows that when he has his service vest on he’s “at work”.
Paul assists school personnel and hearing-impaired children with their language development, understanding their hearing loss, and with instructional support to successfully assimilate into the regular classroom. The next step for Andy The Service Dog is specialized training to learn more complex techniques. Ultimately, Andy will be providing Paul with some support in his job. They want to be able to take him on trips such as cruises and to restaurants. Andy has already been on camping trips with them and enjoyed Doggie Day Camp on a recent trip to Texas.
We are proud of Andy. Thank you, Paul and Laura, for recognizing what a special dog he is and that he’ll be a loyal companion and true friend. Thank you, too, for having faith in Living Free and what we do.