2006 FSSA’s Service Dog Winner
FSSA's 2006 Service Dog Award Winner
CH Arborfields Famleigh ReUnion “Hannah”
Breeders Karin Cartwright & Maxine Reed
Nominated by owners: Lee Hildebrand & Kris Frayne
Hannah has shared her life with the residents and staff of Van Rensselaer Manor Nursing Facility since she came to live with us at 9 weeks old. Everyone watched her grow up as she visited. She has a standard 8 hour work day. The residents of Lee’s unit think she is their dog, but she does visit the entire 362 bed facility with activity staff members and volunteers. She also spends time with the recreational therapy staff on the dementia units doing more active programs. They love to play fetch. She wears costumes for all the holiday parties and enjoys hamming it up for the camera. Hannah also leads the facility’s annual Alzheimer’s fund raiser walk.
Her show career prompted a new out of the building activity. The residents have traveled to the show site to cheer her on. They were proud of us, win or lose.
This year Hannah shared another milestone-our first litter. Her puppy shower was one week before she whelped. Residents, families, staff and other therapy dogs were all in attendance for the fun event. Silly baby shower games were modified for canines. Weekly photos of Mom and kids were posted for all to see. She showed off the puppies when they were 5 weeks old, and the 2 that stayed with us are following in her footsteps with their own days at work.
As our schedules have permitted, she has also visited at a local nursing home for handicapped children. She is also my Breast Cancer Society fund raising helper and walking partner each October.
Her training has been life experience at Van Rensselaer Manor. She instinctively understands what is needed: play fetch, sit with someone so they feel needed, ‘please watch my dog,’ help a new resident feel at home, comfort a sick resident or console a grieving family. Her visits elicit many wonderful memories about animals loved and lost. She is a truly great ambassador for the breed.