We have a new addition to our home – Harry, a service dog to Lenny, my husband. Early in my blog posts, I introduced my readers to Duncan, my husband’s first service dog.

Duncan, Precious & Leonard

Leonard, me and Duncan

In post, I explained Duncan’s place in our family. Duncan always carried out his duties as a service dog very well. Duncan’s service dog duties included:

  • Distracting my husband away from crowds,
  • Sensing my husband’s rise in anxiety, and
  • Getting him to recognize his immediate surroundings.
Duncan, service dog

Duncan working with handler, Leonard

We’ve had Duncan for eight years now. But my husband’s needs have evolved. He has increased stability and mobility issues. Duncan cannot help him with this because he is a small dog, at 21.5 pounds. My husband needed a larger dog big enough to help him to balance and brace, or to help with mobility. We went on a search to find a new service animal that would fit his needs. As a result of this search, we found a service-dog organization in our state, and Lenny was matched with Harry (now 70+ lbs), a puppy deemed appropriate for his needs. Duncan still has service responsibilities and helps me, so remains a very important part of our family.

We felt anxious about bringing a new dog into our home for many reasons – the main one being a concern that the two dogs might not get along well. We were hopeful to have two dogs that would get along well and were both trained service animals. When we brought Harry home, Duncan dropped one of his bones near Harry’s crate, as a gesture to welcome his new dog-friend into our home. We were thrilled and relieved.

Harry and Duncan in picture together

Harry & Duncan

Duncan joined our household when he was an older animal. Whereas Harry came to us as a puppy. So, I have had to make many adjustments as we’ve worked with Harry. It’s been a challenge on many occasions to tolerate puppy behavior! I need to keep reminding myself that Duncan has had a great deal of training in his lifetime and holds several certifications. Whereas Harry has training and certifications, but is still young and hasn’t had as much training yet.

We have started to work with an organization that provides ongoing support to Lenny as he learns how to train Harry. I will share an update about our transition and how well things are working out. Stay tuned …!

Caregivers… comment below about your experiences with a service dog in your home. How did you adjust? What tips can you provide to help others through the adjustment period? Please also share your positive, heartwarming experiences with us!

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