Seven Service Dogs Graduate

A New Life, A Better Life Begins

The headline said it all. “Everything about life has changed.” And indeed it had.Seven highly trainedservice dogsgraduated Saturday, December 3, at Columbia’s Lourie Center, marking the day when the dogs and their new families merged into a team. The dogs had been training with their families, and Saturday concludedteam training under the guidance of Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services (PAALS).

The day was cold and dreary but spirits inside the center were bright and eyes moist when service dogs Abbe, Stanley, Chiver, Chief, Cookie, Shack, and Joyce earned their degrees. Now theybegin the next stage: enhancing the lives of their new families.

Service dogs help children and adults better cope with autism, mobility, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and various physical and social needs.The dogs bring a calming presence, affection, encouragement during dark times, a sense of belonging, and more. They literally change life for the better for their human counterpart.

SCVSEC happily sponsored,this, theeighth annual PAALS Assistance Dog Team graduation ceremonyfor we sponsored more than meets the eye:companionship for those with fears of being alone, confidence to others, and a calming presence for still others. And so, it was with pride that we watched seven dogswearing purple graduation caps receive their diploma (the largest class in PAALS’ nearly 10 years of service.)This graduation day also saw the largest audience in attendance at over 150.

Founded in 2007, PAALS is the only Assistance Dog International (ADI) accredited organization based in South Carolina.

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