Nickname: Dolly Pawton
Hometown: Southern Maine
Favorite off-work activity: Dockdogs
Weirdest thing my dog does: Loves to make build a bears.
"Dolly is a big block head black Labrador puppy full of energy. Dolly is a hard worker that loves to learn and is very eager to please. She helped me get my life back. I use to be a full-time single mom, but now my son is grown and has a place of his own. I wanted a life where people don't stare, or ask a lot of questions and pass judgment about me. Before having a service dog, I went out very little and it was hard to do everything on my own. I was less outgoing. I had an active life prior to my illness, so I'm trying to remain as active as my body will allow. With Dolly's help, I am able to do just that.
Dolly helps me function without having to depend on others. She does so much for me, like helping with the laundry, taking my socks off, paying for things in the store and, most importantly, monitoring my health for safety reasons and letting me know if there is a concern.
She is trained to alert me if my blood pressure drops or my heart rate rises to an unsafe level. Dolly will lay across my lap when my blood pressure is low and that helps to raise it. Dolly was a normal, misbehaving puppy but she has turned into a wonderful service dog. Dolly gives me unconditional love and helps me in every aspect of my life. She is truly my most crucial medical equipment with a loving, beating heart. I don't know what I would do without her in my life."
It sounds like Dolly knows how to do a lot of daily tasks. How did you teach her to learn all of these tasks?
Dolly has been training to be a Service dog from a very young age with the help of my 1st Service Dog. She is taught with positive reinforcement and I believe all dogs are different some dogs enjoy things that other dogs would hate one thing Dolly enjoys to do is go rides at the fair my other service dog would have hated that.
Dolly picked up on her training very quickly. She loves to learn.
Dolly helps to pay for things at the store by giving the cashier the money or a credit card and taking the receipt after we are finished.
What was the most challenging task to teach her?
The most challenging task to teach her was that she can't hog my bed lol
How does she sense when your health is at risk, such as detecting blood pressure?
Dolly can sense when my heart rate or blood pressure is off based on smell if you think of it when you exercise your heart rate goes up and you smell different because of sweating when my heart rate goes up I smell different but people can't pick up on it dogs that are trained can. Dolly will paw at me and let me know there's a problem if for some reason I pass out she will unhook herself for my wheelchair and go get help.
What inspired you to work with a service dog?
I love dogs and having a service dog has changed my life more than people could imagine this is probably what inspired me to train my own service dog besides the fact I didn't have the money to pay for another fully trained service dog.
What is Dolly's favorite part of her job?
Dolly’s favorite part of her job is when she has to support me and she will lay across me and bring my blood pressure up.
How did Dolly get into DockDogs?
When Dolly was little she jumped over my service dog head to get into the pond and at that time I knew she was going to love dock diving. Her favorite event with dock diving is probably speed retrieve but our favorite part is showing the world that a service dog can have free time and have fun too. Dolly has competed with Dockdogs and has been to World twice.
Dolly does Dock Dogs as a way to have some free time and act like a dog should. When she's up on the dock she's a completely different dog and sometimes doesn't even want to listen but that's okay because she's always on alert and has never missed a medical issue even though she seems like she's not paying attention on a few occasions she has gone and got help because I have passed out she completely ignores the dock when it's important.
What is the funniest moment you’ve experienced with Dolly?
The funniest moment that I've experienced with dolly was probably when she grabbed the hose and tried to fill up her pond with water.
I guess I need to change my answer for the funniest thing Dolly's ever done that would probably be what she did tonight. Dolly is trained to get drinks out of the fridge for me but open the fridge today and she had left me a present lol
I have written two children's books about service dogs and emotional support. Dolly is the star in the first and tells her story of becoming a service dog. In the 2nd book she explains the difference between emotional support and service dogs.
Another funny saying that Dolly did during her training was I was asking her to put something in the bucket instead of putting it in the bucket she decided she would climb inside. She's in a contest and I decided to use that photo if she wins she will receive a $250 gift card to a local pet store.
Thank you, Amy, for taking the time to tell us about your amazing pup Dolly!