Keeping the Faith: The Legacy of A Clicker Trained Service Dog

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ClickerExpo and Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) faculty member Julie Shaw shared this video with us in tribute to Faith, the service dog she clicker trained for her son, Dylan, when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Although Faith died of lymphosarcoma at the young age of six, she continues to touch lives as well as spread the merits and joy of clicker training. Julie shares in this month’s article, Reaching the Veterinary Community: An Interview with Julie Shaw, that Faith had a large influence on both her family and her career as a trainer, teacher, and animal behavior technologist. Faith was much more than just a service dog for Julie’s son; she was a faithful companion, teacher, mentor, and guide.

“If it were not for her, my life would be very, very different and I doubt that I would have influenced as many lives as I have,” says Julie Shaw. “Faith taught me about clicker training and the human-animal bond, and I then taught others. This teaching continues to spread, all because of one golden retriever and one boy with cerebral palsy.”

Faith’s legacy is carried on through the veterinary technicians who are recipients of the “Faith” Scholarship to the Dog Trainer Program at Karen Pryor Academy. We hope you enjoy this wonderful tribute to Faith, and to all of the service dogs that enhance the lives of people with disabilities.