Young George cannot wait to get his service dog...He simply can't wait...
We met George in the rehabilitation center 'ANIMUS" on the day that we delivered the dedicated song "Born for you" to Aspasia Bogri. Aspasia's service dog; Mike came along in order to meet his future caregiver. George's parents had already done some research on service dogs, reading a lot about the positive effects one can have in a child's life. With that in mind, they wanted to meet us and learn more about how a service dog could help their beloved son.
George and his parents met Mike the service dog, which is currently under training. At the age of 5, George was diagnosed with brain cancer. He has already been operated and is doing well, but there are still a number of mobility issues that he is struggling with. His rehabilitation is going exceptionally well and we all believe that a service dog can help improve his physical state. During our meeting we discussed many possible option with the parents. George was fascinated by the idea that he could have a service dog of his own, while he was playing with Mike.
A few days later, George's parent found him drawing what you see below. These are the wishes of a young boy, waiting for the day that he will get his own service dog. A friend that will be by his side, caring for him and showing him affection. George's drawings touched the hearts of everyone that was lucky enough to view them. Together, we all moved towards the direction of finding a way to get a service dog for young George in order to make his wishes come true.
Nikos and Mike
Our lovely boy, Nikos talks about his experience and how he felt the day he met with the Labrador puppy, Mike.
Τhe day I met Mike (written by Nikos Manessis)
A beautiful Monday while I was coming back to the rehabilitation center from my walk with my friend Maria, I met with Mike, the dog which is in training in order to become Apasia's service dog. More specifically his training will be based on visible and invisible disabilities and he will be able to assist Aspasia if she has seizure, blood sugar problems or any other symptom, but will also protect her and keep her calm.
I felt so happy meeting him because I love dogs and he is very cute. His color was beige, his ears were small, his eyes were round and brown and his tongue was long. He was licking me, he was wagging his tail and he tried to bite the brake of my wheelchair, but I did not mind at all because he was trying to play and he was adorable. He reminded me of Gilda, my dog who unfortunately died three years ago. I was petting him and he was trying to jump on me.
After a while he left with his trainer, but before that we took photos. I was very happy when I met Mike and I wish he can help Aspasia and give her a lot of love.
Maya and Ned
First trial speech therapy session with the participation of certified service dog; Nina
Speech therapist, doctor Papapouliou Dionysia held her first speech therapy session with the participation of dog trainer Elena Palagka and the certified service dog Nina; a member of the non profit organization "Nina Service Dogs". She stated that it was a unique experience for her and for young Mihalis, who has pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), which is one of the three autism spectrum. As she told us, her love for the dogs and the animals in general was the reason for her to try a different and innovative session with participation of a well trained dog. The session took place on October 14th, 2015 in the premises of association 'Peprato", which is the biggest in Greece for people with mobility problems.
Mihalis; the protagonist of the session, lived a unique experience with Nina's help and always with the support of dog trainer Elena Palagka. Mihalis is one of the smarter kids in his class (5th grade), but has a deficit in communication and socialization skills. The speech therapist expressed her satisfaction for the outcome of the session, feeling satisfied and excited with Mihali's performance and responses.
From the first minutes of their session Mihalis was enchanted by Nina. He wanted to play with her, he enjoyed feeding and petting her. As the session developed the two new friends even shared some moments of playing the piano together. Finally and with the supervision of dog trainer Elena, Mihalis had the chance to give orders to Nina and see her obey and execute them successfully. Mihalis drew something in order to express his feelings about the session and about Nina. His drawings depict feelings such as: love, joy, enthusiasm and happiness.
In the end of the session Mihalis drew one more thing, which he dedicated to Nina, in order to express to her how much he loves her. The youngster and service dog Nina bonded so well that when Mihalis was picked by his parents, Nina was running all over the premises in order to look for him.
The speech therapist declared that it was a unique session with many different feelings for her and all her expectations had not only been met, but also exceeded.
She thanked Elena Palagka for her offer and couldn't get away from the sweet service dog Nina. All parties mutually agreed to meet again soon for another session.