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judges 2011


Entry Category Service Dogs
Charity Partner Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities(ECAD)
Location spokane, Washington


i found mattie roaming alone on a back country road, no collar. she was full of mats and at least 20 pounds overweight. i loaded her in my truck and took her home, intending on finding her owner...although i was skeptical due to her neglected condition. she stayed on the front porch and made herself at home. i removed the mats and put her on a healthy diet. she was friendly to all. about this time, i experienced a break-in while i was sound asleep and screamed my bloody head off as the man yelled and threatened me, then left. this horrible experience triggered my ptsd and major depression...which had debilitated me for over 25 years and left me unable to lead a normal life. mattie's disposition completely changed from that day forward. she was no longer "friendly to all". it was as if she took on the task of looking out for me in every situation, placing her body between myself and any person she considered a possible threat. as i remember, we were sitting on a bus bench and having a conversation with a man who became extremely confrontational. mattie lept up from under the bench and jumped up, snapping at the man, which made him take several steps back and silenced his harangue. i realized then that she was my "barrier dog"...making me feel safe in any situation and enabling me to go anywhere with complete confidence with her at my side.

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