SCI Mercer runs the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs program, which trains pups to be service dogs for Pennsylvania veterans. Take a look at this update on the program recently sent to Mercer staff:
The four handlers passed their Master's class earlier this month and once their dog is paired in October/November, they will be certified as Medical Service Dog Trainers. Seven new handlers have passed their basics class and are working towards the experience needed to take the Master's course.
The current dogs are doing great. They still have some issues and we are working through them. It's hard to believe, but they are still puppies in the adolescence stage of life. They will not start to mature for another 4 to 6 months.
(Pictured left to right: Rooney, Semper Fi, TJ, Rockey)
The program received four more dogs. Three out of the four are black German Shepherds, and all are different ages.
New Guardian Angel Dogs:
Tor: confident, good dog to dog, immature, silly, but great potential.
Stanley: A Pittsburgh Penguin pup, around 13 months old, submissive, dog to dog good, licker, very sweet, has trouble with down/stays.
Charlie: 14 months, Brock and Semper Fi's brother, great with basic mobility, needs to build on it, was babied, needs strong correction and direction.
Cadet: babied, needs help with follow through, corrections.
Rooney: Rooney is a 4-year-old German Shepherd that entered the program on June 11. He needed help with socialization and desensitization to everyday objects that he has never seen before. Rooney has progress well in the last six weeks and will remain in the program until October.
He is named after the Rooney's, so you may see him on the field one day.
"Arriving here at SCI Mercer as a fully trained Guardian Angel, Rooney immediately began demonstrating his ability as a medical service dog. With his alerts, his shielding, his playfulness, and his tender lovingness, Rooney holds the bar high as to what's expected of a GAMSD when managing the effects of PTSD. He certainly has positively impacted the life of his handler(s) and will most certainly will do the same for his upcoming recipient. Continue to do great things, Rooney!! We bid you a farewell and good luck."-GAMSD Handler
"Although Rooney has only been in our lives for a short period of time, he has certainly fit in well with our small family.
Rooney is and intelligent, loving, and energetic dog, who has shown me just what is means to be a true Guardian Angel's Service Dog.
I have no doubt in my mind that Rooney's recipient will be over joyed to have him in his life. Good Luck, Rooney, in all your adventures and may you continue to help and save lives." -GAMSD Handler