Roy & Daisy
His mother and father proceeded to tell us how they had to do everything for Roy – feeding him, dressing him, transferring him to the bed, toilet and wheelchair. At the time of the interview, Roy was twenty-three-years old. With his parents doing so much for him, we were concerned that Roy would not be motivated enough to attend weekly classes for over a year.
When asked, Roy said he did not know what was on the application since another family member had filled it out for him. The Happy Tails program was explained to Roy and he said he wanted to have his dog as his service dog. The goal of Happy Tails is to promote independence, mobility and confidence through the use of a service dog, so it was decided to accept Roy and Daisy – who is a female, yellow labrador – into the program.
Roy’s family had agreed that this would be a family project so each week Roy, his mother and father would come to class with Daisy. In the beginning, whenever Roy was asked a question, he would refer to his mother or father because he was so used to having them talk for him. As Roy continued to attend classes, he was encouraged to talk about Daisy and little by little he began to interact with the other students.
Due to Roy’s disability, he uses a motorized wheelchair and has very restricted arm movements. If he drops something, unlike the other students, he could not reach for the object when Daisy picked it up. Roy found that in talking to Daisy and letting her know he had a treat, he was able to teach her to put the object in his hands so he could grab a hold of it.
Daisy has done some problem solving on her own. She jumps up on the bed and positions herself behind Roy so that his parents could tend to his needs while Roy is leaning against her.
The level of Roy’s self-esteem and socialization have improved tremendously. He now is eager to talk to anyone about Daisy. His mother said since he graduated from Happy Tails with Daisy, he talks more now than he has talked in his whole life!
Roy is very proud of Daisy. He takes her for walks, to ball games, concerts and community events that Happy Tails participates in. Roy and Daisy often go with Happy Tails staff to do presentations educating the community on people with disabilities who use service dogs.
In October, 2006 Roy and Daisy were among those honored at the Maricopa County Animal Care Control for their fourth Annual Hero Awards dinner. Daisy was given a gold medallion.
It is wonderful to see the expession on Roy’s face whenever someone comes up to him and compliments him on how well behaved Daisy is. Often people will ask who trained Daisy for him. He always answers with such pride, “I trained her myself.”