Service Dogs, Griffins, and Heroes
The griffins in An Entanglement of Griffins, my story in Pets in Space 7, are an adventurous lot. They are bold, delightful, mischievous, and utterly charming.
Griffins might qualify as emotional support animals, if you don't mind that they'll get into anything and everything. They can't help it. That kind of behavior kept them alive in an impossibly harsh environment (see Escape from Nova Nine). But as to their ability to be a service animal, and help a designated human do daily tasks… did I mention they're charming?
I know some real service animals. Let me introduce you to Hero Dogs.
Hero Dogs Save Lives
The Hero Dogs charity raises and trains service dogs for disabled veterans and first-responders. Once the dog is ready, they go the extra mile to train both the dog and their special human to work together.
We have made amazing advances in medicine. Injuries that once would have been fatal are now survivable. What we haven't done as well with is helping these survivors, who are often left with permanent disabilities, get along afterward. Our modern civilization is designed for the able-bodied and able-minded.
A trained service dog can make the difference between immobility and independence. The dog's instincts say that helping a pack member — their special person — improves quality of life for them all. The human enjoys the unconditional love of the dog. It doesn't get better than that.
Hero Dogs Serve in Other Ways
Just as not all humans are good at certain tasks (no one in their right mind should ask me to paint their house), not all dogs are suited for the service-dog job. Hero Dogs has expanded their program to provide facility dogs (who make friends with everyone!) and therapy dogs (who share their calm love whenever it's needed).
This is personal to me. At the end of his life, my elderly, demented father greatly benefited from regular visits by a therapy dog. Interacting with the sweet black retriever named Poppy brought him present and engaged. He wouldn't talk to people, but he'd baby-talk to Poppy, telling her she was a good dog, and pet her until she drooled.
I hope if I end up in the home for the perpetually bewildered, my caregivers bring therapy cats around to visit me.
Pets in Space 7 Supports Hero Dogs
10% of the first month's sales of Pets in Space 7 goes to Hero Dogs. The last day of the donation period is Fri. 11 November 2022, which is Veteran's Day in the U.S. There's still time to buy a great science fiction romance anthology and support the fabulous mission of Hero Dogs.
Credits: Griffin illustration by Adrian DKC. Retriever photo by ken reid at Unsplash.