A few weeks before Christmas 2014, I received a call from a wish manager from Make-A-Wish in Texas. They were searching for a Service Dog to purchase for a 17-year-old young man with a terminal illness. He was a patient at Cook Children’s Medical Center.

The goal was to match him with a service dog by Christmas. Normally, this would have been an impossible task. When we sell a service dog or therapy dog, it normally takes us between six months and a year to complete their training. When the wish manager explained to me the situation and how important it was for him to get a dog by Christmas, I teared up immediately.

I told her by a miracle, we had a beautiful yellow lab named Mia, who had finished training as a service dog just a month before. This service dog was trained for someone else, but their situation had changed and they were not able to purchase her. I explained that she would be a perfect match for this young man. The training we had done for the other person was almost identical to what he needed. The flight arrangements were made, and we boarded a plane on December 23 with this beautiful yellow lab going to her new home.

When we arrived with Mia, we went directly to the Children’s Center. We spent the next few days training and getting her settled in with this very special young man. The bond was almost immediate. She knew that she had a very important job to do and she did it! He was in the hospital a few more weeks and she stayed by his side, the entire time. The decision was made for him to go home into Hospice care. Mia accompanied him on his journey home. She continued to stay on watch as his constant companion. She laid in the bed beside him until he took his last breath on January 21, 2015.

As I write this, I continue to wipe the tears from my face. We have trained dogs for over 29 years.  We have sold hundreds of adult trained dogs to clients around the country and internationally. I have been blessed to experience so many stories like this. It is such an amazing thing to know that we are able to help people and dogs through our Adult Trained Dog Program.