Finding Joy and Independence through Superpower Service Dog, Mork

Finding Joy and Independence through Superpower Service Dog, Mork

CANINE COMPANIONS
Finding Joy And Independence With Mork
Superpower Dogs, Team Journalist
9 December 2016
Wallis Brozman lives with dystonia, an involuntary muscle condition that can suddenly and unexpectedly immobilize her body and permanently impacts her speech.
Despite her condition, Wallis hasn’t let anything stifle her quality of life or independence. She’s found a way to adapt, overcome her adversity, and live each day to the fullest thanks in part to her very own Superpower Dog, Mork.
Mork is Wallis’ 2-year old yellow lab and trained assistance dog, and in contrast to most humans, he thrives when dealing with change. As Wallis’ partner, Mork uses his superpowers of intelligence and intuition to anticipate and respond to any need she might have. Where others may react to uncertainty in fight-or-flight mode, Mork uses his superpowers to remain calm and levelheaded no matter what.
Mork, Wallis’ Superpower Dog
Photograph by Wallis Brozman
While recently on a walk together Wallis hit uneven concrete and was thrown from her wheelchair, leaving her wheelchair in the road and unable to move or call for help. Even though Mork had never trained for this exact scenario, he used his problem-solving superpower to rise to the life-saving occasion! By keying on Wallis’ American Sign Language commands, he quickly retrieved her fallen phone, laid by her side and barked on command until help arrived.

Even before this scary and heroic moment, Wallis knew she’d be able to count on Mork.

From his early days at Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit that enhances lives of people with disabilities by providing highly-trained assistance dogs, it was evident that he was a selfless and eager learner. When they were paired together in 2016 after his completion of nearly 9 months of highly rigorous training at Canine Companions, Mork was already an elite assistance dog able execute over 40 spoken commands. However, because Wallis’ condition can cause sudden loss of movement and has diminished her speech, upon graduation, Mork had to immediately start learning how to communicate non-verbally using American Sign Language.
Morks opens the door for Wallis
Photograph by Wallis Brozman
Now, this special duo uses each sign and command as an opportunity to not only learn about each other, but also learn how to be resilient problem solvers in the face of unexpected challenge. Their latest innovation is a special rope technique for Mork to assist Wallis by tugging her wheelchair up narrow inclines and over the same kinds of bumps that previously caused Wallis to fall!
While it’s obvious that Mork’s innate intelligence and commitment to Wallis enables her to live a fully independent life despite her dystonia, the daily laughter and joys of companionship are equally invaluable parts of their special bond.
WATCH
Superpower Dogs Official Trailer
READ
The Greatest Story Ever About Dogs
LEARN
More Inspiring Superpower Dog Stories
Coming to IMAX® and Giant Screen Theatres March 2019

Rina: Changing Lives Through Humor & Support

Rina: Changing Lives Through Humor & Support

SURFDOG RICOCHET
Rina: A Superpower Dog Changing Lives Through Humor & Support
Superpower Dogs, Team Journalist
16 November 2016
Just as Ricochet now helps the lives of many, she was impacted early on by her friend Rina, a fellow Superpower Dog behind the scenes that inspired her purpose of helping people.

Surfdog Ricochet is a Superpower Dog who surfs. As if winning surfing contests isn’t impressive enough, Ricochet’s real mission in life is her work as the world’s only SURFice® dog. She combines a love of surfing with healing superpowers to help human friends in need, with paws-on contact and bonding through the incredible experience of riding waves together. Kids with special needs, people with disabilities, and wounded veterans are some of the many people whose lives have been touched and changed by Ricochet. Ricochet will star in the giant screen adventure film, Superpower Dogs. 

Just as Ricochet now helps the lives of many, she was impacted early on by her friend Rina, a fellow Superpower Dog behind the scenes that inspired her purpose of helping people. Rina was more than just an influential role model for Ricochet, she also had amazing abilities to care for and connect with people. Not only did Rina have an essential ‘paw’ in laying the path for Ricochet, but her superpowers also changed life’s course for her human trainer and companion, Judy.

Rina, Judy’s inspiration behind, Ricochet
Photograph by Surf Dog Ricochet’s Facebook Page

As a puppy raiser, Judy first met Rina when Rina was just 8 weeks old and beginning her training to become a service dog with Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs. For over a year, Judy worked with Rina on puppy training and socialization skills. When Rina went away to begin her intensive training service dog program, Judy was so inspired by their bond that she decided to go back to school to train service dogs. In a serendipitous turn, Rina was released from the highly selective program and was thus reunited with Judy as her new owner, trainer and personal service dog. The pair then began working with Pawsative Teams, a training organization that awarded Rina her therapy dog certification, and kicked off what would become an amazing 13-year journey of healing, helping people in need, and assisting Judy with her medical needs.

Not only did Rina have an essential ‘paw’ in laying the path for Ricochet, but her superpowers also changed life’s course for her human trainer and companion, Judy.

Over that period, Rina and Judy were an inseparable team that brought love and emotional support to those who needed it most. One Superpower story of Rina was a time when Ricochet was practicing surfing, and her wave died and stalled the surfboard. Rina thought Ricochet was in distress and braved the waves, which she never liked to do, to swim out and save her sister. Then, Ricochet jumped from her surfboard to swim to Rina and they ended up saving each other..

Rina and Ricochet
Photograph by Surf Dog Ricochet Facebook Page
Rina’s superpower of connecting with people as a healer made her an immediate friend to anyone she met, a devoted sister to Ricochet and a lifelong companion for Judy. Rina was known for her light-hearted personality and smile, taking every opportunity to steal the remote, wear shoes and deliver packages from UPS drivers to Judy’s front door. So whether people or dogs, we all need those special individuals in our lives that help inspire us along the way, perhaps even help us discover our own superpowers.
In loving memory of Rina. 
WATCH
Superpower Dogs Official Trailer
READ
The Greatest Story Ever About Dogs
LEARN
More Inspiring Superpower Dog Stories
Coming to IMAX® and Giant Screen Theatres March 2019