Service Dog Libra Helps Summer Battle Fear With Love and Courage

Service Dog Libra Helps Summer Battle Fear With Love and Courage

SERVICE DOG LIBRA
Support Through Love and Courage
Summer Quickle, Guest Post
April 2017

My name is Summer Quickle. I am fifteen years old and a freshman in high school. I am writing to you to tell you about my Superpower Dog team. Libra is my Superpower Dog.

She is a Golden Retriever service dog as well as a therapy dog. We have been a service dog/handler team for two years. I trained Libra myself with hard work and dedication. I couldn’t ask for a better service dog. We attend Liberty High School together in Clarksburg, WV. She makes it possible for me to get through the school day.

I began training Libra to be a service dog when she was twelve weeks old. If it weren’t for Libra, I wouldn’t have the quality of life that I have today. I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from something that happened to me as a child. Libra is trained in many tasks that mitigate my disability. Libra wakes me up from nightmares, grounds me during panic attacks, and leads me to exits when I’m too overwhelmed.

Libra, Summer Quickle’s Superpower Dog
Photograph by Summer Quickle

We are also in the Junior Humane Society club at my school, and participate in various other activities in my community. 

While Libra provides all of the necessary support for me as a service dog, she also gives back to others.

She is a certified therapy dog through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs organization. Libra has also earned her Canine Good Citizen title through the AKC, and is currently working on earning other titles. We visit many different hospitals, nursing homes, and libraries together. Her favorite place to visit is the West Virginia Veteran’s Nursing Facility. Libra and I enjoy listening to the veterans reminisce about their stories from combat. There is one patient in particular that loves seeing Libra and sharing his stories from World War II with us. 

In addition to her two very important jobs, Libra is also an educator. Libra and I have visited many different elementary schools, educating the children about the importance of not disrupting a working service dog. She demonstrates various tasks and shows the children what being a service dog is all about. Libra also provides a therapy dog demonstration – which she loves.

Libra’s superpowers include: her ability to be an amazing service dog, spreading happiness to others as a therapy dog

For about fifteen minutes, the children get to interact with Libra as a therapy dog. At the end of our presentation, the children understand the difference between her two important jobs, and have learned proper etiquette around service dogs.  When Libra is not working, she enjoys spending time with her adopted sister, Piper, a long-haired German Shepard. Piper is in training to become a therapy dog just like her big sister. She dreams of becoming a Superpower Dog herself someday. Libra loves teaching Piper the ways of a working dog.

Libra and Summer taking their victory stride at homecoming!
Photograph by Summer Quickle

Libra’s Superpower Dog superpowers include: her ability to be an amazing service dog, spreading happiness to others as a therapy dog, educating everyone about her two incredible jobs, and helping other dogs embrace their inner superpowers. 

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

Aqua Dog Cori

Aqua Dog Cori

SURF DOG RICOCHET
Aqua Dog Cori
Superpower Dogs, Team Journalist
April 2017

On September 16th, 2016, after careful deliberation with six other newborn pups, Judy had a moment of pure destiny with the seventh: she knew which superpowered bundle of joy she was taking home. That puppy was Encore (or “Cori” for short).

You may have already read the stories of Ricochet the SURFice canine maverick, and Rina, Ricochet’s tender, kind-spirited service dog sister. Both Superpower Dogs were partners in power to Judy, who is the founder of canine non-profit Puppy Prodigies.

After hearing about Judy’s good works, a service dog organization offered Judy the opportunity to have her pick of the litter (five litters, in fact!) after Rina passed away. On September 16th, 2016, after careful deliberation with six other newborn pups, Judy had a moment of pure destiny with the seventh: she knew which superpowered bundle of joy she was taking home.

That puppy was Encore (or “Cori” for short).

Cori, as a Service Dog in Training
Photograph by Surf Dog Ricochet Facebook page

Having lost Rina not long before, Judy was struck by the similarities between the growing Cori and her beloved Rina. Each day Cori grew, Judy saw the same affinities she saw in Rina: a love for packages, shoes, and the remote control. And Cori, like Rina, was demonstrating a loving, kind, and ingenuitive spirit.

Cori has a great sense of humor, and is a playful kleptomaniac. To keep you on your toes, she steals anything and everything. She’s pretty confident, but so far isn’t crazy about swimming, so Judy doesn’t think she’ll be a surfer like her sister Ricochet. Then again, time will tell.

She enjoys barking at and chasing bugs, but her endless appetite for play doesn’t stop at insects. She loves playing with other dogs, and of course, playing with Ricochet, who loves her new superpower sibling. Not a shy dog in the least, Cori wants to be in the center of anything that is happening. She’s also very curious, braving new territories without a moment’s hesitation.

The ability to bring joy to others through play? Check. Robust bravery and a will to explore the unknown? Check.

QUOTE TBD

According to Judy, Cori has one of the biggest superpowers of them all: the power to demonstrate the continual presence of love in the world, even after loss.

After losing Rina, Judy wasn’t sure if she wanted another dog besides Ricochet for a while. But Cori changed that. With the love that Cori gives to Judy and everyone else around her, she reaffirms the continuous power of love, tenderly renewing hope where it can sometimes be lost.

Cori has already exercised her power on military vets with PTSD, bringing comfort and healing with the playfulness and grace of her confident spirit.

Cori is a Strong, Brave, Kind-Hearted Helper
Photograph by Surf Dog Ricochet & Aqua Dog Cori Facebook Page

Judy doesn’t yet know what role in therapy Cori will be playing in the long term, but she’s loving the process of rearing another strong, brave, and kind-hearted helper. One thing is certain though: there’s no doubt that Cori, like her superpower siblings, is already making the world a better place. By reminding each of us of how the power to love and do good will always endure, Cori is an extraordinary superpower dog on the rise.

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

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

Olaf the Autism Therapy Dog

Olaf the Autism Therapy Dog

SALK MIDDLE SCHOOL
Learning Changes Lives
Superpower Dogs, Team Journalist
9 December 2016
In the halls of Salk Middle School with Olaf, the autism therapy dog.
There is a calming presence that roams the halls of Salk Middle School, a STEM-themed magnet school in the Elk River Area School District of central Minnesota. Here, young minds are put at ease and eager to learn whenever they encounter this special superpower hero.
Teachers and students alike know him as Olaf, yet he won’t be found seated behind a desk or reading a book in the library. If you want to spot this friendly face around Salk, just keep an eye out for four paws and a wagging tail.
Olaf the Autism Therapy Dog
Photograph by Owner Mary
That’s right, Olaf is a six year-old golden retriever, and he’s a specially trained therapy dog that works with students with developmental disabilities, autism, and anxiety. Olaf’s heroic super powers highlight the grand impact our four-legged friends can have on our schools and communities.
As the filming of Superpower Dogs gets underway, our mission is to raise awareness for the working dog community and dogs like Olaf who make our world, and Salk Middle School, a better place through emotional therapy and support.
Olaf first arrived at Salk Middle School in 2014, after teacher Mary Ostmoe began researching the potential positive impacts a therapy dog could have in her classroom.
Before being placed with Mary, Olaf underwent over 6 months of rigorous training with Pawsitivity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in St. Paul, MN, dedicated to rescuing dogs and training them as service dogs for individuals with disabilities with a focus on children with autism. He was matched with Mary specifically for his superpower of gentle calmness, which has become an essential key to the supportive and safe environment fostered at the school.

From taking movement breaks and learning to care for an animal to learning the soothing comfort of having a loving, gentle fur friend. OLAF truly is a superpower dog.

Like any school, Salk’s students have a wide range of talents, abilities and backgrounds, each carrying their own unique set of needs. All of these youngsters learn in different styles, at different speeds, and under different circumstances, so Mary and her fellow staff know the challenge they face when cultivating a learning environment that works for everyone. However, these dedicated teachers also know that no matter what obstacles a student may face, each child can have the same opportunity to grow with the right support and conditions around them.

 

What makes Olaf perfectly suited for his role at the school is his superpower of gentle calmness that helps kids overcome a variety of different challenges. Whether students feel anxious, upset, distracted, or sad, Olaf’s presence can practically make those feelings disappear the very instant an outstretched hand meets his fluffy fur. With his intuitive senses and loving demeanor, Olaf provides many students at Salk the opportunity to learn new ways of coping with daily struggles. He also enables teachers like Mary to create a positive environment that works for all of her students no matter their needs, which ultimately helps shape these young lives for the better.
Mary shares, “Olaf offers so many opportunities to our students. From taking movement breaks and learning to care for an animal to learning the soothing comfort of having a loving, gentle fur friend. He truly is a superpower dog.”
Just as Olaf’s superpowers attract the attention of happy students each day he roams the school, word has begun to spread to other districts about his amazing impact. But despite how endeared Olaf has become to Salk Middle School, most other schools don’t have a therapy dog, and many students with learning challenges don’t experience the same calm and comfort that Olaf creates.
In order to help build awareness for our amazing furry friends like Olaf, the IMAX giant screen adventure film, Superpower Dogs is spreading our mission to raise awareness for the working dog community, support the next generation of canine heroes and help make sure that there is a working dog available for everyone in need.
Superpower Dogs is a giant screen adventure film in the making, scheduled to debut at the California Science Museum in 2018, about dogs that save lives, lift spirits and make our world a better place. Thank you Olaf for helping the students of Salk Middle School learn and grow with your super powers!
Salk Middle School
Photograph by Meet Olaf – Salk Middle School’s Therapy Dog for Students
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