Your life as a cat isn’t off to a great start when you parents decide to name you “D-O-G.”
Even for the most confident cat in Missouri, such a name would undoubtedly lead to confusion, but it’s also helped the friendly feline find the perfect career.
D-O-G, pronounced “dee-OH-jee,” the Associated Press reports, is one of the best dog trainers in St. Louis. The black and white cat helps Support Dogs, Inc., get its service canines in shape to assist people with mobility-related issues and hearing loss.
It’s important for service dogs to keep their cool under even the most stressful situations. If a service animal were to chase every other squirrel it saw, it would not be much help to someone who needs help keeping safe while walking down the street.
D-O-G helps service dogs become used to other animals and lessens the excitement they would otherwise have to suppress when meeting a cat on the job. As he plays with the dogs’ leashes and teases their tails, Huffington Post reports, D-O-G is preparing these pets for truly admirable work as assistance animals.
“In our training, our dogs have to be so well-behaved and not be reactive in many situations, so when a cat goes scampering in front of them and they’re in a down-stay, the command, they don’t go running after him,” CEO Anne Klein told ABC News. “They have to be well-behaved and not get distracted. He’ll go scampering by, and they have to be good, obedient.”
D-O-G does more than just scamper, though. He really keeps his recruits in line.
“He rules the roost,” Klein said. “He is the boss.”
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Dogs Support, Inc., director of canine services Nadine Wenig met D-O-G at a bed and breakfast south of Kansas City. Wenig stayed at the B&B overnight while working with one of the dogs in the area. When D-O-G, then the cuddly cat of Netherfield Farms, approached Wenig, it was love at first sight.
“He came right up to her, and she was instantly smitten,” Stephanie McCreary, the volunteer manager at Support Dogs, told This Dog’s Life.
D-O-G has since made many friends in his new career, and the social media attention hasn’t been awarded sparingly, either. D-O-G is a bonafide star!
“There are a few staff members who like to pretend they’re exclusively dog lovers, but everyone secretly adores D-O-G,” Klein said. “He’s spoiled rotten.”
We wish the best to D-O-G and his friends at Support Dogs, Inc. The work he is doing will make a positive impact on a lot of humans, but the reality of life for shelter pets is much less lovely. Millions of shelter animals face uneasiness and anxiety every day, waiting for the right forever family to come along. But there’s a way you can help.
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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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