This month the DVMA hosted a ballroom event at the Dover Hotel and Casino that included four awards to be presented to some very hard working canines. Daphne, who is retiring from her full-time working career, was awarded Service Dog Hero, “In recognition of the devoted friendship and instrumental role she plays in her owner’s life as a service dog and faithful companion”.

Service dogs (SDs) are much more than pets, not that pets aren’t loved, but those with disabilities are able to lead much more independent lives with a dog that is trained to help them with their individual needs. It takes an average 1 ½ to 2 years to fully train a SD and the working career can vary, but is typically 8-10 years. Things such as illness, accident, or injury can also result in early retirement. Bringing in a new SD can also help a retired SD relax a bit and take on the role of just being the spoiled family dog full time.

SDs often go above and beyond for their handlers. It’s not just a working relationship, it’s a bonded partnership based on mutual affection, loyalty, trust, and reciprocation. It is a pleasure to see a much loved and deserving SD like Daphne be recognized for a job well done by a community of veterinary professionals.

Written by: Jen Bye Garza