Life began in Santa Rosa, California where Swezey was born to golden retriever parents already in service to Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). He was named by his caretakers in honor of a very generous human donor from upstate New York. His future appeared bright. In December, 2009, eight week old Swezey was placed in the hands of "puppy raisers" Joanne Lewis and her husband Stan Schertzer, newcomers to Medfield's Olde Village Square. They spent the next eighteen months together following the CCI protocol for puppy raising, and returned Swezey to CCI's Long Island, NY campus for professional evaluation in May, 2011. "It broke my heart to return Swezey," Jo explains, "he had become a beloved family companion." However, it also seemed terribly important that he continue on to potentially assist an individual in need. Thirteen days later, CCI contacted Jo & Stan and released the golden for their adoption due to a minor heart murmur and "soft" canine training that made it nearly impossible to include the dog in the rigorous, advanced training that CCI required. "Frankly, I was overjoyed to have our cherished golden return....although I always felt that his true abilities to attentively comfort others were being somewhat wasted." Crediting Christina Rosetti and Lee Smith of Alpha Dog K-9 Academy in Medway, Jo continued training with Swezey and has recently received the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification. "Swezey and I are now able to do eldercare visits, as well as collaborate with teachers who are working with autistic and special needs students. Swezey's destiny has finally been fulfilled." Dr. Jo is a retired, life-long educator who can be reached for Swezey-related opportunities at 774-279-7901.
This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.