When Black Labrador Retriever Potter was rescued from the Longmont
Humane Society, he was taken to Freedom Service Dogs to begin training to become
a service dog. Potter failed. He was too afraid of crowds and noise to become a
full service dog with public access; however, he was successful as a skilled companion
without public access rights. Although he flunked Service Dog School, when it came
to serving, Potter knew just what to do.
Mary Kay Lee fell sideways from her wheelchair onto her bed. She was stuck with
her bottom half on the wheelchair and her top half on the bed, with her waist completely
bent to the side. This had happened to Lee before and she had been stuck in this position
for five hours until her husband returned from work. She was miserable and the emotional
distress was even greater; however, this time was different, thanks to her service
Mary Kay had been training Potter a few times each day with short skill sessions.
Potter thought that "find the phone" was great fun so it was practiced often. When
Mary Kay realized that she was stuck, she hoped Potter would understand that this
was not a drill, but the real thing. When she told Potter to "find the phone", he
left the room, came running back into the bedroom with it, stood up on the bed and
put the phone right in her hand. She was able to contact a neighbor with a key who
was able to assist her right away.
For his dedication to service, Potter was named the Hero Award Winner by the Colorado
Veterinary Medical Association.