(Makenna Mason)

Makenna Mason

Fruita Monument High School’s very own service dog is a good boy

February 9, 2020

“Sit, good boy.” A service dog is now present at Fruita Monument High Schoolwhich raises many questions such as why are service dogs needed? How can they help people? Can other students use service dogs?

 

A service dog may not be for everyone, but they are needed. “We never know what people are going through, and service dogs can be there for people in times of need,” especially through school when things sometimes go wrong.

“Kaden Means” attends FHMS. “Means” was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in his early childhood years, and it is pretty severe. He recieved a dog, but not just any dog: a service dog.  The first service dog in Mesa County School District 51. 

Means service dog became a hot topic on our school campus, so I decided to interview him to get more information on his service dog and his experience with his dog. Means told me, “My dog’s name is Curry-after the NBA player Stephen Curry.” Curry was born 4/10/2017, a day that changed Means life.

Curry was born outside of Colorado and was sent to Kaden to help with his Type 1 diabetes. According to Mayoclinic “type 1 diabetes once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.” Means stated, “Curry alerts me around 15 minutes before I have low or high blood sugar, so that I know what I can do to get it up or have it go down,”

Means also said “Curry goes everywhere with me. School, the store, the movie theater, sports events, etc.” In my opinion, Curry is important to have around the school for Means. Helping him through everyday activities, Curry is always there and ready to alert people when Means needs something for his Type 1 diabetes.

Curry may only be for Means, but he is helping one person stay alive. We need dogs like Curry to help students who may be going through Type 1 diabetes, emotional support, visual loss, hearing impairment, and other medical conditions. Service dogs could be there to alert them when their medical condition is getting worse or just to help them get through everyday activities. With the help of a service dog, lives can be changed.

Service dogs not only go through a bunch of tests, they also attend intense training before becoming a service dog. Means told me “I waited about two years for Curry, and it was worth the wait!” They can be trained with the help of a certified service dog trainer to help students in school.

We have students, not only here, but in other places in the district and around the U.S. that could use a service dog to help them. According to data collected by researchers, more than 4,000 service dogs were placed in the United States in 2013-14. 

The most common breeds of service dogs are German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, American Staffordshire Terrier, Standard Poodle, Pomeranian, Collie, Bernese Mountain Dog, Labradoodle, and Rhodesian Ridgeback. These dogs are used for their great “Sniffer”, their athletic ability, calm temper, and fast response in situations with confidence.

The average service dog can cost upwards of $15,000. Service dogs in training can cost $150-$250 per hour, depending on the breed of service dog and type of work the dog requires.  These dogs are well taken care of with food/water, vaccinations, and a loving home. Between the expensive cost and rigorous training, service dogs provide an improved lifestyle, just like Curry is doing for Means.

Despite the price, service dogs are put to good use. Since service dogs help many people in different situations, they have saved many lives and we could use more of them in school, and for that matter, in our society. They are loving, happy, and helpful.  Lives saved, friendships created, and peace of mind offered, are all the benefits provided by service dogs. “Curry, good boy!”

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