My name is Casper and I am a Great Dane. Being a Great Dane is pretty cool, but you know what’s cooler? I am also a Service Dog. Yep, I have a job helping my human get around.
I was born and raised at Service Dog Project. They raise only Great Danes to train to help people with mobility and balance issues. Carlene White has been doing this for a long time and before that she trained animals of all kinds to do movies and commercials. She is pretty much awesome. (Please consider purchasing a Chicken Brick to help support this wonderful organization.)
My daddy’s name is Dan. He has something called cerebral palsy (CP) and that is why he needs me to help him. Most people do not know much about CP so I will explain a little bit. Usually this is caused when someone doesn’t get oxygen to their brain at birth or later because of a head injury. Dad ws born very, very early and had his umbilical cord around his neck so he didn’t get air at first. With CP the part of the brain that is damaged is the part that tells your muscles how to move. In Dad’s case it mostly affects his legs. I’m sure when you walk you don’t even have to think about putting one foot in front of the other, but for Dad the part of his brain that tells his legs what to do was damaged when it didn’t get any oxygen when he was born. That means he has had to figure out how to use other parts of his brain to tell his legs what to do. Dad’s muscles just aren’t as easily controlled as most people’s so sometimes he has to really concentrate on his movements. Even with concentration, though, he falls a lot so I am there to help him. CP can also send the wrong messages to muscles and make them move without your control, causing spasms. CP can affect just half the body, like both legs or both arms, or your left or right side, or it can affect the entire body. It can also impair speech, or even effect muscles that help control your internal organs. I want to point out that even though CP is caused by damage to the brain, it is a physical disability. People with CP, even very severe forms, are capable of learning just like other people. When Dad acts stupid it has nothing to do with the CP. He is just a dork.
People always ask Dad why he has a great dane for a service dog. Well, that is easy. First of all, we are really smart. You know that big bump on the top of a great dane’s head? That’ there because our brains are SO BIG! We also really really really LOVE people so we naturally want to help. For disabilities like CP and other conditions that affect balance and stability a person needs a very large dog. For one thing, we are tall enough for them to hold on to when they walk. For another thing, if (when) they do fall they need a service dog that is large enough to take their weight without being hurt. People make jokes about us being horses, but no dog is built to take a lot of weight on their back so unless they are big enough and specially trained, a dog could get hurt by a person putting weight on them. More about that later.
My mommy’s name is Lauri. I really love her. I am not supposed to listen to her when we are out with Dad, but at home she is the boss. I wouldn’t know Dad if it wasn’t for her! She convinced him he would do better with a helper and she was right! She is also the reason we moved to Oklahoma in 2014. Dad and I are Yankees, but she is an Okie.
We also have 2 human puppies. Mom and Dad said they are called “kids.” Whatever. My puppies are Lily and Alyssa. Lily is the older one. I like to cuddle her. She has a lot of anxiety and when I am not working for Dad I usually spend time making sure she is feeling ok. Alyssa is a little wild. I don’t spend as much time with her because I don’t have that much energy (and her cat that is always in her room DOES NOT like me), but I always check on her. If we go somewhere and I can’t see her I get worried. She is very small for her age so I want to make sure she is safe!
I came home with Dad in June 2013 when I was only about 9 months old as a service dog in training. I had almost all of my training down like a pro by then, but there were a few kinks that Dad had to work out. Because Dad’s mobility is pretty good and he is very strong SDP trusted that he could finish my training well. We all think he did a really good job. I get compliments everywhere we go. It is mostly due to SDP, but if Dad had been lazy I could have forgotten everything I learned and just been a mess!
I told Dad we needed to start this blog because I had a lot of friends who watched me grow up on puppy cam and want to keep track of me. We also have a Facebook page for me here.
God Bless You. I have had a service dog since I had a failed back surgery. You have covered this subject beautifully. Thank You. John
Basement Monster… I love it, two of my furbabies would agree with you 100%. The other furbaby loves all animals and most humans. Casper you rock and I have voted for you twice a day every day. Keep up the good work you are a handsome and hard working young man. I knew you would be, I was sad to see you leave SDP but knew you would be great at what you were born to do 🙂
I was not there when you were born. I was there about 15 years ago when Carlene White (an amazing determined woman) was raising Danes and running Animalep and planning more. Here you and many other service dogs are, the fruits of her dreams, labors and determination. Dream Big Casper. God Bless you and your humans.
Hi, Casper. I’m also a lucky person who got to watch you being born, and then growing into the handsome young service dog you are today. Sounds like you’re doing very well with your training and helping your human. Those human puppies must adore you!! Take care of them, too.
Thank mom and dad for me, too, for starting a blog. It’s so hard to watch a new dane being born, growing and then you’re out in the world and we camera people still think of you and hope you are doing well.
Keep up the good work – and God bless you and your people!
I salute you, Casper! It’s International Assistance Dog Week! I think you are amazing!😘
Oh my little Ghost, I am so proud of you. You are doing what you were bred to do and at such an early age too. That simply means you are as special as I thought the minute I saw you born. I know you will be the best thing that has happened to your family. Please give your mom and dad a thank you hug from me. Love you and look forward to seeing you live on camera at SDP.
Hi Casper! I am one of the lucky ones who got to see you be born on camera. I always loved spotting you since you have such a cute unique face and I could tell you apart from your brothers and sisters right away. It does my heart good to see you have such a good home and are able to do such good work. And to think you are technically still a puppy! I can tell you and your family make a good team. I am looking forward to reading your blog so much that I signed up to follow by e-mail. That is something I never do! Please thank your Dad and Mom for letting you create your blog and share your life with all of us.