Story by Megan Whitehead | Oct 31, 2017
Photography by Keith Borgmeyer

Humans aren’t the only volunteer superstars. Four service dogs tell us about their jobs.

Rhapsody – Jefferson City High School

When I wake up in the morning, I am so excited to see my students. (They always have smiles and so much petting for me!) Then my real job begins.

Students with special needs get to be “vet assistants” for me. They take me for walks, clean up when they take me potty, play with me, groom me, and give me commands. What more could a girl ask for?

Sometimes, teachers or other students who are having bad days come see me so I can help them calm down. I know my job is very important because I’m a calming influence, but it doesn’t really feel like work.

Zinga – Tail Waggin’ Tutors

I love kids, and kids seem to love me! Once a month, I get to go to the library for little ones to read to me. Sometimes they’re nervous at first, but my soft fur and big eyes help them be comfortable.

I could spend all day just listening to stories from my kids. My favorite part is when a shy reader becomes more confident because they know I never judge them!

I love to have my paws rubbed. (I’ll admit, the paw and belly rubs are one of the best parts of the day.) If they stop, I remind them with a gentle nudge of my nose.

Max – Gibbs Center for Independence

I never want to leave work, literally. I was trained by Puppies for Parolees after being rescued from the side of the road and taken to Grabb Animal Shelter. Thank goodness my mom found me and knew I’d do a great job helping my work family.

My adults with disabilities are so proud of me, they take me on walks and introduce me to everyone we meet! And everyone knows I don’t like bad words, so keep a civil tongue or I’ll leave the room. Just like Rhapsody, I help my people when they’re having a bad day. When they’re smiling, my tail is wagging!

 

Olive – Capital City CASA

Judge Beetem has a very important job. He partners with my work family to make sure that children are never abused or neglected or are taken out of bad situations. When one of these kids needs help, I make sure I’m there with unconditional love and nose snuggles to make them feel calmer.

A lot of kids come to us scared or tense, but it’s my job to distract them as much as I can. With my soft fur and calming presence, I think I do a pretty good job. I’m never happier than when I see one of my kids smile!

 

Read about less furry volunteers here.