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Happy Tail: A German Shepherd has a new job ahead


For a long time, Madison Wanamaker of Costa Mesa, CA, had wanted to adopt a German Shepherd, but she had no hint of the ramifications of fulfilling her dream. She began searching on Petfinder and saw a pup that appealed to her at Rancho Cucamonga Animal Care & Adoption Center.

“I instantly knew this little eight-pound baby was going to be the love of my life and my best friend,” she says. She applied to adopt him and was approved. His name is Konga.

Konga pays close attention to his human and may one day be her service dog.

Konga pays close attention to his human and may one day be her service dog.

All the while, Madison was suffering a medical condition that causes her to faint unexpectedly when her blood pressure drops. The situation can be especially dangerous if she falls or if no one is around. When her physician learned that Madison had adopted a dog, she suggested that he might be trained as a service dog. Service dogs can alert their humans when there is an impending attack, allowing the person to get to a safe place or take his or her medications.

“Experts are saying that the dogs may actually be able to smell people’s blood pressure,” said Brad Sattin at KSTP-TV, Minnepolis/St. Paul. Some dogs alert by pawing or nuzzling their humans’ legs or hands. Others alert by vocalizing.

“I didn’t even know about service dogs for conditions like mine,” Madison says, but she’s feeling positive about the possibilities because Konga is very intuitive and loving. Right now, Konga is in basic puppy training but soon will enter advanced service training. For the time being, Madison is simply enjoying his companionship.

“We are together every second, going on road trips to National Parks, going to the dog park, going to obedience class and, of course, cuddling and watching movies!” she says. People stop her every day and ask where she got him and how much he cost.

She has the pleasure of saying he was a rescue and she found him on Petfinder. And one day, she may also be adding that he’s her lifesaver.

Learn why Petfinder believes all dogs should wear collars and tags.

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