While I love dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes, I feel that the Labrador Retriever is simply the “quintessential dog”. I have had a handful of labs in my life who not only changed it for the better, but changed me at the very core of my humanness.
My specialty is working with service dogs, and the people that depend on their partnership. In 2012, I earned an A.S. in Assistance Dog Education from Bergin University of Canine Studies; and I am currently enrolled in Bergin’s Master’s program in Canine Life Sciences. For my thesis project, I am developing the concept for a Fitness Assistance Dog that will fulfill the role of exercise partner, motivator, and nonjudgmental companion for people working to lose weight and make positive lifestyle changes.
I currently live in Bakersfield, CA, where I work as a contract trainer for Good Dog Autism Companions. Over the last year, I raised and trained a yellow (Dudley) lab, whom I named Fred (after Mr. Rogers), and placed him with his nine year old autistic partner, Ben, in April. At the beginning of July, 2014, I brought home my second Good Dog trainee, a black lab whom I named Betty (after Betty White). She will be with me until she is just over a year old before being paired with her forever partner.
In addition, I work with Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue as the Animal Assisted Activities Coordinator, and train people’s dogs privately in their homes for service work.
You can follow along on Betty’s and my other trainees’ journeys to becoming service dogs – as well as read about the development of my thesis, and all kinds of other things service dog related – on my Facebook page, called Life Is For Service (https://m.facebook.com/FredTheServicePup). If you are local to Kern County and are interested in learning about my services, you can check out my website at www.friskyfitness.net.
Liz R. Kover