Cameron Park Life

Party celebrates retired service dog

By From page A1 | August 01, 2017

Satchel, seen here with owner Carolyn Reese, soaks up the attention at his retirement party. Cameron Park Life photo by Joe McNeilly

Cameron Park Library hosted a retirement party for a beloved friend, Satchel the dog, on July 18. For six years Satchel has been a regular at the library’s PAWS for Reading program, held every Tuesday from 4 to 5 p.m. The program serves a twofold purpose — it gives children the opportunity to read to the dogs and it gives therapy and service dogs a chance to socialize.

Around 15 dogs turned up for the party, including three puppies in training. It was also well attended by volunteers from El Dorado Second Sight, a local club that works with Guide Dogs for the Blind to train service dogs. The party featured treats for both the dogs and the children who read to them. 

Satchel, a golden retriever/yellow lab mix, was born in 2003. As a puppy he trained to be a guide dog, but sadly he didn’t make the cut and became what’s known as a “career change dog.” He lived with an employee of Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael until 2011, when he returned to El Dorado County and the home of Carolyn Reese, who originally trained him.

Satchel then went through training with Pet Partners to become a registered therapy dog — a common path for career change dogs. An important distinction is that service dogs are allowed public access whereas therapy dogs are not.

Satchel has attended PAWS for Reading at Cameron Park Library for the last six years, ever since he came back to live with Reese, befriending countless kids and dogs along the way. Reese knew it was finally time for Satchel to retire after a recent visit to the veterinarian’s office.

“It’s been hard for him to get up and down,” she said. “The vet said it’s time.”

For more information about El Dorado Second Sight visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/ElDorado2ndSight/. More information about Guide Dogs for the Blind can be found at guidedogs.com.

Joe McNeilly

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