Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sawyer Nightingale

It has been a long time since the last post, but better late than never right? This one is written by Ian. I am Somer's dad, and Sawyer's trainer. Somer has been away at college since last fall and Sawyer and I have stayed busy working on preparing him for the next part of his life- that of a companion and service dog for someone. Someone-we don't know who yet-that even now may be dreaming of the day that a dog like Sawyer comes into their life, and from that day both their lives will be forever changed for the better. Training Sawyer has been a labor of love for me and although there were times that it seemed too difficult, or challenging, or frustrating, the look in his eyes as he stares at me with his head resting on my lap and the knowledge of what he will mean for someone that has difficulties and challenges and frustrations that I could never imagine, washes all of my doubts away. It has been a privilege to be part of this grand experiment! But enough about me-on to the star of the blog!

I work as a veterinarian, and Sawyer accompanies me daily. I have noticed recently that he appears to show a great deal of concern and empathy for animals that are not feeling well. It started when I brought home a dog named Ruby after surgery for monitering. Sawyer immediately planted himself next to Ruby's kennel and would not leave her unless I called him away. He stayed that way all weekend, taking breaks but always going back to check.

Then he started doing the same thing at the clinic for the
animals recovering from surgery. Here he is with a
little kitty that just been neutered. As soon as the cat was put on the heating pad, Sawyer went over and sniffed at him, and acted concerned. Then he plopped down and rested by him until the kitty started moving and we moved him into a kennel.

Then this weekend I had to do an emergency surgery on a cat,Cali,that had something stuck in her that needed to be removed. Sawyer stayed in the surgery room while I did the procedure, then took up his position next to her during recovery. He did the same after we went home, actually preferring to stay next to Cali's kennel than spend time with me. When I closed the door to the room she was in because she was starting to be a little unhappy with his presence, he just waited outside the door. When we returned from church, he could not wait to get in the house and check on her.

It seems to me that this concern he has for sick or impaired animals bodes well for his ability to be there and provide comfort for his person, especially if they are hurt or in some other way in need of solace. It comforts me to know what care and concern he will show them. A true canine Florence Nightingale.


  1. I have seen the same empathy from Sawyer when we are out walking together. He comes to check on me if I get too far behind the group or slip on the ice. Is this an innate characteristic or something that he has learned from his altruistic trainer?

  2. This is SO adorable, I love the pictures. He's such a sweetheart :)

  3. Wow. What an amazing dog. He's going to do so much good for someone!