Career-change dog: Mochi

Mellow mama Lab finds loving new home

When a sweet white Labrador retriever named Mochi came to FSD from a rescue in 2017, she was pregnant with four puppies. And while we hoped she might have the right stuff for service dog work after her pups were weaned, Mochi showed a lack of confidence that prevented her from continuing in our training program.

At about the same time, a woman named Claudia had decided that her house felt vacant after her beloved black Lab died suddenly the previous month. Claudia knew about FSD thanks to a neighbor who serves on the FSD board of directors, so she filled out an adoption application and waited for the right dog to be released from our training program.

In July 2018, Claudia adopted then 2-year-old Mochi. Not wanting to take on a puppy, Claudia was delighted that Mochi was older and had received some training, both at FSD and through Colorado’s Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program. She also wanted a dog that would be good with children and cats. Says Claudia, “Because of the professional and dedicated staff, I felt FSD would be honest and upfront about any misbehaviors and/or if they felt the dog and I were not a good match. I also liked being associated with an organization with a mission of making life easier for people who need help with their daily living by giving rescue and other dogs a chance of developing into a service dog.”

Claudia knew that Mochi’s nature was “pure sweetness and gentleness” upon their first meeting, but it wasn’t until after she went home with Claudia that some other behaviors began to appear. Mochi liked to chew, suffered from separation anxiety, and cowered whenever Claudia raised her hand—leading Claudia to believe that she was abused earlier in her life. By providing Mochi with a kennel that serves as her “safe zone” when Claudia is away, and by treating her with kindness and patience, Claudia has seen Mochi improve in all these areas during the past eight months.

“Every day, I am reminded of the trust Mochi has placed in me,” says Claudia. “Her calm nature amazes all who meet her. Her friendliness to all people and dogs is always on display, and I am especially grateful for this quality since she was abused. I believe this trait speaks to her forgiveness and hope. These qualities are my daily reminder to forgive others.”

When asked what advice she would offer to someone considering adopting a career-change dog from FSD, Claudia says: “There are many reasons why a dog may not be able to complete their service dog training. Any time a dog is rescued, they have a past, and that past can get in the way of a dog’s ability to ‘give their all’ to a disabled person. However, that dog does have the ability to give you their very best if given a chance. You will not receive a perfect dog, and you may have to practice some patience and forgiveness, but you will receive in return their love and devotion.”

To learn more about adopting a career-change dog from FSD, click here.

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