Four-legged graduates ready to assist others

Local News

At a time when many students are returning to class, three extraordinary young students celebrated their graduation.

All three are at the top of their class, and walking right into highly coveted, incredibly important positions.

Ella, Harper, and Clover are the three newest graduates of Assistance Dogs of Hawaii, beautiful Labradors who will be playing three very different roles.

Ella is a 2-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever. She will be working full-time at Kapiolani Women’s Cancer Center, providing a variety therapeutic benefits and unconditional love for cancer patients. Her handler is social worker Laura Stephenson.  Ella was chosen for this job because of her gentle and compassionate nature.

“Something that is typically extremely negative, patients are apprehensive, they don’t even want to come in for chemo. Just knowing that she’ll be there and they can hang out while they’re getting infusion, that’s the idea. I’m already seeing the benefits in the first week,” Stephenson said.

Clover is a calm 2-year-old black Labrador Retriever who will be serving as the courthouse facility dog for the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office. He will provide comfort and courage to children who are victims or witnesses of crime throughout the difficult legal process. He is currently undergoing team training with Dennis Dunn, director of Victim Witness Services.

“If you’ve ever seen court, most of your time is spent waiting than anything else, it just has such a calming experience,” Dunn said.

Harper is a highly skilled 1½-year-old Golden/Labrador Retriever who has learned more than 90 commands to assist Jordan Brub, an 11-year-old boy from Mililani who has a spinal cord injury. Harper can help with doors, lights, retrieving items, and alerting Brub’s parents if he has difficulty breathing during the night.

“She makes me feel good and happy, and makes me so calm,” Brub said. “She has helping me with picking up stuff when I drop it and get it from the table so my mom doesn’t have to get it for me.”

“She’s attached to Jordan’s wheelchair a lot, so she sleeps with Jordan so I think it has worked out very well,” said his mother, Madalyn Brub.

Click here for more information about Assistance Dogs of Hawaii.

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