How are these brilliant dogs trained? And how
do they know which disabled person is a best match
for which dog?
More than a Friend (3/4)
For Lacey and other students with guardians, it's hard not to feel side-lined.
She can't handle the dogs yet, only watch how her mother and nanny Sally are doing.
Just five more minutes and you're done for the day.
It's been a long day.
The early excitement has given way to a bit of concern.
I feel like I'll never get to be a good handler because I keep falling back to the same mistakes.
What I want you to do is have your dog retrieve the pen for you.
The next seven days are packed with commands, homework and quizzes: Tests of both the student's ability to handle the dogs, and the dogs' ability to handle all that is asked of them.
The pressure is on both sides.
If either partner fails, they don't graduate.
And both will have to start the process all over again.
By the second week, much of the uncertainty is gone.
Joy and Lacey have been assigned their dogs.
For Joy, there's EC, a Labrador-Golden Retriever mix.
And Lacey's new companion is a Golden Retriever named Ruhl.
Okay. Let's do it.
Now comes the real challenge; to take what they've learned beyond the walls of CCI's training center.
Would Lacey, Joy and the others get along in the real world with their dogs?
Okay. We're going to move on.
Field trips like this one give the students and dogs a taste of everyday life after they leave the program.
Maneuvering the aisles around other customers.
These two creatures, trying to act as one.
Ladies and gentlemen, the graduating class of 1999.
Finally, they've all made it to graduation.
Puppy raisers are briefly reunited with their dogs, only to hand them over to their new owners.
Students seem overcome with a sense of accomplishment and a touch of fear.
Ahead of them lies the unsupervised world: No more trainers, no more safety net.
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