Meet the Great Dane that is now a part of our family!
The blind and low vision community is typically familiar with the use of Guide Dogs, also known as Seeing Eye Dogs, but did you know there is also another training available to help support those who need help walking? This type of Service Dog is called a Stability Dog.
Stability Dogs are trained to do exactly what their name describes – provide stability while walking with their owner. These dogs are trained to walk with people living with Multiple Sclerosis, low vision or blindness, and other conditions that make it difficult to walk unassisted, such as Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy (ADOA).
ADOA is caused by Atrophy of the Optic Nerve, and in some cases can cause atrophy of the muscles which affects a person’s ability to balance. This can make it difficult for children and teens to walk without falls, as their bodies are growing and trying to establish their equilibrium while they are facing challenges of reduced vision and muscular strength.
Recently, we decided it was time to have a Stability Dog join our family and be trained to support our daughter to provide her with more independence while at school and in her day-to-day life.
We are excited for the world to get to know our sweet boy, Winston!
Winston is an 8-month-old Great Dane, from a bloodline of show dogs. Typically trainers that specialize in training Stability Dogs look for either retired show dogs that need a good home or, like Winston’s case, a dog that wouldn’t be able to be shown for various reasons but they know would be easily trainable to become a Service Dog.
Winston officially became a part of our family in December 2023 and is quickly adjusting to his new home. He loves lying on couches, playing with our Old English Bulldog, Henry, and making us laugh when he accidentally knocks things over with his long tail! We love him dearly already and know he will be a loyal companion for our daughter at home and away from home.
Winston will go through training this year to learn how to be a Stability Dog. You can follow Winston's journey through our newsletter, on Facebook, and Instagram @adoa_association.
Stay tuned for more puppy progress updates!