Wednesday, August 17, 2022

They call it puppy love

March 21, 2011

Whether East Lansing resident Carol McEllhiney-Luster is getting her oil changed, shopping at the grocery store or going to church, she constantly is greeted by people, she said.

But attention is usually diverted to what’s at her feet — a puppy.

McEllhiney-Luster is a puppy raiser for Paws With A Cause, a national organization that raises assistance dogs for people with disabilities. Because of her work, she regularly has dogs with her and is allowed to take them into public places where most dogs can’t travel.

But McEllhiney-Luster’s friends soon see a new face when she travels around town — an eight-week old black labrador puppy named Bess.

Bess will stick with McEllhiney-Luster for about a year when she will learn basic obedience. From there, she will be sent to Paws With A Cause headquarters where she will be trained to complete more specific tasks based on the needs of the client with whom she is placed.

Having a new puppy every year isn’t always fun for McEllhiney-Luster though.

“It’s potty training every year,” she said.

But despite such challenges, the puppy raising process is rewarding. For McEllhiney-Luster, it’s worth the struggle to see someone gain independence.

“But if you have a dog that can move you through a building, can open doors for you so you don’t fall out of your chair, you can live a normal life,” she said.

Photo by Matt Radick | The State News

Whether East Lansing resident Carol McEllhiney-Luster is getting her oil changed, shopping at the grocery store or going to church, she constantly is greeted by people, she said.

But attention is usually diverted to what’s at her feet — a puppy.

McEllhiney-Luster is a puppy raiser for Paws With A Cause, a national organization that raises assistance dogs for people with disabilities. Because of her work, she regularly has dogs with her and is allowed to take them into public places where most dogs can’t travel.

But McEllhiney-Luster’s friends soon see a new face when she travels around town — an eight-week old black labrador puppy named Bess.

Bess will stick with McEllhiney-Luster for about a year when she will learn basic obedience. From there, she will be sent to Paws With A Cause headquarters where she will be trained to complete more specific tasks based on the needs of the client with whom she is placed.

Having a new puppy every year isn’t always fun for McEllhiney-Luster though.

“It’s potty training every year,” she said.

But despite such challenges, the puppy raising process is rewarding. For McEllhiney-Luster, it’s worth the struggle to see someone gain independence.

“But if you have a dog that can move you through a building, can open doors for you so you don’t fall out of your chair, you can live a normal life,” she said.

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