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Summit Assistance Dogs, P.O. Box 699, Anacortes, WA 98221 (360) 293-5609 info@summitdogs.org



















































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Chris and Kirby

In Memory of Chris

We are sad to write that our friend, Chris passed away on June 29, 2009 as a result of her disease.  Kirby, her service dog, was an immense help to her over the past three years.  We will remember her fondly and are proud of the service Kirby provided her.

Chris was a retired school teacher. She taught in the public education system for 31 years. In 1985, she was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease, Scleroderma. The disease resulted in joint problems and affected Chris’ hands. As a result, Chris found it difficult to walk and had trouble picking things up that may have fallen to the floor.

Chris had considered getting a dog to be a companion but her sister suggested she find a dog that could be both a companion and provide assistance. One of Chris’ friends in a Scleroderma support group recommended she contact Summit Assistance Dogs. Within a few months, Chris and a friend were packing their bags and visiting Summit in Anacortes on a mini vacation to learn more about the organization and to meet some of the dogs.

Kirby and her sister had both been donated to Summit. Although their mother is a yellow Labrador, Kirby, her sister and their 5 siblings all have black fur. It didn’t take long to identify their father as the black dog lying nonchalantly on the neighbor’s lawn! Chris felt an immediate bond with Kirby and could barely contain her excitement waiting until Summit contacted her to confirm that she’d been matched with Kirby.

It was a bonus that Kirby could retrieve objects that Chris may have dropped on the floor or open doors for her but the benefits went beyond this. Chris had renewed confidence having Kirby by her side and perhaps most importantly, Kirby kept Chris happy. She jokes that Kirby was not named principally after a mountain like the other Summit dogs but after the brand of vacuum cleaner.  Even though she was trained to pick things up, Kirby, who’s very food motivated, often picked an object up before Chris had time to ask her to do it. Kirby knew that, in dog rules, every good deed deserves a cookie.