If you visit the house today, you will see that we have added something (or someone) special: please meet Jeb, a service dog.
Jeb is modeled after a real life dog of the same name, who has been assigned to one of our bloggers since 2000. The real life Jeb comes from an organization called Canine Companions for Independence (www.cci.org).
CCI provides dogs to people with a variety of physical disabilities (service dogs), children or adults with a variety of disabilities who also have a facilitator as part of the team (companion dogs), people with hearing impairments (hearing dogs), and human service professionals who provide services to people with disabilities (facility dogs).
Although many people are familiar with guide dogs for people who are blind, Jeb's mission, and that of other dogs like him, are to help people with disabilities other than blindness. And, there are many organizations that work to provide these specially trained dogs to the people who can benefit from them.
Jeb is wearing a cape, which is a sign of a "working" dog (a term that is used to indicate any type of specially trained canine, from service dogs to rescue dogs). Although the real life Jeb does not typically wear his cape when inside of his residence, for our educational purposes, we are putting him within the context that he and his handler are getting ready to go out the door--in which case, it would be appropriate for Jeb to get "dressed" (with the cape) to go out in public. And, we have put the "eXtension" logo on his cape!
Right now Jeb is walking through the house, sitting and laying down, and not actually obeying commands as we might expect...but the real life Jeb can turn lightswitches on and off, take clothes out of the dryer, carry packages, pay for items at the grocery store, and perform an endless array of needed tasks. He knows about 50 different commands, including the basics (heel, sit, down) and more advanced (back, push, tug, visit).
We think Jeb is a great addition to the house, and hope that you think so too.