One day in 2001, in a Madison grocery store, a conversation took place between a WAGS trainer with her service dog in training, and a mother of an adult man with Muscular Dystrophy. The woman told her son, Tom, about the WAGS organization, and he applied for a companion dog.
Tom has accomplished a lot in his life, such as receiving his BBA in Finance. He did not require the services of a full service dog, because his physical needs are too specific. However, Tom felt that the companionship and unconditional love he would receive from and give to a dog would greatly enhance his quality of life.
It was a year later that Skyler, a chocolate Labrador retriever, was placed with Tom as a companion dog. She keeps pace beside his wheelchair around the neighborhood, and they entertain each other at home by playing laser tag in the living room. Tom says:
“Skyler has enhanced my life more than I could imagine. I have a renewed purpose and vigor for life. I tend to Skyler’s physical and emotional needs while she returns the favor by fulfilling my needs. Skyler is my constant companion and I can’t imagine life without her.”
It was not until the WAGS reunion picnic in the fall of 2002 that Tom’s mother and the trainer met again, and they realized that this wonderful relationship between a man and a dog had begun with their chance encounter a year before. Tom is now continuing the training of Skyler and enjoying his ability to take on a new challenge with a best friend.