QUINCY, Mass. – At Boston 25 News, we’re looking for ways to highlight the people in our community who are positive about our Positively Massachusetts segment.
A young man’s life on the south coast is changing as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. This is thanks in part to the service dog industry, which is seeing an increase in distress as more people leave.
Jake Louzan and his service dog Cosmos quickly become best friends. Jake is 21 years old and lives in Quincy.
He was born with cerebral palsy and uses both a walker and a power wheelchair.
“It’s just another step towards independence. It will just be one more piece that I can have my own life in, ”he said.
Louzan and Cosmos recently completed a two-week intensive training program with the Connecticut nonprofit ECAD, which stands for Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities. Cosmos had 1,500 hours of training before being compared to Louzan.
“I want to say it’s like having a driver’s license. Remember, when you got your driver’s license, you felt free, like I could go places, I could see things. Same goes for Jake now. He also has a buddy to communicate with and the dog does anything for him, ”said Lu Picard, Co-Founder and Program Director of ECAD.
After slowing down during the pandemic, several New England-based service dog trainers, including Princeton-based NEADS, are seeing an increase in requests for service dogs.
“We saw some slowdown in the first few months of the pandemic, but interest now appears to be at pre-pandemic levels,” said Mary Zanor, NEADS spokeswoman.
The cosmos will allow Louzan more freedom and mobility, which gives his father Pete a sense of comfort.
“To me, it’s a huge sigh of relief that Jake is in a place where he has a companion to keep an eye on him and that this friendship, this connection, is massive,” he said.
Cosmos, a yellow lab and nearly two years old, can help Jake around the house, such as opening the fridge or retrieving items Jake might drop, such as food. B. his cell phone.
Training a service dog is not cheap. Louzan and his family raised $ 25,000 for Cosmos. Louzan hopes Cosmos can transform himself from a service dog into a therapy dog so that he can eventually take him to senior centers.
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