Sam and Ebony
Sam and DWW Ebony are never seen apart. Whether at Sam’s office at Alberta Environment and Parks, working on the acreage or out on a bow-hunting adventure. There is a reason they are this close. Ebony has not only enhanced Sam’s life, she’s saved it.
In 2009, when Ebony first came to live with Sam, he was amazed at the independence he suddenly had and the barriers she helped him overcome. Simple things like going to the bank or out to a movie without help were now possible. They went everywhere together, weddings, vacations, and even dentist appointments. But it is the things Ebony has learned since that have made the most difference.
She is invaluable at the office, retrieving Sam’s multi-purpose dowel when it falls, opening doors, pulling doors shut behind them, and delivering papers to specific individuals and offices on command. At home, she has several times had to go for help when Sam’s wheelchair got stuck somewhere out around the acreage. She even shares in his favorite hobby, collecting shed antlers.
Their crowning moment came three years ago on a day that Sam was not feeling well. He drove himself home from work and pulled into the garage. Although he had never done it before, this time he closed the garage door before turning off his vehicle. And then he dropped his dowel. This was his only tool to turn off the engine, re-open the garage door or use his phone. It had fallen under his wheelchair out of Ebony’s reach. Sam can’t remember how long it took Ebony to scratch, scramble and wedge herself under his chair to reach that tool, but she did, placing it in his lap just before the carbon monoxide overtook him.
Sam was raised around animals. He has had other dogs and trained horses. But he has never had an experience with an animal so intuitive. Ebony is his best friend and emotional support. She picks up items before he even asks and seems to know what he needs.
It was a joyous moment when Ebony passed her first Senior Assessment Test with Maria, confirming that it will be just the two of them together for another year at least before Sam needs to start transitioning in his next assistance dog.
There is no question about keeping Ebony close even after she retires.