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State-Wide Service Dog Organization Names Pup in Honor of Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, FL (PRWEB) July 17, 2013

A golden retriever being raised by Duval County Judge Emmet Ferguson for new Horizons Service Dogs is named Wolfson, in recognition of Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Ferguson’s 6-year old daughter Emma Ruth has been a patient at Wolfson Children’s many times since her birth. This is the second time that Judge Ferguson has raised a pup for New Horizons Service Dogs, an Orange City-based organization that partners trained dogs with disabled clients throughout Florida.

A litter of New Horizon puppies born in late 2012 is named for Jacksonville area healthcare facilities, explains New Horizons Founder and Executive Director Janet Severt. “We are always looking for innovative themes when naming our litters,” she says. “The day we named this litter, I was having a medical treatment at Mayo Clinic and I was also over at Brooks Rehab where we have dogs. Then I saw Judge Ferguson that day so it just seemed to fit.”

Ferguson previously raised a black Laborador named Lear Jet who died in 2010 after being with him and his wife, Julie for nine years and producing three liters. In December 2012, Severt worked with Julie to surprise Emmet with Wolfson, who will also be a breeder dog.

“They hadn’t named the individual dogs yet, so when I learned they would be named after hospitals, I said I wanted this one to be named Wolfson,” he says. “Emma Ruth has been a patient at Wolfson Children’s Hospital numerous times and we have always been so pleased with the care they provided.”

The other dogs in the litter are named Mayo, Brooks, Shands and Nemours.

The Fergusons’ relationship with New Horizons Service Dogs began about a decade ago when the two were eating in a coffee shop in Neptune Beach and saw a service dog take a receipt from a cashier at a counter and deliver it to a customer.

They learned that the dog was in training to be a service dog with New Horizons and Ferguson talked his wife into letting him become a volunteer trainer. Shortly after, he received Lear Jet and began the two-year process of training her. When it came time for Lear Jet to go into service, Ferguson, along with his wife, had grown quite attached to the dog and suggested that her temperment might be better suited as a breeding dog. “She was a very sweet dog, but a little shy,” he said. Severson and the Board of Directors at New Horizons agreed, so Lear Jet ending up staying with the Fergusons.

Ferguson has become a big advocate of service dogs and says he would like to see them used more in the court system to help calm traumatized victims. “There is just something about dogs that is so soothing, and there are so many places where therapeutic dogs can serve an important role.”

Wolfson Children’s Hospital President Michael D. Aubin agrees. “We have long recognized the importance of dogs as a source of comfort and support for people in many different situations. We have offered a pet therapy program at Wolfson Children’s Hospital for 18 years and we recently began a Healing Paws visitation program that allows our long-term patients to receive a visit from their own dog. We are honored to know that Wolfson Children’s Hospital has a namesake pup that will one day produce litters of service dogs to assist those with mobility-related and other disabilities.”

Since 1995, New Horizons has trained and placed service dogs primarily to assist adults and children in wheelchairs and individuals with other mobility and balance problems. They have specialized programs for veterans with disabilities and children with autism. They also have dogs assisting in rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes and the court system.

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Source: PRWeb
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