From shelter pup to a potentially lifesaving emotional support service dog, Scout has come a long way in the past six months.
In early 2019, Scout became the first dog trained through the Erie Humane Society’s “Shelter to Service” program. His training was funded by an Erie Insurance grant from agents based in Erie, Pennsylvania. (Read more in this blog story about Scout’s beginning and background.)
Scout’s trainer, Sean Weese, says he knew he was special from day one.
“We knew he’d be the right dog to kick off this program,” Weese said. “He was calm, but not timid, and very social.”
Weese was right. He has worked with Scout, training for several months, to work toward his canine good citizenship test.
“We had to help Scout balance the right level of temperament between friendly and focused. Socialization is always the first step,” says Weese. “We made sure he had plenty of socialization but also taught him how to behave in elevators, cars and to follow the cues he would need to know as a service dog.”
Before a year old, Scout was already settling into his new home with his new owner, veteran Barry Walk from Erie County.
Because of his time in combat, Walk now copes with PTSD and has high anxiety in social environments. Scout’s specialized training helps him be a grounding presence in these situations. He will be trained to respond to the early cues of a potential panic attack, and he has already become a comforting presence to Barry when they are in large crowds and stressful situations.
In August 2019, Scout was officially presented to Barry at the Erie Humane Society’s Rock & Rescue Charity Concert in Erie, Pennsylvania.
You can watch the emotional “passing of the leash” and hear more from Scout’s trainer on his experience working with Scout, along with ERIE agents who are honored to be a part of this program.
Passing of the Leash
From shelter pup to a potentially lifesaving emotional support service dog, Scout has come a long way in the past six months. Scout is now settling into his new home with Erie County veteran, Barry Walk. Scout is the first dog to be certified through the Shelter to Service program at the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Supporting Scout’s journey is just one way the Erie Insurance Giving Network demonstrates commitment to the communities where we work and live, and in areas that matter to our employees and agents.
Find out more about ERIE’s longstanding commitment to our community by visiting our Giving Network page or following #ERIEforgood on social media.