Teen receives assistance dog

JOHNSTOWN – Canine Companions for Independence, a national nonprofit organization that provides assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities, announced that Johnstown resident Madison Swart has recently received a Canine Companions assistance dog.

Sixteen-year-old Swart was matched with Sardee, a two-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever cross who has been trained to respond to more than 50 commands, a news release said. Sardee can turn light switches on and off, open and close doors and retrieve dropped objects. The dog also will provide constant companionship for Swart, the release said.

Swart and Sardee returned to Johnstown after completing Canine Companion’s recent Team Training Class, a two-week course held at Canine Companion’s Northeast Regional Center in Medford, Suffolk County, one of five such centers nationwide, the release said. The Northeast Regional Center serves a 13-state area, from Maine to Virginia.

Each student who attends Team Training, held at each center four times a year, is paired with a fully-trained, working assistance dog, like Sardee, and is taught to work with his or her canine companion. The training course consists of daily lectures, exams, practice and public outings, the release said.

Swart and Sardee are settling into a routine back home, the release said.

“Sardee is a very special dog and I hope to have many wonderful years with him,” Swart said in the release.

For more information about Canine Companions for Independence, call the Northeast Regional Center at 1-800-572-BARK, or visit the website, www.cci.org.