A Dog Called Fish

March 19, 2020

Fisher, or Fish as we call him, is my stunningly handsome, happy go lucky, highly attentive, and wicked smart, 9 month old German Shepherd. Don’t tell him yet, but he’s meant for big and amazing things. One day, if he plays his cards right, he will be a working service dog. For now though, he is growing up and learning to be a REALLY good boy.

He was born Denali, on June 10, 2019, to the Austerlitz German Shepherds “K” litter. Susanne Shelton and Rebecca Pinkston raise amazing puppies using Puppy Culture and their own style found over a decades long breeding program. I had the pleasure of meeting Denali multiple times before he came home and it didn’t take long for us to choose one another. We had a 12 hour road trip home to Illinois where he officially became my Fisher, Fish, Fisherman, Jellyfish, Fisher Face. Technically he is Kojak Von Der Burg Austerlitz, call name Fisher.

So who am I? Why blog? What are you doing here?

My name is Katie, I live in Illinois, and somehow I jumped from a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology (Go Illini!) to a lifelong quest to learn everything and anything dog. I have invisible disabilities including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), migraines and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Yes, apparently I like to collect P, T, S acronyms. Primarily, I use my service dog to mitigate PTSD symptoms, that was all my first service was trained for, but Fisher is intended to help with all three issues if possible. Should Fish succeed in his training he will be my second owner trained service dog.

Honestly the idea to blog now came about because of the pandemic scenario that is COVID-19. Social distancing is tough. In general, that has been a big part of my life as I’ve dealt with PTSD for the past 12+ years but to have it be a requirement again (albeit for different reasons) has me itching for a little social connection. I’ve watched artists, professionals and teachers reaching out over the internet to share their gifts and knowledge with others. It left me thinking about what I might have to offer all of you.

So here’s what I have for you in this little corner of the internet:

  • Fisher: He’s awesome. He’s cute. He’s far more exciting than I am.
  • Dog Training: Fisher is a dog just like any other, he has to learn the basics before he can progress to advanced training. Many things I teach him can be used for your pet dogs too.
  • Service Dog Education: Ever wonder how a service dog is trained? What’s an owner trained service dog versus a program dog? What tasks can service dogs do? What are the laws? Who qualifies for one? etc
  • Disability Awareness: What are these medical conditions? How can a service dog help? What challenges can these conditions present to owner training a service dog? What’s it like to live with an invisible disability? What’s it like to be a service dog handler? How do you treat a service dog handler in public?

So, what do you think? Want to follow along as Fish tries to become a service dog? If you do, hit subscribe and you’ll never miss a thing. You can also find us on Facebook.



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