Not Your Ordinary Dog*

I’m a dog guy. I mean, I like dogs. Always have, probably always will. I got my first dog when I was two or three years old. If you count the dogs our children have had while they were living at home, I’ve shared my life with seven or eight dogs. We don’t have one now, but we occasionally babysit our daughter’s two dogs, Jameson and Kahlua – that’s Jameson in the picture, wondering why the teddy bear (a toy bear) won’t play with him.

I hadn’t planned to write about dogs this week, but a few days ago I read a moving (creates strong emotions or feelings) story – Wonder Dog – by Melissa Green. It’s about Iyal and Chancer, a little boy and a service dog. And I decided their story needed to be shared.

Service dogs are trained to help people with disabilities (difficult physical or mental condition). In the past, seeing-eye dogs, which help people who can’t see, were the most common. Today a growing number of service dogs are being trained to help people with mental disabilities and severe depression (feel very unhappy and anxious). Some are even trained to help people with seizures (when someone can’t control their body) or similar problems.

Service dogs need to have a good temperament (personality), be healthy, obedient (obey commands), and trainable (able to learn). Some come from breeders (people who raise dogs), others from shelters (places for animals with no owner). Early seeing-eye dogs were often German Shepherds, but today many different breeds (kinds) or mixtures (combinations of breeds) are used as service dogs. Wonder Dog is the story of one of these dogs.

Donnie and Harvey dreamed about raising a family, but they couldn’t have children. So they did the next best thing: they adopted (became the parents of) a boy and a girl, Iyal, and Morasha, from an orphanage (a home for homeless children) in eastern Europe.

Donnie and Harvey lived their dream until, when he was three, Iyal began to throw tantrums (became angry and unreasonable) and try to do unexplainable things, like jump out of a fast-moving car. For more than a year doctors tried unsuccessfully to determine why he acted like this. A pediatrician (children’s doctor) finally concluded that Iyal’s brain and central nervous system had been seriously damaged before he was born. The cause was alcohol: his mother had been a heavy drinker.

Knowing why Iyal acted the way he did didn’t solve the problem, though. Few medications or therapies (treatments) can treat this disability. Donnie and Harvey wanted to help Iyal, but it was difficult. Even though they loved their son, they were often angry and frustrated by his strange behavior (actions).

Chancer, a service dog from 4 Paws for Ability, helped helped make Iyal’s and his parents’ lives much brighter (happier). Two weeks after Chancer arrived, Iyal surprised his parents by using new words and expressing new ideas. When Chancer is nearby, Iyal relaxes and acts differently than he did before.

As Greene wrote, “Chancer hasn’t cured (made the illness go away) Iyal.” He is thirteen but acts like someone much younger. He still can’t control his feelings and actions. But Chancer doesn’t care. He doesn’t know that Iyal is mentally impaired (damaged). He knows something more important: “that Iyal is his boy.” He “loves Iyal in a perfect way, with an unconditional (without limits) love….” And you can see it when they’re together, running, laughing, and sharing happiness – “just a boy and his dog.”

You can find the entire story about Ilya and Chancer here: Wonder Dog – A Golden Retriever Reaches a Raging Boy. It will be difficult for some, but it’s a wonderful story!

* “Not your ordinary…” – When we use this phrase, we are suggesting that there is something special about whatever follows. So “Not your ordinary dog” suggests that this post is going to be about a special dog, and it is.

~ Warren Ediger – English tutor and coach and creator of Successful English where you can find Lessons for better English.

Photo by W. Ediger.

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23 Responses to Not Your Ordinary Dog*

  1. emiliano says:

    I am a dog guy also but ever without a dog.

    First I lived with my parents and they did not want a dog at home.
    After I lived with my wife and she did not like dogs or cats. She always said that
    she wanted children instead of animals.

    I could perfectly understand my parents and Cuca as living in a city like Madrid
    it is difficult to have a dog inside a flat and even not having enough time to
    look after the dog or the cat by myself.

    So as I did not wanted ever giving the task to other like Cuca or my parents
    I did not have any dogs or cats at home.
    The conclusion was that never I could have a dog or a cat inside home
    sharing the animals with my children.
    Till the last moment Cuca said she dislike cats, she thought cats were a
    selfish creatures that did not care about anybody less them.

    We have a cat now “Gatufo” that was rescued by my daughter Fátima when
    he was abandoned close to die.
    She phoned me and asked if we were in good disposition to have the poor
    cat. She knew I was going to say yes but I requested her to ask for her
    mother opinion about the subject.

    Cuca said it was my responsability and will as she was not prepared or had the
    option of looking after the cat.
    After two years it would be absolutely incredible nice to see the cat and
    Cuca together.
    Gatufo always sleeps close to Cuca, touching her in fact, on the couch or
    the bed the cat is always at her side. It is so incredible just the sight of
    the cat like in fetal position touching her along hours who is also sleepy, both
    without moving absolutely sleepy.
    If I have to teach the cat or say something to him Cuca is his defender, and
    said “pobrecito es tan bueno”………poor cat is so good.

    Seeing this, and knowing what Cuca say now….”if I ever knew that cats are so
    tender and nice I would never said no to the fact of having a cat or a dog at home”, it
    is for sure that dogs or cats have been a good nice company to the daughters.

    Well, this is the story but it has not been too late to have Gatufo with us.
    Who knows, may be in futre we could have a dog despite they need another
    kind of care that is difficult to me now having so much to do at home.
    Yes, I have two “mininos” to look after and a dog could be to much as he needs
    to go out the house at least three times by day.

    To me it has been always quite disapointing to live in a city like Madrid instead
    of the countryside and having them the posibility of sharing my time with some
    dogs and cats, or horses if it would be possible having enough money.

    A pleasure to read this story that confirms my idea about what a dog could be
    in the life of a person, even more if this person has some kind of health problem.

    Thank you very much Warren, I think that your feelings about living in the
    countryside or having dogs, cats and horses as good friends are alike mine.

    My best, emiliano

  2. Betty says:

    Dear Warren

    Thank you very much indeed for the lovely story above.

    I am very busy at the moment – need to move flat before the end of this month – and so do not have time to write more properly. I love the story above so much that I really must write to thank you first even when I do not have time.

    Thanks again.

    Best Regards to you and your family.

    Betty 🙂
    P.S. Jameson is so cute in the picture! You are a very good photographer.

  3. Peter says:

    I don’t know,
    No offense ,but
    I can’t wrap my head around the idea of treatment by Dogs.
    Too far-reach,don’t you think?
    I mean they are animal ,for crying out matter how well-trained they are still they don’t have the capability to distinguish between good and bad.still there is an air of uncertainty about them. One day they are docile , and the other day ,who knows , they may get all vigilant and savage. how they will behave tomorow.
    Please,don’t come out and say they are like human have social manners,and decorum.
    You own a dog,you run pretty much the risk of getting mauled by the dog any Minute. Please ,accept that . Don’t tell me it is 100 percent safe to have some dog around.
    If it is safe ,why do you have them on-leash while walking them outside.
    Some people talk about them like they are human being ,so walk them off-lish.
    Don’t tell me the old story of how they are fatefull ,i mean come on a realist ,would you
    The kicker is , they stink up your place
    There is no way you can get ride of the smell.
    I have been around dogs a lot. You can’t stand the smell when they are wet,It is humanly impossible
    Almost all my friends have dogs. I never touch them.
    I don’t hate them ,but tell me why i would share my precuous time wig an animal whereas i can spend it with a fellow human. Don’t tell me dog walking is more of a productive time that walking with an actual human being.
    Sorry , that I came down a bit harsh on the post ,but it gets under my skin when people tell story about dogs as they are some heros or roll-models of some kind.

    Sorry,but I m entitle to my opinion.
    Please,don’t get me even to start on the money one spend on one’s dog yearly,it is insane.

    I don’t hate dogs,I just think more rationally ,rather than follow my heart.

    I mean,come on !!!!

    Peace out

  4. Myo ko ko says:

    Very lovely story, Warren
    I really love your posts in a perfect way! 😛

  5. emiliano says:

    Hi Betty,
    nothing to do with the subject but I would like to tell you something:

    In the Spanish tv., there is a program titled “Españoles por el Mundo” (Spaniards by the World) and another one in the Madrid´s tv. titled “Madrileños por el Mundo”
    (Madrileans by the World). Both of them are quite similar and treats about the people from Spain or from Madrid that are living out round the world.
    In the program you could see the people but what is better the city, the nation, or the different way of living these spaniards have outside Spain.

    Last tuesday Cuca and me were wathing to “Spaniards in Hong Kong” and we were absolutely interested with the program having in mind our
    dear friend Betty.
    One hour more or less watching Hong Kong, all the islands of the city and the life of these Spaniards in relation with the life in Hong Kong.

    It was incredible beautiful and interesting all the skyline of the city at night, the buildings, the old city….and the Bigest Buda of the World. Some of the
    spaniards….football players in the local football club of Hong Kong…..with their wifes and children went up to to Big Buda, so incredible beauty and the
    long, long stairs up up till the hill.

    It seems the football players of the Hong Kong´s team are formed recently, they have won the league and there are a lot of Spaniards sportsmen that
    play in the team.
    We could see also a “Casino” where another Slpaniard was working like the manager…..well, that is incredible.
    Other Spaniard with a high life level, he works as a broker, was married with a nice beautiful Hong Kong girl who speaks spanish very well, but she
    speaks a better English.
    The spaniard was absolutely happy with her, the same as the girl with him despite she was younger and incredible beatiful and nice, much more than
    him of course.
    Big eyes astonished watching the city and the people, that´s real.

    Cuca and me enjoyed very much the program thinking we have a friend living in the big city.

    Greetings and congratulations. emililano

  6. Peter says:

    Man,literally eslpod is a free land that values freedom of speech.
    You know what, my previous comment on poor dogs is quite harsh and somehow unfair,yet I get to go up there.
    I applaud you man for all the open-mindness.
    You are indeed a critical thinker.
    Fellow eslpod mate,I recently realized that matetials come to me. I mean ,sometimes it happens that my friemds ask me to write an introduction for an essay they have due ,or some complete essay about some subject in the field they are majoring at.
    I just put the pencil on the paper ,and 5 years constant blog writing ,reading Lucy’s canon ,and listinent to audio Lessing by Jeff do the rest.
    Literally ,with no grain of exaggeration I start writing about some topic that I don’t know the first thing about them. Literally , roughly 15 minutes later the introduction is there with some bkended funny remark.
    Back in 2004 before I got lucky and find Eslpod, truly it took me 2 or 3 hours to come up with one small paragraph.
    Trust me,the innovative eslpod dud it for me.
    Guys, I am studying at some school in an English-speaking city. And, all the wriiting home works and assignment that once were looming now ,are some
    Welcoming Break from my hectic days.
    Words and lines come to me out of no where.
    You are genius man.
    Indeed,you have a beautiful mind.
    Yesterday my friend called me an asked me to write some introduction for contact lens complications.
    I said give me an hour, words stated dancing in front of me ,and bingo ,15 minutes later the introduction was there taunting me to start the boddy.
    However, On Monday I must help her for the rest.
    Please ,don’t get me wrong ,I m not bracing here. I m
    Just a living testament for what Amazing Jeff and Lucy claimed once-that is, eslpod makes it possible for you to write , speak,and understand English like A native speaker.

    Jeff and Lucy, respectfully yours

    A huge groupi ,

    The bonehead :))(Peter)

  7. Betty says:

    Emiliano’s story about Cuca and Gatufo is so vivid. I have read it a few times and still have not become bored of it. Thanks, Emiliano, for the good story.

    Well, my story about the dogs and cats in my life when I was little was very different from Emiliano’s.

    ***** Warning: Disturbing stories below*****

    When I was little, we needed dogs to guard us against burglars and cats to hold the mice at bay.

    When I was about 7 years old, I lost a very beautiful dog. It died soon after it was attacked by the neighbour’s dog. We had to get a new puppy. The neighbour’s dog wanted to strike again but I managed to save it’s life this time. I quickly picked up one of my neighbour’s hammers from the floor and get ready to hit the neighbour’s dog. My neighbour asked me not to hit his dog. I said I must do it unless he stops his dog attacking my dog. So he stopped his dog and I went home with my dog.

    When we were little, dogs in Hong Kong were allowed to go out for a walk themselves. They went out and they would come back without any problem. One day, our dog did not come back and we received a letter from some government department asking us to bring money to bail out our dog if we still wanted it. The dog would be destroyed after a certain period if no one came for it.

    The dog once saved my parents’ lives by barking so fiercely when a few burglars broke into my parents’ apartment that the burglars had to leave empty handed. My father had to do anything to get the dog back. So he paid the money and the dog reunited with us. We always kept our dogs on lead from that time onward.

    It is very sad to lose a dog which has been your most loyal friend. There are many stories about dog owners lost their live trying to save their dogs’ lives.

    How about cats? The cats we had when I was little were very clever. They caught mice and ate them if they were small. If the mice were too big, the cats would not tackle them, it would be our dogs’ job. Yes, our dogs were good at catching mice, especially the huge ones.


    It is OK, Emiliano, I told my husband that I wished to have dogs but he subtly rejected it.

    I can only relate his phobia with dogs to the one incident in which a visitor to his house was badly beaten by his family’s dog when he was little.

    Unlike Cuca, he did not say he prefer children to dogs or cats.

    I want to have one or two dogs later in life if fate allows me. Will I?

  8. Betty says:

    Sorry, Error in my post above??

    “………. a visitor to his house was badly beaten by his family’s dog …………….”

    should read as:

    “………. a visitor to his house was badly bitten by his family’s dog …………….”

  9. Jesús says:


    I always enjoy reading your stories, it´s an excellent example of how an animal, like a dog or a cat is able to make a person overcome his or her disabilities or bad feelings. I really think that dogs are much better pets than cats, but the Emiliano´s storie about Gatufo is quite nice. Thank you for the story…by the way, my favorite dog´s breed is the Golden Retriever!!
    Emiliano / Betty, I really enjoy your comments, both of you are excellent writers and it´s amazing to be able to share among us the stories, taking into consideration that all of us are very far away from each other, Emiliano in Spain, Betty in Korea (I´m not sure) and me in Colombia. Regards!!

  10. Betty says:

    Yes, Emiliano, you are right about the good life in Hong Kong for some lucky people.

    Sometimes, when I was shopping, I see some TV crew making films about foreign people living in Hong Kong. I was hoping that they might accidently capture my image in their film as well.

    Did you see a small grey hair woman carrying some vegetable or fish in the street of Hong Kong? It could be me.

    I know, good talented people are very welcomed in Hong Kong, regardless of their race and colour. That’s why Hong Kong is so full. People everywhere! Cars everywhere! All public transportations so full! Property price so high! Still, people do not mind and you can detect the happiness from their smiling faces.

    I have been to the Hong Kong Football Club before so I know how nice it is inside. No, I am not one of the rich people who belong to the club but I have friend’s friend who is a member and we had a big gathering there at one time.

    I have also been to see the big Buddha. It is not easy to go all the way up there.

    About 65 years ago, my father, a good honest young man, was invited to come to Hong Kong to work in his friend’s business. He has been living in Hong Kong ever since then.

    He witnessed the development of Hong Kong from a poor fishing port into a rich city today. He always tells us not to leave Hong Kong because it is a very good place.

    Thank you so much for mentioning the good TV program, Emiliano.

    TV is a good thing in the sitting room, after all.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  11. Peter says:

    Finally ,Toronto feels like Toronto with this unduly ,harsh ,non-human friendly winter arrival today.
    Winter ,made an enterence today. It is throwing snow around:)))(warren did u get it like rich people who throw money around)
    The old ,sinister winter finally hit Toronto and hit it hard.
    Last night all we had was this gorgeous weather that would pump up love and life inside us. Guess what,The temperature dropped over the night. The temperature zoom pased freazing point and setteled down around -11. Now it is revolving around -11.
    The sad thing is ,it is – 11 ,but it never feels like -11 ,it feel like -25 for the infamous Torpnto constant wind.
    Damn late winter , it wecked all our springy dream.
    Warren ,today is a fun day to have a dog or two.
    Tough luck ,walking them out side for all the doody affairs:)))))Guys ,given dogs are high-maintenance pets ,they need to be taken out for a brisk walk 3, 4 times per day ,at least!!
    The first dog-walking shift starts around 5 am. Go Figure!!!
    Oh,don’t even think for a sec that you can get out of that brisk morning walk with your dog. Ignore them and you get what is coming to you,they would bark the place up (good on,just made it , bark the place up (funny))))

    See ya

  12. Peter says:

    Betty and Emiliono
    I can tell that you guys have established a good rapport here on this blog.
    You two always run theses small talks between the two of you ,back and forth at every post entery.
    I applaud that.
    You never met ,yet you manage to build-up a lasting friendship.
    Who knows perhaps ,time comes that we all have a physical reunion rather than cyber one.

    How about that?
    We can make a day of it!!


  13. Peter says:

    I m planing on traveling to HonkKonck. Mt friend went thre last year and came back with all these exciting about the authencity of cities and friendly smiles.
    If I happened to be over there ,I would invite you for a chat over a cup of coffee.dont worry , I don’t wanna crash on your coach or anything for a day or two:)))
    Just a coffee perhaps at the hotle I would be residing.
    Don’t dare to turn my offer down. Don’t worry the coffee is on me:)))

    I don’t take no for an answer.

  14. Betty says:

    Hi Peter

    I am so happy to hear that you plan to visit Hong Kong.

    Welcome to this crazy city of Hong Kong. I will be happy to have a coffee with you since it is on you. You are so generous. Now I understand why you are so popular.

    The thing is, when you are in Hong Kong, you will not want to stay in the hotel and have a coffee with an old woman. You want to go out and see all the crazy things and places during your visit here. You will never have enough time to see what you want to see in this beautiful city.

    However, if you have spare time when you are here, I will be most delighted to have a chat over a coffee with you. But please remember that I cannot speak English that well. I may have to type on the keyboard to make you understand me. Funny, but true.

    Look forward to seeing you in Hong Kong.

    Best Wishes

    Betty 🙂

  15. Betty says:

    Hi Jesús

    Thank you for your good words. I have always enjoyed reading your comments as well. They always have good meanings, and always encouraging.

    Thanks to you, I have looked up the Wikipedia to find out more about your country, Colombia. It is such an amazing country.

    I have enjoyed the reading immensely.

    In fact, I have always enjoyed putting down my thoughts on papers. I am glad to hear that you enjoy my comments.

    Truth to be told, I wish my English was much better when I was younger. I could not make my lecturers understand my essays last time and I could not achieve good marks for them.

    If I can turn the clock back, I would like to rewrite my essays to see if I can get better marks.

    Thanks again for your encouragement.

    Best Wishes

    Betty 😉

  16. Jesús says:

    It´s really nice to know that you spent some time reading about my country, I would also like to know more about yours, so today I´ll read about Korea…and I will let you know my questions?.
    Regarding my country, the most valuable thing that you´ll find if you come to visit us, is our people, here you feel like you´re at home, also you can find interesting touristic attractions all over the country, beautiful beaches, great food, etc…SO do not hesitate to make a trip to Colombia if you have the means!!!!


  17. Jesús says:


    As promised, I read about your country too, and I found it quite interesting.
    My first question for you is where are you from? South Korea? Or North Korea? I learnt that these two are different states that have their own territories and laws…I learnt that in the past in the University, but I have forgotten it completely.

    Then, I was surprised by the variety of food that you have, Kimchi, Bulgogi, bibimbap…and many more. All of them names that are difficult to pronounce for me. Pls tell us what your favorite is. Regarding education, I found that currently South Korea ranks as third best in the world in science education. Another interesting thing that I found out was the national sport of Korea, it`s not Football or basketball or anything like that, it is Taekwondo!

    All of this, tell us how different each part of the world is, but also that we all in some manner look for the same goals, prosperity and a good future for the generations to come.


  18. Tania says:

    Hi! I have just read the article “Wonder Dog”. Difficult to translate and the title. I wonder, wonderful…
    I think it’s about a miraculous dog, not my ordinary dog. I have seen only “salvamont” dogs (save people in the mountains) – big Saint Bernards -or seeing – eye dogs.
    Never a service dog. I think we don’t have a service dog agency. I now understand that it is very useful.
    It is miraculous for people with disabilities. All mothers , alcohol consumers, should know that children can be born with some exposure to fetal alcohol, with disability or mental illness.
    I understand the boy’s love for his wonder dog.
    I think everyone of us feel relaxed when we are with a peer who doesn’t criticize us, never feels disappointed in us or embarrassed by us.

    And the agency name is funny but cute: 4 Paws… Nice and endless topic. Thank you.

    Best wishes,


  19. Tania says:

    Hi! I like all movies on dogs like “Beethoven”, or policeman dogs, or those with dogs from the North Pole.

    I have not known that “to babysit” is and verb. I know only the noun “babysitter”.

    Jameson is a wonderful dog and of course, and the Red Square photo. Thank you.

  20. Revilla says:

    We had dogs when I was child, thirty some years ago. We raised them outside of house on the purpose of keeping our house from buglers’ invasion. One of female dog we had get pregnant and she delivered cute puppies ( I can’t remember whether they all survived at that time) and we looked after them day after day more carefully than ever. Three of those are given away to my neighborhood or relatives and two puppies live at our house. I fed and walk them after school almost every day. However, one summer day, those two puppies died from eat poison that village office workers have spread in the concealed. We all sad on their death and buried them near home. After that event, the mother didn’t eat anything but sleep inside a kennel or wander around where her babies buried. The mother, in the end, was dead from same cause that her baby dogs had. I still remember her sad face after losing her children and how I felt of maternity love.

  21. Betty says:

    Hi Revilla

    Thank you so much for your story about the dogs when you were little.

    I am very sorry to learn about the sad story about your dog and puppies.

    If you have time to read my story above about dogs and cats in my life when I was little, you will find that I love dogs very much but I was prepared to kill my neighbour’s dog because he murdered my first dog and was going to strike again on my second dog.

    People who never have dogs in their life would not understand the feelings of dog owners.

    Please tell us more stories when you have time.

    Best Regards


  22. Sanaz says:

    Thanks Warren,

    Nice post, good photo as always. I really enjoyed the article. I’ve never had a dog myself, but I see that they are so faithful and clever. The fear of losing these loyal creatures doesn’t let me keep one, since their lives are definitly shorter than ours.

  23. When my wife went out to get the newspaper this morning, a neighbor from down the street – an older disabled man – was walking his dog as he does every morning. My wife said “good morning” and asked “how’s your little friend?” He smiled, then said, “It’s his birthday. He’s 11 today.” A man and his dog – two friends, always.

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