Service dog extends helping "paw" to Catoosa teen - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Service dog extends helping "paw" to Catoosa teen

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CATOOSA COUNTY, GA. (WRCB) -- Jordyn Miller and her service dog, Eddie, go over commands in the halls of Heritage Middle School in Catoosa County.

The two-year-old golden retriever is Jordyn's new sidekick as part of the Hamilton County Goodwill Service Dog Project.

A childhood disease limits Jordyn to a scooter, but Eddie is helping her regain much of her independence.

Trainer Ramona Nichols says, "It's daily training sessions, learning over 90 different commands, and learning to help someone with a physical disability."

Eddie is the first service dog in Catoosa County and Jordyn says adapting took some getting used to.

At times Eddie is too helpful.

"Whenever I'm at home, I put fuzzy socks on," she says. "Now every time he sees them he wants to go get them."

Eddie does everything Jordyn can't do, like pick up books, bags, and even keys.

Eddie's also helped strengthen the relationship between Jordyn and best friend, Cheyanne Kunkle.

That is something not taught in class.

"He is kind of like glue. He sticks us together," says Kunkle.

It's a rigorous program for a young pup to say the least, which costs more than $20,000 per dog.

The training is paid for by private funds, and the director says there aren't enough "Eddie's" in the world.

"Seven million people are looking for service dogs," Nichols says. "The demand far outweighs the supply."

The two were matched based on personality and need, which is how many service dogs are selected for owners.

Now Jordyn and Eddie have a long friendship ahead.

"As long as I need him, he is here," Jordyn says.

The program has a very long waiting list. So far, 700 people locally are hoping for a service dog soon.

Currently two dogs are in training and the closest program is in Atlanta.

Click here for more information on the Service Dog program.

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