UI student's service dog wins national award

UI student's service dog wins national award

FOOSLAND — A local service dog is among five heroic canines who are the national winners of the 2018 annual American Kennel Club Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence.

Sampson, a 3-year-old golden retriever certified by Paws Giving Independence and owned by Joey Ramp of Foosland, won the Best Service Dog award. The team was profiled in Wednesday's News-Gazette.

After a life-altering accident in 2006, Ramp was left recovering from a brain injury, mobility complications and nerve damage. She was also struggling with the onset of complex-post traumatic stress disorder.

As Ramp's service dog, Sampson assists with mobility, bracing, climbing stairs and retrieving items. He alerts her to an elevation of PTSD symptoms, like panic and anxiety. At the University of Illinois, the pair is working to launch a two-year research study to measure the impact a service dog has in a laboratory environment, in hopes that it will help develop a national model for service-dog accommodations.

Ramp has also developed a template for the American Chemical Society outlining service-dog accommodations in chemistry laboratories, and has designed chemical-resistant outerwear for service dogs.

When she and Samson are not in a laboratory, they volunteer at community organizations to promote service-dog awareness. As peer mentors, they visit mental-health, domestic-violence and veteran organizations to spread awareness.

The other winners AKC winners are:

— Uniformed Service K-9: Copper, a black and tan coonhound handled by Officer Christopher Hattaway of Cocoa, Fla.

— Therapy Dog: Kol, a golden retriever owned by Jane Eisenberg of Boynton Beach, Fla.

— Search and Rescue Dog: Inspector Gadget, a bloodhound owned and handled by Robert Wells of Lancaster, Calif.

— Exemplary Companion Dog: Teddy, a standard poodle owned by Terri and Spencer Pardee of Harbor Springs, Mich.

For more information, visit https://www.akchumanefund.org/ace-awards/.

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