Doggone Special

Our Star Pup Shares the Spotlight with Service Dog Trainers

Article by Bill Furbee

Photography by Matt Capps of Loveland Premium Portraits

Originally published in Loveland Lifestyle

“Sandy is our family’s first dog,” Katie Tew says of this year’s Cover Dog contest winner. “There’s a kind of grace in the bond between a family and its dog,” she points out. “That special quality animals share with their families—she’s shared that with us.”

Notably, Sandy was a service dog-in-training with 4 Paws for Ability, a program dedicated to enriching the lives of children with disabilities by training and placing quality, task-trained service dogs. Sandy had a habit, however, of simply refusing to give up any toy she’d been given. So, instead of the service dog life, she was made available for adoption by an alternate family ... and Katie’s was the first on that waiting list.

While at 4 Paws for Ability, Sandy went through a special program that allowed inmates to help train and condition her behavior. She was also able to visit schools, grocery stores and restaurants to practice obedience in public. “Sandy was with her trainer, Megan, for about a year before she decided to take a different route,” Katie says.

The dogs who are trained by 4 Paws for Ability have a special role, Katie says—as providers of love for the families they’re with. “It’s a priceless gift for someone with a disability.”

“Sandy’s a peaceful spirit,” Katie relates. “Her eyes are full of this loving spirit she holds within her. She’s just a tender, loving companion.”

Want to learn more about 4 Paws for Ability? Check out And raise a paw to Sandy! 

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