All Can Do Canines enjoy their work as assistance dogs, but some seem to really … really love their jobs.
Take Caremyl, an Australian Shepherd partnered with Rebecca Thomas from Ramsey, Minn., in 2005. As a Hearing Assist Dog, Caremyl lives to help Rebecca, who has bilateral hearing loss. Rebecca can only hear low sounds, so her furry assistant helps her catch those high pitched noises such as doorbells or telephones.
This assistance is most helpful when Rebecca is at work, teaching American Sign Language at Blaine High School. This is where our story begins. Here in Rebecca’s own words is the story of Caremyl and her dedication to helping.
A Letter from Rebecca Thomas
I work in the portable classrooms outside of the school building. Every day, without fail, Caremyl somehow knows it’s getting near the end of the schoolday. She comes out of her crate and pretends she “owns” the entire classroom by watching for “intruders” at the classroom door. When someone she knows walks by, she’ll eagerly wag her tail and they must pet her before they can walk by my classroom door. If it’s someone she’s never met before, she’ll bark at them, then win them over by batting her eyes and wagging her tail at them. She’ll even accompany me to other classrooms because she likes to be with me so much.“Caremyl is one of a kind. I train my students to stomp on the floor to alert me of any announcements which can occur at any time of the day. This helps them to become accustomed to deaf culture, in addition to helping me to know what’s happening around me. Whenever there is an announcement, the students will stomp in unison and Caremyl will come out of her crate and look at them. It’s as if she’s looking to me and saying, “Mom, they made a loud noise!” We all laugh whenever this occurs.
Caremyl is keeping me on my toes and truly enjoys the work she does. Due to the cold weather and difficult driving conditions this past winter, Caremyl had not been able to join me at work as often. She loves to work and doesn’t like this one bit. She lets me know this by blockading the door to the garage in the morning. I have to coax her away from the door and she eventually slithers up the stairs and lays at the top, pouting because she wants to come with me and do her job. I often wonder if I own a dog or a work-a-holic!
Improving My Life
Caremyl makes my life easier because I don’t have to worry about the sounds I’m missing. I know I can rely on her to wake me in the morning because of the sounds she hears. Although my alarm clock has both a sound and a flashing light to wake me up, the light bulb burned out this past winter and I would have overslept if it wasn’t for Caremyl. She jumped into action as she normally does and I was dumbfounded as to why she was waking me up before the alarm. It wasn’t until I checked the time and realized by feeling the clock that it was making noise, but no flashing light. I praised her for her hard work and smothered her with lots of hugs and kisses.
In addition, she loves getting my attention when someone calls my name. The kids at school will sometimes say, ‘go get Maxey (they still use my maiden name)’ and Caremyl will leap into action and then bring me to whoever called for me. They love doing this and seeing her abilities.
Her health is great. I honestly thought I would have to retire her this year due to her age, but she’s not slowing down yet, which has really surprised me. As others mention, it’s possible she knows she’s needed and doesn’t want to give up her job. Caremyl is a blessing and I couldn’t be happier with what Can Do Canines has done for me. She’s a miracle.”