DAKOTA

"I'd like you to meet the best dog in the world. His name is Dakota. Dakota came into my life when I was ten and he was two. He's a state licensed companion dog, entitled to go everywhere I go. He was trained through an organization called Canine Support Teams." Dakota is a yellow labrador retriever. He celebrated his ninth birthday in 2004. He is at Kassie's side 24 hours a day. Dakota is a walker dog and provides Kassie with "a shoulder to lean on' when she is walking. Dakota is featured in the special needs video "Given A Chance...a little girl's journey". This four legged friend helped a child with cerebral palsy by providing balance, support -- and most important -- love.

Dakota began his training when he was just a puppy.

He lived with his puppy raisers, Jim & Lori Wat, and underwent obedience training until he was 18 months. He then began his formal education of learning how to provide for Kassie's needs. When Dakota was two years of age he became Kassie's service dog, and the two have been together ever since.

Kassie and Dakota go everywhere together. As a state licensed service dog, Dakota is entitled to go into restaurants, movie theaters, even on airplanes....anywhere Kassie goes. Everybody wants to pet Dakota, but that's not a good idea. Distracting the dog often causes Kassie to stumble and fall. It is Kassie's hope that when people see the educational video "Given A Chance...a little girl's journey" they will understand what an important and necessary role Dakota plays in her life, and realize that it's better to admire her dog from a distance rather than approach him and make him lose his focus.