2008 FSSA’s Service Dog Winner

FSSA's 2008 Service Dog Award Winner
Landye’s Little King CGC, TDI aka “Ryan”

DOB 12/23/95
Owners: Mike and Joanne Roehrs
Nominated by Owners

Ryan came to us at three years of age in 1998. Prior to that time he was in a home where he was severely neglected. When we brought him home, his muscles were atrophied, he was malnourished, his joints arthritic, and he had many diseases, including heart worm. He had been exposed to very little socialization and had to be coaxed to leave his kennel.

As part of his socialization and reconditioning, Ryan was enrolled in a CGC class which lead to a Therapy Dog class. With a true Field Spaniel temperament, Ryan blossomed when exposed to kind people and animals. He loved people and was a very gentle dog. He went on therapy visits with my wife Joanne as part of a local organization called “Canine Mash.” While not as flashy and lacking in tricks that many of the other dogs displayed, he stole people’s hearts and comforted the elderly and ill with his gentle, affectionate manner.

As a family therapist, Ryan would also accompany Mike to his office where he was instrumental in helping small, frightened children to feel safe enough to talk and grumpy, angry, adults comfortable enough to cry. All the while, Ryan limped around the office, happy to share the warmth of his body and heart.

As Ryan aged, he has suffered various illnesses and increasing debilitation from arthritis. Over the past couple of years, he was limited to coming to the office once per month for one special visit with an ailing, elderly man, who was terminal in his condition. No matter how irritable or grumpy this man was, he would always light up and smile at the sight of Ryan plodding into the room on his arthritic legs. This summer, this patient died, so Ryan is now officially retired from his therapy work at age 13. He still plods and stumbles around the house, tail wagging, asking only for a pat on the head and an occasional cookie.