Carlene White of the Service Dog Project
Posted by Greg on 06/02/2014
Carlene White is an amazing lady. She has been breeding, raising, and training Great Danes to donate to service veterans and the mobility impaired for many years and her compassion, love, care and intelligence truly shows through in her work. She’s worked with just about every breed of dog because she used to provide dogs for commercials, movies, and television.
She was given a Great Dane a number of years ago by a friend and when he jumped the fence and bred 3 females in one afternoon; she was left with 23 lovely Great Dane puppies. Because she had a father who had Parkinson’s disease, and a friend with Multiple Sclerosis she decided to train these puppies to help serve the mobility impaired, which has brought her to where she is today. In this time she has bred, trained, and donated 67 Great Danes to people coming back from the war, and those with mobility impairments.
The reasons she chooses Great Danes for service is because they are at a great height. You really want a dog that your hand can brush his back. “If you put a handle on a short dog, you lose the stability that you would have with a Great Dane.” With the Great Dane, Carlene can fit virtually any person so that their hands are right at their shoulders, almost completely eliminating the purpose for a handle. Not just the height, but their independent, yet thoughtful personality. Great Danes have a great initiative to stay calm, and let their master guide them, and in return they learn the mannerisms of their owner and can be almost a part of them. This is a quality that most other dogs don’t possess and is very important when it comes to a service dog that provides stability and companionship.
We asked Carlene to tell us a story about one of her donations, the story goes as follows:
“The one that I get the biggest kick out of is; there’s a 57lb little girl, she’s 13 years old. And when she first came up the driveway, she was hanging onto her father’s arm; she could not walk by herself. If she didn’t have a hold of her father, she was in a wheelchair. All she wanted to do was go to the mall by herself, without Dad along… And I said, so why don’t we try it, with one of our demo-dogs? So I took her, and her father, down to the mall with the dog, with a harness on, and told the little girl to hold on to the harness, and walk. She walk about a quarter of a mile, and that was the first she’d walked in 3 years. So we decided to get a dog ready for her, and we did, the dog’s name is Teal. So the girl went to school with the dog, and began walking everywhere with Teal, when some bullies started picking on her and the dog. They would pull his tail, just to see the dog run. So a couple trainers and I decided to pay a visit to the principal. So we made an appointment, and we were all there, on time at 9:00am sitting there in a row, when the principal came out and said, “I don’t have time for you”. And so we came back home, and we got online with all these hundreds of thousands of people that are watching our dogs grow, and I asked if they would go out and buy 2 pink envelopes, and send one to the super intendant of the school, and one to the principal of the school, and mail them off on a Monday, and someone from the post office got ahold of me, and said they have gotten over 10,000 letters. So we go back to the school and see the principal, and she’s just as nice as she can be!” As Carlene White says, “There’s power in the little things” She couldn’t more right.
Carlene swears by Kuranda beds, not only because they’re durable and can withstand the weight of all her Great Danes, and their puppies, but because they’re clean and they last forever. She has Kuranda beds in every room and even outside for the dogs to play on and rest. The puppies love them too.
For more info, visit the Service Dog Project website.