Jake is a very good boy who was training to be a rescue dog. He went through several different programs, but it seemed like nothing was going to work out. He first went through a search and rescue training program, but by the time he was 15-months-old he was clearly not a good fit. His paws weren't tough enough to handle the grueling work so he was reassigned.
He was then in training to become a service dog for veterans but even though he was a smart boy and very clever, his former training had instilled one interesting quirk in him. One of the volunteers said that “there would be something that would get his attention... Out of the clear blue sky he would alert to that and take off with you,”
His third chance was when he was brought in to be a medical alert dog, and he was supposed to bark if the breathing machine turned off. The problem was that Jake slept too heavily and wouldn't realize if the machine was off.
They had to find Jake a new home because he wasn't going to qualify for any of the programs they had intended him to. Rhoni Standefer had been with him through the entire training adventure, but she was never planning on him living with her forever. He was supposed to move in with a new family and help people, but her grandson pleaded with her to keep him.
She finally agreed, but 4 years later they finally found a job that works for the eager pup...
After failing three different programs, Jake has finally found a job that works for him! Turns out he didn't want to be a doctor, he wanted to be a lawyer! Jake now goes to work every day with his owner who works at the Anderson County District Attorney General's Office.
Now, Jake acts as a support dog for the victims who are giving their statements. Standefer says that “[he] can pick up on emotions. He just loves people, and he wants them to feel good. If he sees someone being upset or irritated, he migrates to them."
They first realized his ability to pick up on emotions when he was comforting a victim who was crying. “If they are OK, he knows that and he comes and sits by me,” Standefer says. When Jake senses someone’s upset, “he goes and sits by them. He nudges them; he loves on them. He’ll put his head in their lap. It’s amazing how he seems to know when he’s needed and when he’s not."
“I can’t explain it; it’s like magic. They’ll say, ‘I love dogs.’ They will start petting him and talking about their dogs. They are able to open up and talk about other things then,” Standefer says. “This is not something I taught him. This is something he does.”
Jake has found his calling and will be able to help a lot of people out doing what he does best: Being a big sweetheart!