KAZ: STORY OF A SERVICE DOG By Rita Lillico Published North American Working Bouvier Association Vol. V Winter 1991 "This is a tribute to a truly marvelous dog. Kaz is now 10 1/2 years old, and he spent his entire life as my constant helper and companion. This doesn't sound like much until you know a bit of "our past history". Life, when it decides to be rough, can do a good job. I've been an epileptic since birth; it went undiscovered for twenty years. This would have been all right except for the fact that the seizures were Grand Mal on a grand scale. In short, they left damage that cannot be repaired and pain that never leaves. I quickly discovered that people have a very short help span if the going gets rough; they are all right if you allow them to do things their way and don't give orders or make suggestion. But life didn't just deal me these hardships. Our oldest son, Christopher was epileptic, is hyperactive, had chronic bronchitis and was learning disable. Our second son, Robert was deaf, is hyperactive, chronic croup and was also learning disabled. To put it short, I went for cure and control and most people couldn't handle the rules and restrictions; help vanished or became a battleground. With the advent of Kaz, everyone told me I was nuts; I already had a mutt, and life was more than I could handle. Well, I didn't listen and Kaz joined our house and thank God. Now for the main reason for this article, my thanks to a dog who never stopped giving. As Kaz and I got to know each other, people kept saying, "Oh, you have a vicious dog." Well, one day as I was confined to a chair my two young boys were running wild, as they knew mother could not get to them. I turned to Kaz and was not exactly polite in inquiring why a herding dog did not go and get Chris and Rob. Well my mistake had been that I hadn't asked him to do it sooner, about two minutes later two very started boys were in front of mom and not allowed to move until I said so. I thought this was a fluke and wouldn’t happen again; on that I was wrong again. That first command was all that Kaz been waiting for, now I had a constant back shadow day or night. Sleeping on the floor to grab a bit of sleep between seizures, the croup and the bronchitis now ended. During the night a mouth would close over my hand and pull, there was a medical emergency somewhere in the house. It mattered not who, Kaz heard and was on the alert. Cures began slowly at this point; Kaz and I were still looking at years of constant emergencies. Chris’ specialist asked us how he was so well adjusted and unworried about his condition. The answer again was Kaz, for Kaz knew when Chris was in the beginnings of a seizure and came and got me. The end result was that Chris had confidence in himself and that Kaz or mom would always be there for him. Without stress, the damaged healed and, how or why we know not, but the seizures stopped. With this came the second nightmare; getting him off the medications. The doctors said he did it perfectly. Well maybe for them, but for us there was walking in his sleep and the fear that he would not be able to make it through. A cure would not be the end result. Again Kaz was the help that people could not and would not have the time for. The result of this was a cure and as a result, a boy who spent the first half of his life in and out of hospitals was able to start high school on time. Again Kaz was the companion or sensed the need for companionship and put Trix (Mutt) or Misty (another Bouvier) with him during the hours of homework that brought a learning disable child to a normal level of education. Two years of high school later this is still holding true, and he in on his own with course and getting jobs, something we never expected to see in his lifetime. Robert’s story is as great, for a learning disabled child with deafness’s and no fear of wandering off is any mother’s nightmare. Kaz again was mother’s monitor. He found Robert and showed me without fuss of letting Robert know he was being monitored and checked up on. He was allowed to wander and play like any normal child, for when I needed or wanted him, I turned to Kaz and “Get Robert” was all that was needed. Everyone scoffed at the fact that my helper was a dog, but let me tell you no one person could have kept up with what those kids dished out. All this because of a dog that never stopped working twenty-four hours a day, seven days week. He stopped fights, and let me know who started them. A constant baby sitter, companion, and helpmate. He gets the kids up, out the door and on the bus on time. At the sound of Kaz’ bark someone was getting told off, next you would hear. “All right, all right I…” and whatever it was, was acknowledged and done. Kaz at 10 1/2 years stills looks after the boys, but with them getting older, they can now give commands and have them obeyed, even in this if they do not do it right Kaz bawls them out and does not listen until they do it right. For me Kaz became my constant companion on the end of a short leash attached to his harness, as the stairs and hills are the bane of my life. Despite the fact that my balance is hard to maintain, I now walk with confidence instead of the constant fear of falling and hurting myself. I cannot carry anything for any length of time without dropping it. Again Kaz held the answer as he learned to carry packs on his back. For this meant freedom to do and be what I want and not to have to always have to wait for someone to find time to help. Kaz is always there when I need a pull out of a chair, or off the floor. Doors that were closed for years are now open again. What the Seeing Eye dogs and Braille did for the blind, Kaz and computers have done for me. And I dare anyone to guess that I am disabled if they only see me for the short term. I am back to training dogs again with Kaz’ help. As the years passed I knew Kaz would not be here forever, so the Credit Valley show e went to look at the Bouvier entry. There I saw a glimpse of what I wanted in Deewal Herkimer Van Ursa. From Bonnie Bailey’s Kennel came Sharonden’s Mystical Enchater, and when Misty came home, Kaz took on the job of raising yet anther pup. Within a short period of time an old-timer and a very young lady produced a litter of pups, in which was Kaz’s replacement and heir to a job of such magnitude we can only hope he will succeed. Thus began another training job for Kaz: father and son in harness, we walk the roads as Kaz disciplines his son in behavior expected in the harness and with mother. As I said Kaz is 10 1/2 now and is retired from active duty. The years have shown him to be an active does, teacher and companion beyond belief. What more can a person ask for out of a dog? My thanks Kaz, as I look down at my side at work and my black shag rug is now gray. Yet when I come home by black shag rug awaits mother’s return with all the you of his youth. The puppy we has so much hope for is turning two and is showing all the sings of being his father’s son.