Most people don’t realize the hard work and dedication that goes into training a service animal. Years of training and practice prepare them for the most important job they’ll ever have—taking care of their human. For one woman in Connecticut, getting her own service dog has been a long-awaited dream, years in the making. Finally, at 21 years old, she is meeting her new lifelong companion and the moment is too cute to handle.
21-year-old Hailey Giguere has been waiting to get her own service dog since she was a junior in high school.
Hailey has fought a lifetime of serious illness. When she was just a year old, she was diagnosed with brain cancer and at age seven, Hailey required invasive brain surgery that left her partially paralyzed.
Ever since the operation, she has had difficulty walking and keeping her balance.
On Wednesday, Hailey was finally able to take home her new service dog, a Golden Retriever named Honor.
It's getting a little dusty in here.
The beginning of a profoundly important relationship as Haley meets "Honor"…her service dog from @ECADServiceDogs
Here's the story that's worth a watch from @TheSuzieHunter pic.twitter.com/wxK0zvev4Z
— Scott McDonnell (@ScottMcDonnell_) May 9, 2019
Honor just graduated from a training program at ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities) where he has been training since he was just a puppy. According to the program’s co-founder Lu Picard, each dog receives 1,500 hours of intensive training.
“The dogs can do anything you can think of who has limitations with their arms or their legs,” Picard told WTNH.
In addition, Honor and Hailey have been training together for the past 13 days and the match couldn’t be more perfect.
“This means so much to me that it’s finally happening,” Hailey said.
The 21-year-old is hopeful that having Honor will give her the ability to feel more independent.
“Honor is going to grant me so much independence,” she said. “As of right now, before him, if I’m going out, I need to have either my mother or another person with me because I need to hold on to something while I’m walking and, at my age, it’s kind of a little embarrassing to hold your mother’s hand wherever you go, so now I can hold my dog!”
Honor is equipped with a variety of basic skills that Hailey needs assistance with, including helping with laundry and turning on lights.
Hailey is also excited to have a loving companion by her side.
“I’ve never had a dog,” said Giguere,” So I’m really looking forward to having a constant companion with me.”