Emanuel County Schools sees first four-legged, furry graduate

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Trevor Radford and his service dog, Ollie, walked Roundtree Stadium last week together with other Emanuel County Institute graduates. The furry, four-legged graduate was a first for the school and school system this school year as Ollie served as Emanuel County School System’s first approved service dog to walk school halls. Radford, Ollie’s handler, was diagnosed as a diabetic in 2017. About a year after his diagnosis, Trevor’s parents decided a service dog may possibly be in their son’s best interest to help detect any changes in Trevor’s blood sugar that he may be unsure of as a new diabetic patient. The process was a bit lengthy and took approximately 8 – 10 months to find the right company to fit the family’s need. In addition to finding the right fit, there was also a detailed application process involved as well as letters of recommendation, medical necessity recommendations, evaluations, home inspections and more. Once approved by board members of the Retrieving Independence, the company that assisted the Radford’s search for canine services, Trevor and Ollie were matched in January 2020. After that, Trevor and his mom traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to attend a 10-day training camp that consisted of daily classes, testing in various settings where Trevor and Ollie mastered various challenges to assure Ollie’s certification to serve as a service dog. More than one year after their match, Trevor was finally able to bring Ollie home in July 2021 and they began the new school year together the following month in August. Ollie has accompanied Trevor everywhere during the 2021 – 2022 school year, often catching the eyes of many as they walked to the school’s front doors each morning. Together, Trevor and Ollie have walked through many situations and learned together.. From training and meeting requirements necessary for Ollie and Trevor to become a functioning team to working together to successfully complete Trevor’s senior year of high school, this pair is ready for the next assignment. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for these two Bulldog graduates!

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