By Adria Nassim
June is a very special month for Thomas. On June 16, he turns three years old. Because Thomas is my service dog, a lot of people see me out and about with him throughout the day.
Since this is a bit of a celebratory month for him, I thought I would give him the opportunity to tell you a bit more about himself in this interview.
Read this blog post from January 2022 to find out about how we met.
What kind of dog are you?
I am a yellow Labrador Retriever. I am a pretty easy-going guy. I am happy doing whatever the day brings, and I don’t mind curling up on my bed for a nice nap every now and then either.
But when it’s time to go to work, I love getting all dressed up in my vest and harness and looking so official! I just love to work! Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in doing what Adria asks me to do or waiting for my next cue that I forget to smile for a bit. But I am social, too. I like people. I like to watch them when we’re out and hear them comment about me, and I love when Adria allows people to pet me every so often.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised as a puppy through the Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN) based in Zionsville, Indiana. ICAN relies on a large network of volunteers as well as a partnership with three Indianapolis-area correctional facilities where inmates help train service dogs for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities around the state.
Check out this post from August 2019 to learn more about service dogs.
What tasks are you trained to do to help Adria?
I help Adria by providing balance and stability on stairs and when walking. I also help by picking up objects and retrieving items, helping to safely cross streets, and assisting with social interactions.
Do you have a favorite place to go with Adria?
You know, I can’t say that I do. She’s done a pretty good job showing me around town these last seven months though. Pretty much anywhere she trots off to, I’m happy to tag along!
What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy long walks with the occasional sniff break, sunbathing sessions on the deck, bird and squirrel watching, chewing my Nylabone, chasing my ball, and sometimes a play date or trip out to dinner with my other ICAN dog pals in the area. (But we don’t get dinner, maybe a piece of kibble or two for good behavior, but otherwise, it’s table-side group meditation.)
Do you have a skill you really like to do?
Picking up my leash on cue and giving it to Adria is one of my favorites. I also enjoy—though this one is not as frequent—pressing automatic door buttons. I get so excited! So sometimes she lets me press the button, just because.
Do you have a favorite treat?
I love Greek yogurt, carrots, and blueberries. When it’s hot outside, I also like ice cubes so much that sometimes when she opens the freezer, I come running.
What is your relationship like with Lucy (Adria’s previous service dog)?
I like Lu quite a lot. She is very gentle and wise and always keeps an eye on things—even me—when I’m with Adria.
Do you have any birthday plans?
A long walk, a sniff around the block, and maybe a nice nap. The rest is up to Adria. I’m just excited to spend my third year with her.