The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

October 14, 2008

Dog retires after years of service to New Waverly man

On Oct. 5, a retirement party was held at the New Waverly Public Library. More than 60 people attended to celebrate the life and work of the honoree.

After eight years, most of his life, in service, he was finally getting to relax and eat human food.

That’s right; the retirement party was for a dog.

But anyone in attendance would say that Drummer, the guest of honor, is far more than just a dog.

Trained as a service dog by Pennsylvania-based non-profit organization Canine Partners for Life (CPL), Drummer was brought to Texas in 2000 to aid in the daily life of New Waverly resident Jimmy Hardy, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Hardy’s disease is what doctors consider “a mild case” of cerebral palsy, but the condition still greatly inhibits his ability to walk on his own. After years of using canes and walkers, Hardy’s mother, Sue, finally began to research alternate ways of aiding her son’s mobility.

After researching service dogs, Hardy found CPL, but discovered a problem while attempting to apply.

“Their policy is they don’t deal with anyone not within a 250-mile radius from their location,” said Jimmy Hardy. “Of course, we were far outside that radius, but something told my mother to call them anyway.”

Hardy did call anyway, and CPL told her they would do what they could to help, and gave her the go ahead to apply for a service dog for her son.

In the summer of 2000, Jimmy and Sue Hardy traveled to Pennsylvania to be interviewed by CPL, making stops at several historical sites along the way.

While at the CPL facility, the Hardys were shown several service dogs. One of them was Drummer.

“I instantly liked Drummer,” Jimmy Hardy said. “He seemed to be gentle and kind, but the selection of the dog was still up to them. We were told it might take up to two years to match me with a dog.”

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