AJN On the Cover
On our July cover, the appropriately named service dog—July—lies in the sun waiting for the next command from his partner, Terry Travers, who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS). July was trained by Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), an organization that provides free assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities.
The cover photo was taken in February at CCI's graduation ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in Hauppauge, New York, by CCI volunteer Jen Pottheiser, also a commercial, portrait, and editorial photographer. The graduation comes at the end of an intensive two-week training course during which the new owner learns proper care and handling of the dog. According to Caryl Swain, who raises and trains puppies for CCI and helped to train July, "During the ceremony, I hand July's leash over to Terry—and he officially receives his service dog."
After nearly two years of training, July can help pull Terry's manual wheelchair, push elevator buttons, open and close doors, turn light switches on and off, and pick up and carry belongings, as well as provide the social support so often attributed to pet owners' improved health and well-being.
"July is a great buddy to Terry," said Terry's wife, Jill, who lives with Terry and their son, Jon, in Webster, New York. "He really is a one-of-a-kind dog. Mornings used to be pretty tough here. Now it's a whole new, happy experience with July."
For more on MS, see "Living Well with Multiple Sclerosis," which explores new treatment options for MS and the role nurses play in educating and supporting patients with the disease. For more information on CCI, go to www.cci.org.—Alison Bulman, senior editorial coordinator