The Forever Love of a Dog
One of the great things about owning a dog is their unconditional love. Dogs are loyal, they don’t judge and are always quick to forgive their owners when they lash out. While owning a dog can be a lot of work, and yes, they can be mischievous, what they offer in return is worth it.
The Perfect Companion
For one dog owner, their dog Saki was the perfect companion. However, there was one problem…she kept escaping her yard. You won’t believe the reason why…
A Hard Knock Life
Saki started her life on the streets of Sacramento, California. Living as a stray, she was found by a woman and brought to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. It was there, they discovered that Saki could be the perfect candidate to be a service dog due to her fantastic temperament and cleverness.
Not wanting to delay her training, Saki went to live with a service dog trainer named Dennie. Despite having high hopes, Saki wasn’t too into the whole service dog life.
What could be holding her back from embracing training?
The Blonde Boy
The trainer Dennie couldn’t understand why Saki was resisting training. She was very bright and had an amazing nose for scents. All of her traits made her perfect for the job. However, there was one problem…a young boy with blond ringlets who had become a bit of a distraction.
The young boy was six-year-old, Danny Mangold who lived across the street. In his short life, Danny had faced many obstacles due to his delayed development. The doctors couldn’t figure out why he had learning disabilities, but one thing was for sure. He had become enamored with Saki.
A Heartbreaking Beginning
The story behind Danny’s struggles is one of heartbreak and an unfortunate set of circumstances. He was born in Florida to a father who was only 17 and illiterate. Realizing he couldn’t care for his son, he allowed friends Dixie and Dan Morgan to adopt him.
In his early years, Danny couldn’t consume solid food and struggled to hold his head up. Learning new skills also came at a slower pace and he struggled with speech and took much longer to crawl and walk then other children his age.
Wishing and Hoping
“It’s frustrating because every parent hopes her child will excel,” Dixie told the media in 1999. “So we coached him, we urged him, we encouraged him. But we knew from the first time we met him that he had problems.”
The Struggle Continues
Although his parents placed Danny in a special education program, he struggled. At the age of five he was still behind his fellow classmates, couldn’t form complete sentences and was not able to use the restroom on his own.
A Strained Marriage
Unfortunately, Danny’s condition put a strain on his mother’s marriage and she eventually separated from her husband, moving the kids to Ojai, California. There, she reconnected with an old flame and married him.
An Unexpected Friend
It was during this time, Danny and his family moved next to the dog trainer, Dennie. No one could have ever expected the part Saki was to play in their lives. A stray dog, with a big heart and lots of love was about to change everything.
Dennie noticed that Saki was escaping the yard every day and going to the neighbor’s house. At first, he wasn’t sure what her fascination was with their house, but he soon discovered that she was always going to see Danny.
Is it possible they had formed a bond?
As time went on, Saki and Danny became very good friends. They would play catch and take naps together every day. Danny’s mom couldn’t believe the transformation she was witnessing in her son. “I was touched by the way Saki and Danny connected. Socially, he doesn’t always interact effectively with his peers. But he did with the dog. Saki understood him. They understood each other.”
Danny’s Speech Improves
As Saki and Danny continued to bond, the positive effect she had on him began to be noticeable. After only a week his speech began to improve, his motor skills advanced and his mother revealed that Danny began to use the toilet on his own. Amazing, right?
An Amazing Transformation
Soon, Danny began to talk in complete sentences, saying things like “This is my puppy” and “I am Saki’s dad.” As time went on, Danny’s mother Dixie knew that Saki was a very special and influential dog.
With a desire to keep Saki and Danny together, Dixie reached out to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation to see if they could keep Saki. Unfortunately, the answer was not one she was expecting. Dogs that fit the criteria the organization needed were hard to find and Saki was displaying all of the attributes they looked for.
Would Danny and Saki be forced to split up?
A Special Relationship
Meanwhile, Saki was very happy with her current living situation. Hoping to prove that Saki was better off with Danny, Dixie invited the foundation’s president, Wilma Melville to come to her home and see their special relationship with her own eyes.
Two Peas in a Pod
It didn’t take long for Wilma to realize that Danny and Saki’s bond was rare and that she was better off where she was. “To let the dog go, it was not easy,” she explained. “But we decided that the dog had a real use here. She and Danny made a very heartwarming attachment.”
One Danny and Saki were together for good, Danny’s development began to advance quickly. He enjoyed the responsibility of taking care of her and made sure to brush her coat, feed her and even slept with the sweet pooch.
According to Danny’s older sister, Saki has given her brother the greatest gift of all. “You know how a butterfly can’t live without his wings? That’s how it is for them.”