On Monday, after the President gives his acceptance speech he will participate in the Inaugural Parade. Joining him will be about 40 service dogs associated with Canine Companions for Independence, including Fenway a black Labrador retriever that has almost completed his training.
“We’re really thrilled to be picked to go to this exciting event,” said Fenway’s handler, Mary Ellen Fydenkevez. It will be a nice memory for the Fydenkevez family to have with Fenway, as their 17-month stint as Fenway’s “volunteer puppy-raising family” is almost complete. In a few weeks Fenway will return to CCI’s headquarters in Long Island, NY to start his career as a service dog.
CCI gives free service dogs to disabled children and adults, but first the dogs first have a lot of training to accomplish before they are ready. At 8 weeks old the puppies go to families whose job it is to socialize the dog. At 18 months old the dogs then return to Long Island where they must complete six months of advance training. This is where they learn to complete tasks that will help them assist the disabled. They learn to open doors, carry bags, and turn on light switches.
Not all the dogs become service dogs, only about 40 percent who go through advanced training will actually become service dogs. The Fydenkevez family has socialized two dogs for the program before; both passed the advanced training and went on to be service dogs.
The Inaugural parade won’t be Fenway’s first experience in the public eye meeting famous people. As his name suggests he’s actually affiliated with the Boston Red Sox baseball team .The team and their CEO Larry Lucchino are the ones who sponsored Fenway when he was born. Fenway has been a regular guest of the Boston Red Sox. He’s participated in public relations events, been in the owner’s box, and has met several of the players.
The Inaugural parade will be the last adventure for Fenway and the Fydenkevez family and saying goodbye to Fenway will be difficult for the family. However, they know the service he will hopefully go on to provide can change someone’s life for the better.