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Brigadoon Service Dogs connects canines with clients

The first thing Gig Harbor resident Sandra Wade does when she wakes up in the morning is have her service dog, Pharrell, retrieve his collar with a cue she calls "yours." After she puts it on him, he then brings her red medical bag to her and, if she needs a shoehorn, she uses the cue "feet" to have him get it.

Pharrell, an English Labrador trained by Bellingham-based Brigadoon Service Dogs, has been with Wade, 66, for five years. Diagnosed with PTSD, Wade, an Army veteran who served during the latter part of the Vietnam War era, depends on Pharrell to navigate the world.

"He helps me get through my day," Wade said. "If I ever sniffle or use a tissue or if I'm standing too long - not moving along in my day, or my task - he comes straightaway."

As he was trained to do, Pharrell also helps her with mobility issues. Wade fell in her yard a couple of weeks ago, and the first thing he did was retrieve her cell phone. When she used the cue "brace," he helped her stand back up.

"He's made my quality of life much better," Wade said. "It would be an emergency if I lost him; he's everything to me. He's my partner."

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