Samson was Jared’s first assist dog and his constant companion for over a decade. Samson, a very handsome golden retriever, was the first dog to retire from service within the organisation. He stayed on with Jared once he had retired and was a companion for labradoodle Bear who became Jared’s new assist dog. Having two dogs in the same house worked well for Jared as Bear learned a lot just by imitating Samson. It also made the transition emotionally easier for Jared having the dogs spend a year together before Samson died two years.
For Jared, who has cerebral palsy as well as epilepsy, having assist dogs has been life-changing. They not only offer companionship but are conduits for social interaction, finding that many people want to stop and talk when he is out and about with Bear. Jared works in an architectural firm in Auckland and Bear accompanies him everywhere he goes.