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Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions - Service and Therapy Dogs - Page 1 of 2
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Our friend, Annette, and her Borzoi Service Dog
"Leona" that she adopted from us



Annette comforts "Leona" between her Service Dog appointments


Annette prepares "Leona" for her next Service Dog appearance


My name is "Shefaro Alejandra's Leona." But you can just call me "Leona" – the most beautiful and talented Borzoi in the world! I don’t mind!!!

I came to live with my Mom, Annette, as a companion service dog. For seven years my Mom had a Doberman "seizure alert and assist" service dog named "Sheena." "Sheena" died of mass cell cancer in November 2003. When I heard how sad my new Mom was and that she needed a new service and therapy dog I asked Burt and Tracy if I could meet Annette. When I met my new Mom, we fell in love at first sight. My new Mom agreed to give me a chance, but I had to meet my new trainer for the final stamp of approval. I met my trainer, Janette, CPDT. Janette works with the training of service dogs in our prison system. When Janette met me, she gave Mom the 'thumbs up' and we have been working together ever since.

I will learn to do things that "Sheena" did for Mom. Some of the things I am working on now are:

(1)  To detect a seizure before it happens, so that I can alert my Mom to get in a safe place. "Sheena" consistently detected oncoming seizures for Mom prior to their onset. I have a lot of work ahead of me! I already alert my Mom when the oven timer goes off and didn’t even have a trainer for that one!!! My special Borzoi prey drive gives me a good start on this one.

(2)  I will learn to retrieval items such as keys, etc. This is another area where my prey drive will help me to do service dog tasks.

(3)  I already brace for Mom. Sometimes Mom has a short-circuit that makes her left side motor skills forget how to work. Having a tall service dog, Mom can lean on me if she loses her balance so she doesn’t trip and fall. If she does fall, I can help her get back up.

(4)  The stimulation of a service dog often helps someone get back their bearings and/or focus.  If Mom seems 'out of it' then I will nuzzle her and get her going again!

My Mom says:   "To those of us who are challenged in life with a physical, neurological, or emotional disability, our 'Service Dogs' are angels sent from heaven . . . friends who give us joy, hope, and help us live life to the fullest."

Here are some of my firsts!!!

First Grocery Store Visit:

Leona goes shopping for her own boiled eggs at Von’s grocery store on May 24, 2004

First Day at Work: 

Leona goes with mom to work at a civil engineering firm to help work on a complex litigation matter May 26, 2004 

First Meeting with Client/First Restaurant: 

Leona goes to Marie Calendar’s Restaurant on May 27, 2004 with mom and partner of a downtown LA civil litigation firm. 

First Trip to the Bank: 

Leona first trip to the bank – May 28 th 2004, to Bank of America

First Hotel Stay:

MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on June 3rd through June 6th.

First Wedding and Limousine Ride:

June 5th, 2004 (Warning . . . Borzoi have a tendency towards expensive champagne. Leona was caught licking the bottle!)




Annette and "Leona" ride in a Limo to attend a wedding




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