BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Tallulah is now a working service dog!
The golden doodle puppy raised in the WBRC Newsroom is now on the job with a family in Gardendale.
Tallulah has been through almost two years of training through Service Dogs of Alabama. Five months of that time was spent being socialized with various members of the FOX6 Family. The more rigid training was handled behind bars in a Tallahassee, Florida prison where inmates are trained to train service dogs. All of this is under the watchful eye of experts at Service Dogs of Alabama.
Two weeks ago, those experts deemed Tallulah ready to go to work. She is now with 16-year-old Khari McCrary, who suffers severe epileptic seizures. Khari has multiple seizures a day and often falls because of them. Tallulah is trained as a seizure alert and fall alert dog. If Khari falls, Tallulah immediately begins barking. That’s how she alerts Khari’s mother or other caregivers that something is wrong.
Monequeca Barfield says it gives her peace of mind knowing Tallulah is by her daughter’s side. “It’s like having another set of eyes. If Khari gets up we know we have Tallulah around and she’ll let me know if something’s not right," Barfield said.
Tallulah is also trained to brace herself and allow Khari to lean on her when she needs to stand up. That’s crucial for Khari as she moves in and out of a wheelchair. Tallulah is also trained to bring items to Khari she needs, such as her shoes.
Khari’s mom and little sister, Aniya, are all learning how to use the proper commands and blend Tallulah into their family. It’s clear they are well on their way.
Khari says Tallulah is fun to play with and it’s like getting a new friend, but Tallulah is much more than a friend. She is a working, talented service dog.
Ashley Taylor is the trainer with Service Dogs of Alabama who has followed Tallulah every step of the way, and is working with the family as they become accustomed to Tallulah. “We are proud of Tallulah. She has graduated with flying colors. It’s really sweet to see her live out her purpose,” said Taylor.
At WBRC FOX6 News, we couldn’t be happier for Khari, her family and Tallulah. It’s been an honor to be part of her journey from puppy to hero.
If you’d like to know more about Service Dogs of Alabama, follow this link.