PAALS and RCSD K-9 Unit show off skills at the South Carolina State Museum

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The “Dog Days of Summer” are here in Columbia, and today, the South Carolina South State Museum opened its doors for some very special guests.

PAALS, the Palmetto Animal Assistive Life Services, and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit were at the museum to educate people in the area about service dogs and their unique, important jobs.

Tails were wagging and wet noses were bumping in the halls of the South Carolina State Museum as people in the community got up-close and personal with some of the Midlands’ very own service dogs.

Palmetto Animal Assistive Life Services trains service dogs, and is the only Assistance Dog International accredited organization in the state with a whole staff working to train individual’s future best friends.

“It just became a big passion of mine when I realized that dogs can really help people who need it,” PAALS Canine Trainer, Allie Rich said.

PAALs specializes in assistance dogs, but also change of career dogs, who work specifically with veterans.

“We train for mobility, PTSD and kids and adults with autism,” Rich said.

The dogs start being trained as early as 8 weeks old, and are trained for about two years.

Mobilty Assistance Dogs can help a person who uses a wheelchair, cane or walker, and the PTSD assistance dogs can provide stress reducing pressure on trained body points.

“As they learn the client, and they learn the child, they respond to it before it even happens,” PAALs Executive Director, Elizabeth Anderson said during a presentation.

One of PAALS’ demonstration dogs, Nicky, retrieved pills for his owner while in the museum, and other PAALS dogs are trained to do the same incase their owners may not be able to grip them themselves.

The South Carolina State Museum hosted these special guests in honor of Super Dog Saturday, which has been highlighting the film SuperPower Dogs.

“The Superpower dogs that are featured in the film are climbing mountains and saving lives, but in their own small, amazing ways these dogs are doing their part to make the community safer, and also make us feel safer,” Meeghan Kane from the South Carolina State Museum said.

Rudy from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department was also at the museum to visit with guests.

He is RCSD Deputy Sarah Merriman’s partner, and he showed off his own special skills.

He specializes in locating narcotics and detecting explosive devices, but also loves to be around people.

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