Once upon a time, Emily Urda was looking for a family dog for her household. With a son with a disability, she knew the dog would have to be pretty special to fit into their family. She went to Stray Rescue of St. Louis to see if she could find one that would be a good addition to the family. While she was there, she spoke with adoption manager Valerie Strobo about service dogs. Urda had considered this option in years prior, but everything had been thousands of dollars, or her son Jackson was too young for the dog.
“Then I met Stolie,” she says. “She seemed like she’d be a great fit for our family, so we decided to go for it.”
Stolie was rescued by Stray Rescue in February and was enrolled in the Missouri Puppies for Parole program. The 2-year-old female terrier mix learned basic obedience at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center and received full training. Stolie knows “sit,” “stay” and “come,” along with being housebroken and walking great on a leash.
Urda has only had Stolie for about a month, but she says the dog’s been an exceptional addition to the family.
“It’s been so nice to see Jackson interact with her,” she says. “With his disability, he’s not really interactive with other kids and would rather be with adults. Now, he and Stolie are friends. It’s so sweet to see them together.”
One of the things they’ve been working on with Stolie’s training is a hide-and-seek-type game where Jackson hides and Stolie has to find him.
“It’s so entertaining because he’s not very good at hiding, but she’s very good at finding him,” Urda says.
Aside from her time with Jackson, Stolie enjoys hunting frogs outside and playing fetch with her ball. After Jackson’s asleep, she’ll curl up on Urda’s lap.
“She’s probably around 70 pounds, but she’ll do whatever she can to get in your lap,” Urda says. “She climbed over the armrest yesterday to get into my lap.”
Urda is still in the process of getting Stolie trained to meet Jackson’s needs, but “she’s as sweet as can be.” She says it took Jackson a few days to warm up to Stolie, but the dog is already very protective of the family.
“Stray Rescue has just been so helpful with this whole process,” Urda says. “They’ve always been there right away to help. They did a great job of finding the perfect dog for our family.”
This story was originally published at laduenews.com. Read it on LN’s website here.