Woodrow’s New Paw Patrol


Morgan Robinson and Serenity Williams, Writers

You may have noticed a new addition to the Flying Eagles, roaming the halls of Woodrow Wilson High School — on all fours. It isn’t our new mascot; but she is Ivy, a service dog.

A service dog isn’t a regular pet. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) has very clear guidelines on what is considered a service dog: “a service dog must be trained to take specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability.” This means that a service dog is NOT the same as an emotional support, therapy, comfort, or a companion animal. It is much more than that. When a service dog is training, they are trained for up to 50-60 tasks and commands.

Service dogs can bring a sense of freedom to their partners 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. A service dog provides greater independence, joy, fulfillment, confidence, security, and love for the individual it is with. This year, a Woodrow Wilson High school student, Livie Pritt, brings her service dog, Ivy, to school to help her alert teachers and others of her potential seizures. This alert could save her life.

Ivy is a Red Healer and is three years old. She has been a service dog for two years. Ivy was raised in Virginia. When Livie is about to have a seizure, Ivy will press her with her paws three times before warning an adult to see if Livie responds. If unconscious, then Ivy will automatically put her head under Livie’s to lift it up and free her airway. What’s amazing is Ivy picks up when other people are very sad or emotional and looks for permission from Livie to go to that person. Ivy is a sensitive dog that picks up on a lot of emotions but stays in an average mood herself.

If you ever see someone with a service dog, according to Livie, make sure to ask if it is okay to approach them or pet them. After all, they are officially on duty at all times.