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A whippet who saved his mommy

Hello everypawdy… April is a very special month for a very special dog. Meet George, who is more than just a doggy – He is an angel, a guardian, a psychologist and an inspiration to all of us. Please be aware, as this story may cause some tears… Thank you sweet George and Marta for this wonderful interview and I just like to add that George – as you are named after a race-car driver – did you know that my mommy and daddy actually met at the Formula 1 in Monaco? There must be some magic in these races…



George please tell us, does your name have any special meaning? What’s the inspiration behind it ?

Yes, it does have a special meaning.  My mommy and daddy are big fans of Formula 1, and my mommy is a really big fan of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team. One of their drivers is George Russel, so since I’m a really fast doggy my mommy named me after him.


When you were born? And where?

I was born in Cadiz, Spain on the 18th of August of 2021.


Do you remember the moment when you met mommy/daddy for the very first time? 

Yes! I was the last one of my litter, so it was just me and my biological mother. My real mommy smelled really good, because she brought treats for me and they both seemed really nice. Then when I got to my new home, there was a lot of toys and a really comfy bed waiting for me.


What was your first thought when you noticed that your pawrents do not have paws, do not bark or have furry skin and a tail?

I was very happy with that, because mom is really good at knowing what I really need and always respects my canine side. The first nights at my new home, mommy put a blanket with the smell of my biological mother on my bed and put special YouTube videos with dog heartbeat sounds, so since the beginning I felt very comfortable and loved by my new parents and knew they will always take good care of me.


You have a fur brother/sister? How is your relationship? Do you get along well?  

I have a cat sister named Shakti and a cat brother named Pufic. I do get along ok with Shakti, but Pufic is still adapting to the house and me, so it’s still a little tricky.



We noticed that you work with your human and help her in many ways. Can you tell us a bit about your story?

In order to tell my story I need to tell her story first. My mommy suffers from Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. After trying many different ways to control her anxiety she was getting a bit desperate because nothing seemed to help relieve her anxiety. She was being followed by a psychiatric and a psychologist doctor, she tried more holistic treatments and in stead of getting better, her anxiety and panic attacks were getting worse. My mommy was a Veterinary Nurse for 15 years, so she always feels more relaxed around animals and during her career she had many clients that had Emotional Support dogs or Medical Assistance dogs, so she started to think that a dog with this special training might be a good solution for her. Unfortunately, in Portugal there are no organizations training and delivering Psychiatric Service Dogs, so after a lot of study and researching she decided to adopt me and do my training herself. Until I was 1 year old my training was basically socialization, like being able to do basic commands, know how to walk on a lead, know how to behave in public places and get exposed to as many different places, people and situations as possible.After 1 year my training started to include how to do deep pressure therapy (DPT) on my mommy and after my 18 months of age I started training more complex tasks and actual Medical Alerts. I am still in training.


Do you like training part to help your human? 

I love training! It always means that I’m going to get treats, a lots of kisses and cuddles and that mommy is going to play with me after. It’s so much fun!


Is there’s something you like to say about the mental health issue? And how we dogs can help?

I will kind of answer parts of this question in other answers so I think this would be kind of repeating myself, but please let me know if you would like it for me to answer it anyway.


Do you find the training process to detect triggers of anxiety hard? How was the learning process ?

I think it was harder for my mommy than for me. First she needed to identify what signs or symptoms she shows before getting either an anxiety or panic attack, and that´s not easy because they can be very subtle. Also when you are feeling a lot of anxiety it’s very difficult to focus, so that took a lot of practice and help from professionals in order for her to be able to do this. Once you identify the signs or symptoms those will be the cue that will tricker the medical alert. Then you need to choose which behaviour you want the dog to perform in order to alert the human and you need to teach that behaviour to the dog. After the dog knows how to do the alert behaviour, the human needs to associate the alert behaviour with that specific cue. Per example, one of the signs of anxiety that my mommy shows is shaking her leg when she starts feeling anxious, and she does this without noticing. I learned that when I see her shaking her leg, I will put my front paws on her leg to alert her that she is doing that behaviour, so she can stop. It takes a lot of steps in order to get to the final medical alert, but mommy always makes it fun! I’m now learning other two different medical alerts, but the training steps you need to go through are always the same.


If other people go through the same issue with mental health… where can they look for help in the process of finding a support dog ? Or if they want to train their own dog? Can you tell us more about it? 

Now this will be explained by my mommy. Unfortunately in Portugal there are no organizations training and delivering Psychiatric Service Dogs. There are organisations training other type of service or medical alert dogs but not dogs with the specific training that George is getting. I’m training George on my own, from what I learn reading studies and watching YouTube videos. I’m completely self- taught and only recently I had some people giving me advice in order to move forward with some specifics in George’s training. I’m hoping that by sharing George’s story and mine this will give more awareness of what dogs can do to help people with mental disorders and this way maybe more trainers will want to specialize in this type of training. Addressing this health theme. Do you have any advice for humans? Or some notes you like to add? If you feel like you are suffering from stress, anxiety, burnout or any other mental health issue, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t feel ashamed you are feeling this way. It’s ok not to be ok. You are not alone. A lot of people suffer in silence from these issues. Take care of your mental health and ask for help before it’s too late.


Now… talking about food. Does mommy/daddy cook for you? If yes, is she/he a good cook? 

Yes, mommy “cooks” for me. I eat raw food but it’s mommy that prepares my food and does the menus. It’s always very delicious :p


What do you eat on a regular basis? 

I eat Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF).



What’s  your favourite food/snack “guilty pleasure”?

Funny enough it’s actually something from Cooka’s Cookies! I absolutely love the ‘Beef Bones’ and the ‘Liver Pâté’ 100% natural treats. Mommy always keeps them in a special cookie jar, and I always get one or two after I come from a walk.


Your parents are humans, but if they would be furry too, what kind of breed would they be?

They would also be Whippets like me 🙂


Would they be good doggies? Or naughty?

Mommy would be a really good doggy, always on her best behaviour. Daddy would be a little bit naughty for sure


What is the thing you find most strange about humans? And what thing you like most?

I don’t understand the ritual of putting my toys in the toy box every night. That only means I have to take them out all over again the next day.

What’s not to love 🙂 they give me food, give me cuddles and play with me.


If you could take your pack on a holiday, where would you go? 

Anywhere with a beach so I can run like crazy.


And if you only can pack 3 items in your doggie bag, what would those be?

This is something that I already do. It’s treats, poo bags and moms SOS medication.


Describe mommy in 3 words. And daddy?

Mommy: Loving, protective and intuitive

Daddy: Loving, supportive, and funny



And yourself?

Loving, supportive and curious


Do you get scared of anything?

Fireworks. My mom keep doing desensitizing training and it always seems to go fine, but when it the real thing I always panic. Fireworks should be banned.


Do you ever misbehave?

Not really. Sometimes my recall is not the best because I get distracted with everything around me but most of the times I’m a good boy.


Do you like learning new tricks ? If yes, which trick is your favorite?

Yes! I love to learn new tricks. My favourite is ‘between’, where my mom is standing straight with her legs slightly open and I will go and stay between her legs.



Talking tricks, what trick would you like to teach your parents (if you could)?

To take to the beach every time I ring a bell


What are your dreams for the future?

I dream that one day I could become a certified Psychiatric Service Dog so that I can be protected and have the same rights as an Assistance Dog when it comes to the Portuguese legislation. At the moment, I help my mom and perform theses tasks every day, but at the eyes of the law I’m just a normal pet, so I’m not able to go with her to  public establishments, unless they are pet friendly, or travel with her.


You are our April dog. Do you like this month? If yes, what’s your favourite thing about it? 

I do and I don’t. It’s kind of a love/hate relationship with this month. I love that the weather it’s getting warm and the days are longer, but I hate the fact that usually it rains a lot during this month and I don’t like rain.


If you could be President of the world what 3 things would you change?



Please… tell us something nobody knows about you.

Not really about me, but about sighthounds in general. Even though we can run really fast, we use all of our energy very quickly, so after 30 min of running and playing and very happy to sleep the rest of the day. We are generally very quiet dogs, we do very well in apartments and are truly couch potatoes


And now mommy/daddy (questions):


Is George your first fur baby?

We both had other dogs and cats prior to George.


What is the one thing that makes you laugh the most about George? 

Anything really. Just looking at him puts a smile on my face.


Is George ever been naughty?

Not really. He’s a really dog boy! The only thing he loves to do that it’s a bit naugty, it’s to steal our slippers, but it’s just to play with them never to destroy them.



Are you planning on having more ‘fur kids’?

Not at the moment. We have George and the other 2 cats that are on their senior life stage and required a bit more specialised care at the moment, so we want to have the availability to provide them with all the care they need.


If you could give advise to new dog pawrent, what would you tell them?

Before getting a doggy, either a puppy or an adult dog, please make sure that you will have the time, the dedication and the financial availability to provide them with what they need, not only to keep them healthy and educated them but in case something happens and her/him might need medical treatment. Also, make sure you know what having a dog really means. Are you ready for pee or poo accidents? Are you ready for fur all over your house and clothes and ready to ear a dog barking or howling? Are you ready for a naughty dog that might destroy a few things at home? Are you ready and available to take a dog out 4 times a day, ether it’s raining or not? If you are not ready, than maybe having a dog it’s not for you. And last, as soon as your doggy gets home set the rules of the house from day 1. Please make sure the doggy understands what is expected from her/him in terms of behavior in order to prevent behaviour issues down the line.


What is the most challenging part about being a dog mom/dad?

Is to think that they completely depend on you and sometimes you might do mistakes, in terms of their diet, education, protection, etc, that might have negative consequences. Also, the fact that they don’t have verbal communication makes it sometimes challenging for you to really understand what they want or need.


Did George changed your life? If yes, tell us how? 

Yes, George saved my life! George appeared in my life during a very dark period of my mental health, so the fact that suddenly I had this little cute being that depended on me, that I loved and loved me back was life changing.


What do you consider the biggest reward about being a dog parent?

The way that they love us back and take care of us, even without knowing or realising. And the simplistic way they go through life, with no worries or judgements. They just life the moment and feel life joys in a very effortless way.


How many nick-names does George have?

Georgy, Speed noodle, Banana boy.



Have you ever played any prank to George?

No. I never played a prank on George. That could bring trust issues in the future, so I always try my very best to be clear on what I’m doing, what I want and what he can expect from me so we can have a relationship based on full trust.

Can you share an amazing priceless moment  well spend with George, something that you would never forget?

It’s really the little moments that happen on a daily basis. When he steals my slippers and starts jumping in front of me to engage me into playing, when he senses that I’m not feeling well so he helps go through my anxiety attacks. These are all the little things that I will never forget.

Follow George’s story on Instagram *george_thebluewhippet

You are such inspiration – We woof you and wish you both everything and more… be strong and keep on shining for all of us,


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"a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself"
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