Lending a Helping Paw
University of Missouri Extension program connects farmers with disabilities to service animals.
KINGSTON, MO: He’s a different kind of dog for a different sort of farmer.
Bruce Trammell hopes that dog soon will help him get up to speed on his farm.
Thanks to PHARM Dog, the brainchild of University of Missouri Extension AgrAbility specialist Jackie Allenbrand, Trammell now has Odie, a yellow Labrador retriever whose job is to help the farmer regain his independence despite his disability.
“It’s like a dream come true. It’s gonna change my whole life,” Trammell said. “What he’s gonna be able to do for me is just incredible because not only is he gonna be my friend and my buddy and go everywhere with me, but he’s also gonna be my right hand and stabilize me so I can do the things I need to do.”
PHARM (Pets Helping Agriculture in Rural Missouri) Dog brought the pair together. The program is part of MU Extension’s AgrAbility Project, which works with injured and disabled farm workers who want to remain in agriculture. PHARM Dog trains dogs for farm-specific tasks such as retrieving tools, opening gates, herding livestock or providing balance for farmers.