Offers Pour In To Help Man Who Lost "Overweight" Service
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 9, 2006
WHITE BEAR LAKE, MINNESOTA--Things seem to be looking up this week for Mark Grewing, thanks to a Pioneer Press reporter and nearly 200 concerned readers.
Last Saturday, the newspaper's "Watchdog" columnist Debra O'Connor wrote that Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota removed Ozzie, Grewing's yellow labrador retriever, from his home last May over concerns that he had allowed the dog to become too overweight for its own health.
Grewing, who has used a wheelchair since his legs were amputated because of severe diabetes, got Ozzie in 2004 to, among other things, retrieve things that had been dropped. One time, when Grewing's blood sugar level soared, Ozzie licked his face to keep him conscious until an ambulance arrived.
But the agency that placed Ozzie with Grewing took the dog after warning that it weighed too much.
The dog was then placed with another client.
Since the story ran, the Pioneer Press received messages of support and offers of help from around the region. Those include offers from other service animal agencies to help match Grewing to a new dog and from trainers who said they could help him train his own service dog.
Whichever option works out for Grewing, he said he certainly would be watching the new dog's weight.
"I learned a hard lesson from this one," he said.
"Disabled man loses beloved service dog over weight dispute" (Pioneer Press)
"Life without Ozzie gets a bit brighter for disabled man" (Pioneer Press)