June 20, 2012 Slideshows » News & Opinion

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The Story of Mac & Jill 

Zachary Vito
Mac, at the age of 2, is still a puppy, according to Jean Williams, vice president of Arizona Greyhound Rescue. Williams said Mac’s racing career at Tucson Greyhound Park ended early because he had trouble with turns. But his young age works in his favor as a psychiatric service dog, Williams said. "The younger the dog, the better, because they will be with their owner for a longer period of time."
Zachary Vito
Jill Macdonald steps onto an escalator with Mac at the Tucson Mall during a training session. After a few rides on the escalator, Mac became comfortable stepping on and off.
Zachary Vito
Macdonald walks Mac and her Chihuahua, Haley, together for the first time. Alicia Miller of Operation Wolfhound worked with Mac to make sure that he was able to stay under control around Haley. Fortunately, Mac was receptive to Haley, and the two dogs have continued to bond.
Zachary Vito
Macdonald and her Chihuahua, Haley, check out the dog bed that Macdonald purchased for Mac. Obstacles, such as obtaining consent from her landlord to have the dog, and uncertainty about bringing Mac to Macdonald’s workplace, delayed Mac’s move-in date.
Zachary Vito
On May 29—about a month after training began—Mac finally went home with Macdonald. From left: Macdonald, Robert Miller and Alicia Miller look on as Mac investigates his new home. Mac’s ability to sense Macdonald’s rising stress levels should help eliminate her need to sleep with a gun under her pillow.
Zachary Vito
Macdonald points at Mac as she guards one of her cats during Mac’s first visit to his new home. Mac was curious about the cats, and Macdonald had to make sure that Mac knew they were part of the family.
Zachary Vito
Mac licks the inside of a pill bottle at Macdonald’s home. Macdonald will soon be having wrist surgery, and she can train Mac to pick up objects while her wrist is healing.
Zachary Vito
Greyhounds are known as sight hounds, meaning that their strongest sense is vision, not smell. Greyhounds have a 280-degree field of vision and can see small movements.
Zachary Vito
Macdonald, Haley and Mac pose at their home. "I believe it was fate," Macdonald said about getting Mac. "His name is Mac, and my last name is Macdonald; it’s just too weird." Macdonald and Mac still have several months to go before the Operation Wolfhound service-dog training is complete.
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Zachary Vito
Jill Macdonald steps onto an escalator with Mac at the Tucson Mall during a training session. After a few rides on the escalator, Mac became comfortable stepping on and off.
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