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DDCE Staff Profile: Maple, Service Dog and Unofficial Mascot of SSD

Maple in training

image of mapleThe DDCE is proud to announce the arrival of Maple, a two-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever-mix who came to UT Austin from the Indiana Canine Assistance Network! She brings a number of skills to the job including opening automatic door buttons, carrying objects and riding the lift on the bus. When the vest is on, she’s hard at work, going above and beyond to make her new handler and best friend proud.

“Maple’s attentive personality, love of working and comfort with new environments make her a good fit for my service dog and I am excited to have her here with me in Texas,” says Emily Shryock, director of Services for Students with Disabilities.

Like her predecessor, Morey, Maple served a stint behind bars, where she was trained by offenders in a prison. She also worked on her social and practical skills at Indiana University, where she discovered her love for higher education. And though she is exceptionally cute and friendly, she wants her human friends to know that the vest means “hands off.” The most appropriate way to interact with a service dog, Shryock notes, is to not interact with them.  For more helpful tips about service dog etiquette visit this website.

“Maple loves people and is very friendly but when she has her vest on, she needs to be focused on her job,” Shryock adds. “During the first few months a service dog team is matched, it is especially important for Maple to learn good habits, which include focusing on her human and not getting distracted by people and activity going on around her.”

Out of uniform, Maple enjoys chasing tennis balls, cuddling and sniffing new scents. She is looking forward to exploring some of Austin’s parks, trails and outdoor activities!

Two years after Morey’s passing, Maple has some big paw prints to fill. Go to Morey’s blog, Tails from Texas, to learn more about his life, his impeccable work ethic, and his everlasting love for his human companion.