Mack & Grom: Good things can happen with Good Dog!
Good Dog! Pup Feature
Here at Furvor, we understand how important dogs are as members of our families. Our founder was prompted to launch the company, in large part, after experiencing first hand how impactful his family dog was in helping his teenage son manage his anxiety. Understanding how our pets unconditionally give us so much has given Furvor a mission to give back to them through offering products that support their health and development at all stages of life.
Beyond nutrition, Furvor wants to help other people's lives to be changed by these impactful pups. That is why this year, Furvor has decided to donate 1% of our annual sales to two service dog organizations - Good Dog! Service Canines and Next Step Service Dogs. Today, we will highlight Mack and Grom’s experience with Good Dog! Service Canines.
Despite there being a significant need for service dogs for families and individuals with Autism, Apraxia, ADHD, Down Syndrome, and other disorders, service dogs cannot be provided free of charge. Every dog taken in costs anywhere from $25-60,000 to train, as they require significant work, commitment, and responsibility. The money raised by Furvor goes toward Good Dog! Service Canine’s scholarship funds, which will help the children and families trying to raise money for a service dog on this page.
Meet Mack & Grom
In this article, we are excited to show you just how impactful service dogs can be through the experience of Mack, who has been diagnosed with autism, and Grom, his service dog, who was trained and matched through Good Dog! Service Canines’ program.
Mack is a charming 19-year-old living in Southern California with vibrant interests ranging from sports card collecting to Pokémon to history. He loves blasting his favorite music group, Sabaton, while riding in the car, and enjoys meeting new people, attending big events, and especially experiencing theme parks. The catch here is that many of these things that have brought so much joy into his life could not have been experienced without Grom by his side.
Mack’s mom, Jenny, had been looking into getting a service dog since 2010, after Mack’s doctor recommended it to her. After extensive research and fundraising, seven years ago they brought Grom into their family. Grom has changed their lives in ways they never thought possible.
Good Dog! Pairing Process
Good Dog involves families in an extensive process of matching between the dog and the individual they will be supporting as well as the entire family. In this process, Mack’s family answered a lengthy questionnaire explaining their expectations, talking about their energy levels, and their activity levels as a family, and even had friends fill out similar questionnaires in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the family and their needs. The main lead, who takes a big part in the training and responsibility for the service dog (in this case, Jenny) took a test to find where she stood in a personality grid, In the end, they find an incredible match for the dogs and their families. This is the elaborate process that landed Grom with Mack.
All About Grom
Grom is incredible. When I tell you he was the most well-mannered, calm, sweet dog I’ve seen, I mean it. I spoke with Mack and Jenny for over an hour, and Grom sat patiently between them, answering my questions with happy licks and kind eyes as Mack described many of the impressive skills Grom has. He was trained in Vegas, and has customized commands for the family and their lifestyle. They like to camp, hike, and attend big events such as Comic-Con. Grom was specifically trained for these activities prior to joining Mack’s family. He’s trained to be on the job, which he knows as soon as he puts his vest on. When his services aren’t needed, the family simply says “release”, and Grom gets to do what he wants. He’s a very smart pup, and in the day to day helps with walking and navigation, supporting Mack in his challenges with gross motor skills associated with his mild cerebral palsy.
My personal favorite command for Grom is “bubbles.” Something Mack and Grom love to do is blow and pop bubbles together. There are special bubbles that are bacon-based that dogs can safely pop, and when Mack blows bubbles and says “bubbles,” Grom will jump up and pop the bubbles floating through the air. “Bacon bubbles” means fun for Grom and for Mack
Another favorite moment of my time with Mack and Grom was Mack’s story about his high school prom proposal made possible through Grom. As part of the Good Dog community, Mack and Grom are friends with other families that were placed with their dogs through Good Dog. One of those families happened to have a daughter who is about Mack’s age. They developed a friendship, and when it came time for Mack’s high school prom. He had a girl in mind he wanted to take. With Grom as his wingman, he put a sign that said “Prom” around his neck, and asked her to go with him! She said yes and is now his girlfriend. As Jenny says, good things can happen with Good Dog!
Jenny and Mack explained that there are so many things that wouldn’t have been possible without Grom. Mack has been able to fly without any issues, has been able to go to big theme parks like Disney, and have so many other awesome teen experiences because of him. Mack has developed strong self-esteem and pride within himself and Grom. As a parent, Jenny knows Mack is safer because of Grom, not to mention the emotional support Grom provided Mack and the whole family during the Covid lockdown.
The biggest gift Grom has given their family is being able to live life to the fullest. As I interviewed them, they had smiles on their faces as they recounted their favorite moments with Grom. They showed me in their mannerisms alone how much joy, love, friendship, and support Grom has brought into their home and every adventure they’ve embarked on. Mack’s life has been changed for the better by Grom, who has truly been a blessing of an English Cream Labrador.
Help Grom Retire!
Mack’s family knows what Good Dog! can do for a family, and supports the organization wholeheartedly. As Grom approaches eight years old, they recognize that it’s coming time for him to retire, and they have started fundraising in hopes of being able to have another service dog to support Mack in the future. Through Good Dog!, of course. To find out more about their fundraising efforts, click here. Mack is working on collecting Pokémon cards and Disney items to put up for auction through GiveButter (linked above) to help increase their funds. Mack also recycles to raise money for the fund. Any support is greatly appreciated!