TarkaTarka and Tring are golden retrievers born in the LPAD program.  They are sisters, and this is my first experience at raising two puppies at a time.  Tarka arrived at 7 weeks of age, much to the delight of Joy who now had a young, energetic playmate. 

Tarka returned to CA to begin advanced training at LPAD in September 2002. She decided she just could not be an assistance dog and was released to a young lady named Nicole and is now queen of her house in Long Beach, CA.


Tarka and Joy--that's why we call them pup tents!


Tring's original puppy raiser had to decline, and when I found out she had no foster home to go to, I agreed to take her.   She arrived in mid-July and it was fun to watch the reunion of the sisters.  

Tring also returned to CA to begin advanced training at LPAD in September 2002. It took her a little longer to decide that assistance dog work was not for her but she was ultimately released to Diane and Carol in February 2003. Not only is she queen of their house but she helps Diane with LPAD fund raising and is hoping to do therapy dog work with Carol.

Joy, Tarka, and TringTarka and Tring

Click on images to enlarge


   "I am female yellow lab. I was born on 1 July 2002 in CA in the Loving Paws Assistance Dogs program. My dog mom and dad were Emma and Sutter. Since me and my 7 sisters and 2 brothers were born close to July 4th, they dubbed us "the Patriotic Litter" and my new mom, Carlene, chose the name of Freedom for me. I went back to CA in October 2003 to start advanced training. I did very well and graduated as a service dog on 30 July 2004 to a sweet girl named Brittany. I will help her do many physical things like opening doors, picking up things for her and being her best pal so she does not have to be so shy."


Having Freedom Means Having Freedom
Before I had Freedom I was very shy and unhappy because I have Mitochondrial disease and it is very painful. It leaves me with no energy so I miss a lot of school, and life seemed too hard to do. I didn't like talking in front of people at all.

Since Freedom has been in my life, I have accomplished many things. I have put on many fund raisers spreading awareness about Mitochondrial disease and raising funds for research to find a cure. I have given many interviews for a number of papers and done a handful of live interviews for our news station. I go to science classrooms and talk about the mitochondria cells and how it affects me because mine do not works correctly. I get kids to help with my dinners, golf tournaments and walk a thons. I have raised almost 20,000 dollars in less than a year. and was named the first Youth Ambassador for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

Freedom has given me so much confidence, courage, stability and unconditional love. I meet people and talk to them because they see Freedom first and not my wheelchair.. Freedom helps me if I need help or if I drop something, she stays at the hospital with me and I am in days, weeks and months at a time. She is my best friend and thank the Lord for leading me to Loving Paws in Santa Rosa.

                                               ~~Brittany Wilkinson


"I am female golden retriever born 17 March 2003 in Florida for the New Horizons Service Dogs program. My litter has a patriotic theme too and so my new mom, Carlene, chose the name of Star for me. I flew all the way to Helena, MT from Orlando, FL by myself! It was almost 100 degrees down there and when Pat and Carlene picked me up at the airport it was 30 degrees! AND, when we got up in the middle of the night to go out for a potty stop, there was cold, white stuff all over the ground. And the next morning, Auntie Joy and Freedom showed me how much fun it was to play it it and I tried to eat it all! I am having a great time in Montana, really love Carlene and Pat and Joy and Freedom. I will be here for a long time and then go back to Florida for college when I am older but that is too far away to think about now. I hope it snows again soon!"

Star made it through Advanced Training successfully and is now a service dog for a little austic girl in FL.



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Carlene Farmer

120 Sawmill Road
Clancy, Montana  59634
email:  birddog@turtlebeartradingco.com