Emily Resau, a student at the University of Lynchburg and 2018 graduate of Culpeper County High School, was recently awarded the Girl Scout Gold and Triumph awards.
The Gold Award is a national award, with national standards, representing years of community service, personal achievement and true dedication to the Girl Scout program. At a minimum, the project must encumber 80 hours of the girlâs time and involve a sustainable community issue. The Triumph Award is a special award given by the council for completing all three Girl Scout awards: Bronze, Silver and Gold. It includes the gift of a lifetime membership, honoring the recipient for her years of service. Resau has also received a letter of esteem from Pope Francis for her accomplishments.
Resau, a member of Troop 313, began her journey as a Girl Scout at the age of 5, in kindergarten as a Daisy. Her Gold project âService Dog Awarenessâ sprang from her love of animals and her wish to make the community more aware of service dogs and how to distinguish between a true service dog and a false one, therefore preserving the reputation of service dogs with the general public.
Resau has been training service dogs for approximately 4Â˝ years for medical alert as well as physical assist, and she became well aware of the publicâs lack of knowledge surrounding service animals. Most people see these well-trained dogs and want to pet and lavish attention on them. She felt it should be addressed with the community that the dogs are not just pets.
With the guidance of Brooke Corson, founder and lead trainer of the nonprofit organization Mutts with a Mission, Resau decided on a plan to raise a puppy and use it for demonstrations, so the community could meet an actual service dog in training and realize how intense that training is.
At one of the venues, Emerald Hill Elementary School, students rotated through an all-day interactive demonstration to learn how to recognize and treat a service dog when they see one. Resauâs presentations stressed to the community that these dogs are working, and they are not supposed to be socializing with strangers as it distracts them from their job of taking care of their disabled partners. The dog and its handler are a team and need to work as a team.
Resau recruited friends from school, Girl Scout sisters and family members to help with the making of dog bandanas, travel dog beds and dog jackets that were sold to support her project. She would like to thank the local American Legion, Clevengers Corner Veterinary Care, Dr. Watts and members of the community who helped her get her message to the public.
Thatcher, her service-dog-in-training, will be paired with a wounded warrior in February 2019.