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Stafford County woman with cerebral palsy gets her second service dog-and her first seems to understand the new relationship
Britney Beach, 19, bonds with her new service dog, Halley, while her retired service dog, a yellow Lab named Pepper (background), rests at the family's Stafford home.
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"Even though Britney can talk, it's hard for us not to take over and do things," Angie said. "That's the mistake I made with Pepper, and I'm trying not to do that again."
'SHE'S STILL SPECIAL'
The Beaches say Pepper has adjusted to her new role, although she has looked a little forlorn when the family has gone out without her.
Angie often takes Pepper on trips, but can't bring her into stores or restaurants because Pepper is no longer an official service dog.
When Halley recently went to school with Britney for the first time, Britney's mother and her aide weren't the only ones waiting for the bus.
So was Pepper.
She jumped up the steps and got a treat from the driver.
Britney and Halley are going through the "umbilical cord" stage, when the dog's leash is hooked to the chair or in Britney's hand most of the time.
Halley is learning her way around, and the Beaches have noticed she's a "food hound" who loves to chew on things.
When the group comes back inside after sitting in the sun, Halley sniffs around to see what trouble she can get into.
"She's just like a child," joked Britney's aide, Gerri Beach, who isn't related to the family.
The Beaches admit Halley's still got a lot of puppy in her while Pepper is at the other end of the aging scale.
The family leaves one chore for Pepper to do. Each evening, she's asked to bring whatever's on the couch to one or the other of them. Pepper dutifully retrieves the phone, paper and TV remote.
"We let her do that so she still feels like she's working," Angie said.
"And I give her treats," Britney added.
"And make her feel like she's still special," her mother added.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425