Betty Wilson with service dog, Gunny photo

Betty Wilson takes her mobility service dog, Gunny, around Grangeville about once a week.

GRANGEVILLE — When you first see Gunny, you may do a double take. The 135-pound Great Dane-Mastiff might seem intimidating in the beginning.

“He’s a lover,” smiled his owner, Betty Wilson, who lives outside of Grangeville toward Stites.

Gunny is a mobility service dog, assisting Wilson with balance and walking, among other areas, such as when she has vertigo or pain.

“That’s why he leans, to help me balance and be mobile,” she explained when she recently stopped at the Free Press.

Wilson is an Army and Navy veteran, and Gunny is her second service dog.

“I take him around to various businesses and other places about once a week,” she said. “It helps him know he can trust people.”

On Wilson’s command, Gunny went through the Free Press office and greeted each person at her desk. She demonstrated his skills when she called him to her side, told him to sit, lay down, speak and pick up her keys when she dropped them. He also turns on and off lights and opens doors, as needed. He provides comfort and companionship, as well.

Wilson said when she puts on Gunny’s service dog vest, he knows he is working.

“And with training, you just have to be consistent,” she said.

Gunny was tested as a potential service dog when he was 8 weeks old. Once he was deemed worthy, he went on to be trained by a professional, then came to Wilson where she has continued with his training. He is now 3 years old.

Wilson said she and Gunny have lived with goats, chickens, cats and cows, and he has always been a gentle giant.

Some area people may have seen Gunny around town as he often stopped at Cash and Carry in the summer months for an ice cream cone treat.

“Vanilla — that’s what he gets; and he loves it,” Wilson smiled.

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