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Career change for guide dog

ENCINITAS — A trained guide dog for the blind has found a new purpose in life after a medical condition changed her career path.Shiloh, a black Labrador retriever, was bred and trained at Guide Dogs of the Desert near Palm Springs to be a guide dog to a blind person – however, shortly before being paired with a blind person, it was discovered she had a minor medical condition that excluded her from becoming a guide dog. Instead she came to Encinitas for new training.

James “Kansas” Cafferty, founder of True North Recovery Services in Encinitas, CA adopted Shiloh and started her on a new path of service. Guide Dogs of the Desert, often works with other organizations to place dogs in a different type of service, who for various reasons, can’t serve as a guide dog.

Shiloh now helps out at True North’s Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program, which works to treat Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. PAWS is a condition many people with chemical dependency suffer from after the substances are removed from their systems; it can cause agitation, anxiety, depression, and even relapse.

“Shiloh had more experience with PAWS than anyone else we could find so she joins us on Thursday Nights at the adolescent program where she provides relief after a week of stressful therapy, school, and hard work,” said True North’s Cafferty. Kim Laidlaw, executive director of Guide Dogs of the Desert said, “It’s wonderful that Shiloh can carry on the tradition and training she received at our school and continue to help others. After all, we breed and train them to go out in the world and do great things – and Shiloh is doing a great thing.”

For more information on PAWS, visit or call Cafferty at (760) 517-6544.