Our Blog

March 26, 2015

A Tribute to Jammer



On March 10, 2015, ICAN lost a very special friend, an ICAN dog named Jammer. In 2009, Jammer graduated and was placed as a Facility Dog with Lori Daugherty, an Occupational Therapist who worked at Morningside of College Park, an assistant living facility in Indianapolis. In addition to working with her patients Jammer was also the stud dog to many of ICAN's dogs-in-training in which he sired twelve litters. Jammer, a gorgeous and beautiful black lab, never met a stranger and unconditionally showered love on anyone he met; he touched the lives of many in the eight and one half years he lived on this planet. Although we are saddened by his departure, we are also deeply blessed with the gifts he gave to each one of us and the stories he left to share with others.

This page is a tribute to Jammer. The stories and photos are full of emotion, joy, laughter and compassion about how this beautiful dog changed someone's life. In honor of Jammer's legacy, ICAN has set up a memorial fund called ''The Jammer Paw Print Fund…remembering those that have left paw prints on our hearts.'' in which all funds donated, in memory of Jammer or the loss of a pet, will go towards training more service dogs like Jammer. Thank you Jammer, for touching our lives, and teaching us the power of how love can truly heal and bring joy and laughter to our hearts. Your legacy will continue to travel on in the paws of the pups you gave to us.

REMEMBERING WIND JAMMER (June 30, 2006 – March 10, 2015)
by Dr. Sally Irvin, Founder/Program Director of ICAN

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are."  -Unknown

The loss of a dog is hard. Painful. You feel a sense of being incomplete, maybe even alone. The loss of a service dog is even greater. They were an integral part of their partner's daily life. A constant companion. A depended upon helper. A giver of freedom and security. A giver of hope.

With ICAN Jammer, his death brings a compounded sense of loss. For ICAN, his legacy is huge. He helped create the foundation of our breeding program. He sired 103 puppies for ICAN and a few other service dog programs. Thankfully, he leaves us with many "little Jammers", on their way to become service dogs. On their way to fill some mighty paw prints.

Almost more important than the pups he sired into our program, is the depth and breadth of his connection with all the people whose life he made richer.  

Jammer's given name was "Wind Jammer". And he took it seriously. In everything I read about the huge sailing cargo vessels of 1900, they all said the "Wind Jammer had an incredible capacity to do its job." Our Jammer did too!

From teaching inmate handler's how to have patience…to finding the person in the dayroom of a hospital that "needed" his special attention… to showing all the other dogs how to play "fair" and give the new visiting dog a gentle greeting and to helping our staff trainers learn how to teach a new skill. You see, Jammer loved to learn and he made the teaching easy for us. He often did the cue inspite of our poor teaching!   

From being game for anything – learning how to pull a wheelchair, push a huge ball across a room, unzip a zipper, eager to dress up for all holidays, always ready to stop and give each person he met terrific eye contact and attention, as they petted him, and making them feel like they were the center of his world.

Thank you Wind Jammer for teaching us well! We will miss you. Know you will never be forgotten for you have left paw prints in our hearts and all of ICAN!


       Lori and Jammer; Lori's children celebrating Jammer's birthday                                      

by Lori Daugherty

I'll never forget the phone call that I received in the summer of 2009 that would change my life forever.  After having the good fortune of furloughing a sweet pup named Jammer during his time in training at ICAN, I was asked by Sally Irwin if I would be interested in adopting him.  The answer to the question was a no-brainer.  Not only had I witnessed first-hand the positive effects of working side by side with a dog in my role as an occupational therapist, but purely and simply, I had already fallen in love with this dear boy.  While I knew that adding Jammer to our family would bring much joy, I had no idea the lessons that I would learn from this wonderful soul. 

Prior to adoption I was required to attend ICAN's team training at the Indiana Women's Prison where I would learn the ever so important aspects of caring for a service dog.  It was important to me that my children also be informed and understand the responsibilities that came with the privilege of making Jammer a part of our family and they readily agreed to join me at team training.  We spent a week at the prison learning everything from clipping nails and feeding to utilizing commands and furthering training.  We crammed our brains with endless information, tips, and advice in an effort to learn how to carryover the incredible work that ICAN and Jammer's handlers had done to this point.

Thank you, Jammer, for teaching me that taking care of a living creature is a responsibility and a privilege.

Walking into the Indiana Women's Prison for team training can be a bit daunting.  Preconceived notions, ignorance, and fear of the unknown can make for an uneasy experience.  Add to that the presence of my children, their questions, and my desire to protect their innocence, and it was down-right nerve wracking.  Once inside, however, we quickly forgot where we were.  Jammer's handlers put us right at ease and began to compassionately and skillfully teach us in one week's time what had taken them years to teach Jammer.

Thank you, Jammer, for teaching me not to judge what I don't know. 

Thinking back to team training, I'm truly amazed at how readily the handlers accepted us – these people who they had never met before who were about to take from them this wonderful animal who they had loved, taught, and bonded with for months on end.  Even more impressive, however, was the kind and relevant way that one of the young women handlers bonded with my young children and imparted words of wisdom – the importance of making good decisions and choosing friends who support those choices.

Thank you, Jammer, for teaching me that there is good in everyone and something to learn from everyone.

As team training progressed, we bonded with Jammer's handlers.  We cried together at graduation with the "passing of the leash" and my daughter passed out friendship bracelets that she had made to many of the ICAN handlers.  It wouldn't be until nearly 5 years later when attending the graduation ceremony of some of Jammer's puppies that I would realize the profound effect of my daughter's simple gesture.  One of the handlers sought me out to tell me how she had worn the bracelet every day until about 2 months prior when the constant wear took its toll on the bracelet and it fell off her wrist.  She remarked how meaningful the gift was to her and how looking at it each day made her feel special and appreciated.

Thank you, Jammer, for teaching me that even the simplest kind gesture can have long lasting effects.

After adoption, Jammer readily settled into our family and his role as my sidekick at work. Each and every morning of his life, no matter how early in the day, Jammer greeted me and the day as if he were anticipating the best day ever.  On work days, he would bound down the steps to the garage and eagerly await his invitation to jump into the car and head to work.  Without fail, he walked into the senior community where we worked with his head held high and his tail wagging, excited to see what was in store for this new day.

Thank you, Jammer, for teaching me that I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to impact lives in a positive way.

At work, Jammer was ready to do whatever it took to help.  He readily fetched and returned balls to assist with balance, stood as still as a statue with items on his head to assist with reaching, walked alongside patients to assist with endurance, and always shook his head yes when asked if he loved someone.  He willingly let me dress him in festive bandanas, crazy Halloween costumes, and antlers to name but a few and posed for countless pictures which regularly became treasured keepsakes for his patients and their families. 

Thank you, Jammer, for teaching me to not take myself too seriously.

More importantly and more impactful, however, was his "willingness" to be loved.  Our therapy clinic quickly became a place of refuge where patients, family, and staff would visit simply for some Jammer time.  And somehow, our dear boy seemed to know just who needed him the most.  Even when appearing to be in the deepest of sleep, Jammer would awake and walk immediately to those in need, sit at their feet, and simply wait for their response.  His presence in the senior community provided something so unexpected yet so natural and beneficial in an otherwise controlled environment.  He allowed his patients an opportunity to reminisce fondly about their past pets, to connect with a living creature without any expectations, and to forget their health concerns for at least a brief period of time.  Remarkably, somehow he even facilitated a pathway of neural connections with many of our patients with more advanced forms of dementia remembering him, recalling long forgotten stories of their past, and even sometimes calling him by name. 

Thank you, Jammer, for teaching me that simply being there is often times the most powerful thing I can do.

As if positively impacting the lives of the hundreds of patients he worked with over the years wasn't enough, Jammer also served as a stud dog for ICAN.  Being the good sport that he was, Jammer readily agreed to his "dates" as if he realized the importance of passing along his intelligence, health, compassion and work ethic to the next generation.  During his time with ICAN, he sired over 100 puppies to carry on his good work. 

Thank you, Jammer, for teaching me the importance of leaving a positive legacy.

So often I have been asked what it is like to have Jammer as a pet – wondering if this incredible persona that he showed at work followed Jammer home and into my family's personal life.  Without fail, I have answered that question without a bit of hesitation.  Jammer was simply the best doggie in the whole wide world.  Our sweet boy seemed to have been put here on this earth to love, to inspire, to help, and to cheer – and that he did. His role in my family was an integral one.  He was so dearly loved by each and every one of us and played a big part in every celebration, every tragedy, and every ordinary day that we shared with him.  Jammer made us smile and laugh, settled our worries, and consoled our sadness on countless occasions.  He had such a knack for perceiving his environment and adjusting to the mood around him. While I would like to say that it was a privilege to care for him, the reality is more likely that he did a lot more caring for all of us.

Thank you, Jammer, for teaching me that while the pain of losing someone you love dearly is great; the imprint that is left on your heart is worth every minute.

With Jammer's passing I have lost my coworker, my carpool partner, my best friend and a family member.  He took with him a piece of my heart, but left with me the joy that comes from the love that  I shared with him and the lessons that he left with me.





Jammer showering love and bringing smiles to his many friends at Morningside

"More than anything, Jammer exercised our heart muscles.'' -Resident at Morningside

by Dr. Jamie Young, DVM  (the breeder/caretaker of Jammer's litters) 

Jammer sired 12 litters: Cleo x 1, Bridget x 4, Willow x 1, Quinn x 2, Riley x 1, Juliette x 3. With the exception of Willow's litter, all puppies were Labrador Golden Cross litters.

Not only did Jammer leave a legacy at ICAN, but he sired two litters for Canine Partners of the Rockies, and his pups were shared with nine other service dog programs across the country. For the litters that have been placed to date, Jammer's offspring have had an impressive 67% success rate as assistance dogs or facility dogs. His offspring are working as mobility, autism, diabetic alert, and PTSD assistance dogs from New York to California. In addition, four career change dogs are serving as drug, explosive, or arson detection dogs in Indiana, North Caroline and Texas.



(Top L to R) Dr. Jamie Young holding one of Jammer's pup's not long after the whelping; Lori holding one of Jammer's puppies; Nancy Shyrock provides assistance to Dr. Young with one of the newborns; Mamma Bridget, Mamma Juliette and some of Jammer's puppies.

Emily and her mother Nancy with Jammer; Emily and Jammer

by Emily Shyrock

I knew Jammer since his first week as an ICAN dog and got to see him regularly during his time at the Branchville Correctional Facility where he learned his basic skills and then at Rockville Correctional Facility where he began to master more advanced service dog skills. Jammer became even more a part of my life when I was given the opportunity to finish his final months of training. Jammer lived with me for a semester of college as we worked on polishing his service dog skills in real life scenarios as he accompanied me throughout my day. I taught him how to ride the wheelchair lift on the bus so I could ride the campus shuttle with him. It took a few tries (and a lot of peanut butter) but soon he was riding the bus like a pro. One of the bus drivers still talks about us so I guess we made an impression!

Jammer was a dog trainer's dream because he loved to learn and train and would try so hard to figure out what you wanted him to do. If you brought out a laundry basket and a clicker you better stand back because he would immediately start playing the "shaping game" and offer all kinds of behaviors- front paws in the basket, back paws in the basket, "up" on the basket, "sit" in the basket and on it went until he figured out what you were trying to get him to do.

Although I was sad when our time together was over I was so happy to see Jammer start his new job as a Facility Dog (with some part time work as ICAN's stud dog). He was a perfect match with the Daugherty's and it was fun to watch their relationship grow and develop over the years. I was fortunate to get to reconnect with Jammer for visits and was amazed at how easily we slipped right back into our old routines and habits.

My current service dog, Morey, is one of Jammer's first pups which makes him extra special to me.

Whenever I see Morey splash water all over the floor when he gets a drink or bounce in the air when he gets excited I am reminded of Jammer. He was such a happy dog and made an impact on so many lives. I am thankful I got to share part of my life with Jammer and am grateful for the legacy of pups he has left behind who continue to touch many more lives, including mine.

Robin, Jammer & Lori

by Robin Singer

I met Jammer about five years ago while I was Rehab Director at a rehabilitation center.  His Mom, Lori Daugherty, had stopped by to leave her resume and ask if we needed an Occupational Therapist. I basically hired them on the spot!  The Daugherty kids always joked that the only reason she got the job at all was because of Jammer.

Lori and Jammer fit in perfectly. I know for a fact that one of the residents there still comes to rehab multiple times daily TO THIS DAY to ask where Jammer is, even though Lori and Jammer have not been at that location for over three years. The residents never remembered our names but sure knew who Jammer was.

Our rehab team used to participate in all of the seasonal and holiday celebrations. We would usually enter contests as an ensemble.  I hate to sound smug but winning was almost always a foregone conclusion given Lori's never-ending closet full of safari-or-circus costumes and Jammer's magnanimity whilst being dressed up as a ferocious lion or a surfer/safari dude.

Jammer, when attired in his ICAN bib, morphed into the perfect facility/therapy/service dog. Lori joked that the biggest obstacle to Jammer behaving was to train ME to behave! 

Anybody who met Jammer knew first-hand how "sexy" he was and he was much in demand as a super-stud for the ICAN program. All of us looked forward to Jammer's many dates and the resulting litters of beautiful pups that we spent lots of spare time watching on "PuppyCam". 

When Lori and Jammer moved to Morningside, I started helping occasionally there as a Physical Therapist. At Morningside, Jammer was accorded the type of adulation I have only seen for The Beatles back in the day or for, say, George Clooney in this day and time. Any reluctance to come to therapy was smashed to bits when you would say, "Jammer is here today." He was Lori's secret weapon for compliance.

One dear 102-year-old lady , whom I will call "M", came to therapy one day and as always wanted to play with Jammer. I had been instructed that Jammer had  a procedure which resulted in a drain in his earlobe so to be careful. I related this to"M" and asked that she be extra gentle with Jammer especially since he was scheduled for a "date" for ICAN that night. "M" stretched up to her full 5 feet, including her walker, and immediately inquired if Jammer was healthy enough for sexual activity!

Over the years I have seen Jammer slow down and become an elder statesman, but never dreamed the end for him would come so-too!-soon. I am heartbroken, but as I myself age, I know that that comes with Love and loving.

Thank you, Lori and Bill, Ben, Kendall, and David for allowing us to become friends with all of you and for sharing Jammer with us.

by ICAN Handlers


Jammer and Lisa

I had the pleasure of working with Jammer for 18 months. During that time he never ceased to amaze me.  His ability to learn new tasks with ease was one of his best qualities. He was such a gentle being & I took him everywhere with me. There were times when I had issues with my back & I would actually rely on him to get my shoes as well as items I had dropped on the floor. I was a student in Culinary Arts & Jammer attended class with me. The other students were in awe of his skill level as well as his ability to lay patiently on the floor with the aroma of good food in the air. He was a star!! I will never forget Jammer for the simple fact that he was with me when both of my parents passed away. He was a true companion during a time when my world was crumbling. He will forever have a place in my heart. -Lisa

I was fortunate to have worked with Jammer via the ICAN program. A beautiful black lab with a block head. I remember what a good worker he was. Quick to learn the skill, but even quicker to get his treat. Jammer you will be missed! –Debra

Jammer left behind a great legacy. When I first came into the ICAN program I had the privilege to work with this very energetic black dog that was always ready to do more. I will never forget getting him out of the crate in the mornings. What fun he was. As soon as he was released he would go into a series of cues just because he was so happy to see me. Spin, sit, down, stand then hop into a side or heel. I just couldn't resist his charms. I will always remember Jammer and his great legacy. We have many to remind us of his greatness.  –Heather

If you'd ever want to know and experience the true meaning of a lab…Jammer is all that and then some! This ball of energy and happiness, going from person to person, just to make everyone feel loved, is the way I choose to remember our Jammer. Beautiful cannot even come close to describing how awesome this dog was. I'll never forget when his handler, Deb, allowed me to babysit him all on my own. I was nervous and scared, but Jammer made me feel like I could handle it! I've never seen a dog do so many commands so fast! He was such a scholar. Everywhere you went with Jammer, people would say ''who is that beautiful black lab?'' He was a crowd-pleaser! He has given us so many beautiful and intelligent ICAN dogs that we are blessed forever. I am so blessed to have been able to meet and kiss pretty much every single puppy that he has been a daddy to! They all have some of their daddy's traits. I also remember I got to work with his client Lori and her wonderful son and daughter. Jammer had this look of pure love in his eyes when he was with them. Lori's daughter made me a friendship bracelet for helping them with Jammer and I still have it. Jammer has created the most special legacy and we are all so thankful for being able to be a part of his life. His name will forever reign in ICAN's history.   –Lara

by Debbie Baker, Business Officer Manager, Morningside

I remember the first time I saw Jammer, he was in the lobby at MorningSide with Lori.  Jammer had his vest on which I came to find out later meant he was working and we were not allowed to pet him… you could tell he took his job seriously. I saw Jammer many times after that and when he didn't have his vest on, he was free to accept as many pats on the head and belly scrubs that could be handed out. He was ours, a permanent fixture at MorningSide. I can't think of a single resident or staff member who didn't love Jammer. I remember many times having a stressful day and a brief "therapy session"  – scrubbing his ear, patting his head and a meaningful look from his big brown eyes which said, "it's ok, nothing is that bad" would set my day right.

He was such a good sport, oh, the way Lori would dress him up for holidays and special occasions and he would do whatever she asked of him without any sign of complaint or dread.  He has posed for countless pictures, passed out Valentines cards and Halloween candy. Jammer was beloved, we loved him and he is missed terribly and never to be forgotten.

Debbie with Jammer in his many outfits

(The following letter was written by Tina Voelker whose husband always made beautiful birthday cakes for Jammer's big birthday celebrations at the senior community!)


As a long time dog owner and physical therapist, no one has to convince me of the "therapeutic" value of a pet for all of us who connect with them so deeply. These creatures accomplish great things – for the disabled, the lonely, those with medical illnesses, and the list goes on. Jammer was no less an amazing dog who accomplished much in his life with us! As I logged into the computer each morning, Jammer would sit by my side to say hello and occasionally spend a moment in my lap for a hug. I would ask him if he had had a good night to which he always shook his head "yes".  Of course, this interaction was followed by a treat! Suppose he knew that would be the reward that followed?!!  Jammer was truly "everyone's" dog and so the grief is felt by many at his passing that came way too early for all of us. Without exception, I believe that all who knew him count it a blessing to have befriended, loved and spoiled this intelligent, warm and wonderful animal whom we will never forget. Jammer, we will always love and miss you and will hold a part of you in our hearts forever!   


Tina with some of Jammer's infamous birthday cakes; Jammer and a resident celebrating his birthday

by Joyce Kleinman

Jammer was such a special dog!!! He came into my family's lives in 2 different ways:
1) My daughter Jenni was fortunate to be able to get one of ICAN's Service Dogs. Her dog Piper is such a sweet, loving, kind dog, perfectly matched to my daughter who is also an extremely loving, special soul. We were told Piper's dad was a very special dog who sired many, many litters because of his amazing qualities. Qualities that helped produced some of the most wonderful service dogs! We always felt proud to know Piper's dad was Jammer, even though we had not yet met him.

2) Fast-forward more than a year later. Jenni went with me to check out Assisted Living Residences for my 92-year-old mother who I was moving to Indy from Baltimore. We went to Morningside with Jenni's faithful companion, Piper. As always, Piper was a people-magnet. Many of the residence came up to her to say hello and several mentioned we had to meet their therapy dog, Jammer. Jenni immediately asked if Jammer was a black lab? And sure enough he was and he was Piper's dad! What were the odds? This connection sealed the deal and we chose Morningside for my mom. It was not an easy move for her. She did not want to leave Baltimore, but it had gotten too hard for me to take care of her long distance. Jammer made all the difference for my mom. She loved Jammer and would agree to do anything, as long as it included Jammer. During the time my mom was at Morningside, Piper got to meet her dad Jammer and they got along so well. Made us wonder if they somehow remembered each other.

My mom only had six months in Indy, but they were very special times, especially thanks to the dogs in her life. In my mom's final days, Lori bought Jammer to visit my mom at the hospice facility. My mother was unresponsive to everything except when Jammer or my dog Romeo came to visit. She even told my Rabbi when he came to visit "you just missed the dogs". She said nothing else but that over and over again. He thought she was hallucinating, until he found out Lori & Jammer and Romeo & I left moments before he arrived. Unaware of anything else, she knew her two loves, Romeo & Jammer, were there!

Thank you Lori for sharing this very special dog with so many! I feel privileged that we were among the many lives he touched. My heart aches for all who knew & loved him.

Joyce's mother, Esther Richman with Jammer
Piper and Jammer meet up at work – we jokingly referred to this as "take your daughter to work day"!

by Glenda Dearth,ADC
Activity Director Certified

Jammer was a blessing to our residents. As Jammer would walk in the hallway, residents would want to pet Jammer and talk to him. Jammer was very much a part of pet therapy at Morningside. Residents showed their love for Jammer as you would see them smile and start talking to Jammer.

Jammer participated in many activities at Morningside. Our favorite was Halloween when Jammer and Lori, his owner, would dress up together. This past year, Jammer was Minnie Mouse and Lori was Mickey. Jammer didn't care, he would just look up and wait for attention, or his treat.

Although we thought of Jammer as a pet, he truly was a working dog (boy) when he was in the therapy department. Jammer would play catch with the residents or go retrieve the ball. He assisted with Range of Motion and just encouragement to the residents. He brought joy to everyone!

Our hearts are all sad with the passing of Jammer. However, we will cherish the many pictures taken. Jammer was a true friend. Thank you Lori for sharing your wonderful boy! He will be deeply missed, we lost one of our family at Morningside.


Jammer as Minnie Mouse; Minnie Mouse and Lori as Mickey; Jammer and Glenda


What we have once enjoyed
we can never lose;
All that we love deeply,
becomes a part of us.

-Helen Keller

To make a donation in memory of Jammer or the loss of a pet, please visit:

The Jammer Paw Print Fund

…remembering those that have left paw prints on our hearts.''

All funds will go directly to ICAN's training program, so that more dogs, like Jammer, can become a service dog for individuals living with a disability.