The video itself, captioned, can be found here.

Transcriber’s Note:

Sharon uses American Sign Language most heavily at the beginning of the video, generally speaking simultaneous with signing. As her voice becomes stronger, she signs less.

Sharon uses a clicker to mark correct behavior. The sound of the clicker is denoted: [Click!]

Sharon’s partner, Betsy, sometimes acts as Gadget’s “voice,” from off-screen, behind the camera. This dialogue is preceded by Gadget’s name in quotation marks, followed by a colon (“Gadget”:).

End of Transcriber’s Note. Beginning of Video Description.

Sharon wears a black turtleneck and sits in front of a white wall. Her voice is a scratchy whisper, more intelligible on some words than others. She simultaneously speaks and signs most of her dialogue.

Sharon: Hi, I’m Sharon, and. . . .

She turns to her left and calls, “Gadget, come!”

Gadget trots quickly onscreen and stands at an angle in front of Sharon’s left knee, looking into her eyes. He is a gray bouvier with short, wiry hair. He wears a purple collar and a blue backpack with patches that say “Please don’t pet me. I’m working,” and “Service Dog” on them. He is off-leash.

“Gadget”: And I’m Gadget, and this is what I wear when I help Sharon out in the world.

Sharon: Now I’m going to show you some of Gadget’s different skills. He helps me in the house and outside. Right?

“Gadget”: Right!

Sharon: First we’re going to show you some simple skills we use outside. Right?

“Gadget”: Right!

Sharon puts her right hand next to her left knee, palm facing back.

Sharon: Side.

Gadget orients himself in heel position, touching his nose to her palm.

Sharon: Good boy. Gadget, heel.

Sharon’s chair beeps as she turns it on. She moves forward, then turns to her right. Gadget follows in heel position on her left.

“Gadget”: Or “wheel,” as the case may be.

Sharon’s chair beeps as she speeds it up. Gadget keeps pace. Sharon stops, facing the camera again. Gadget is a little forward. Gadget watches Sharon’s hands. Sharon raises her right hand in the air, making a gesture to indicate backing up.

Sharon: Back up.

Gadget backs up.

Sharon: Good boy.

Sharon puts her hand in “side” position again and Gadget lines up parallel to her chair, touching her palm with his nose.

Sharon: Good boy. Down.

Sharon points to the ground with her index finger, and Gadget slides into a down. Sharon presses a yellow clicker hanging from her chair’s joystick. Gadget pops up. Sharon reaches into a red pouch hanging from her controller.

“Gadget”: Click means treat! Every time she clicks, I get a treat! My favorite is cheese.

Sharon feeds Gadget two morsels. He looks at the camera at the word “cheese.”

Sharon: Back up. Sit.

Gadget sits.

Sharon: Good boy.

Sharon looks at the camera. Gadget looks at Sharon’s face.

Sharon: Sometimes I ask Gadget to speak.

“Gadget”: And sometimes I speak really well.

Sharon: Gadget, bark! (Sharon gives Gadget a “thumb’s up” signals.)

Gadget gives two quiet woofs.

“Gadget”: But sometimes . . .

Gadget gives two loud, sharp barks.


Sharon: Good boy.

“Gadget”: But sometimes it takes me a while to get going.

Sharon: Sometimes we go out to a restaurant. Gadget, heel.

Sharon moves forward, her chair and clicks and whirs. Gadget moves next to her in his blue backpack, still unleashed. They arrive at a table set with silverware, plate, and a glass. A paper napkin rests under the fork.

Sharon: Gadget knows what to do, to go under the table. Right?

She points under the table.
Sharon: Gadget, under.

Gadget goes under the table, and when Sharon points to the floor, he lies down in front of her feet.

Sharon: Good boy. And if I drop something, he knows how to pick it up.

Sharon grabs her napkin and drops it on the floor.

Sharon: Oops! Gadget, fetch!

Gadget walks around the napkin to face it and Sharon, picks it up, and puts it in Sharon’s hand.


Sharon: Thank you! [To the camera]: And he didn’t even shred it.

“Gadget”: I like to shred stuff!

Change of scene. Sharon is now at the front of a hallway. Gadget sits to her side, facing her. He is not wearing his gear anymore, just a purple collar.

Sharon: I forgot to ask you, who trained you, Gadget?

“Gadget”: You trained me, Mom! My bestest, besteset Mom!

Sharon: Thank you. And where do you work, most of the time?

“Gadget”: I work at home most of the time.

Sharon: That’s true. Gadget can help me get from one place to another. Gadget, heel.

Sharon and Gadget move across the living room to the couch. She positions him by making a target with her fingers, so he is standing in front of her.

Sharon: Sometimes he helps me brace, steady myself, if I’m shaky. Stay. Brace.

Sharon rests her left hand on Gadget’s shoulder and swings herself onto the couch, using her right hand to brace on the couch.

Sharon: Good boy!

Sharon gives Gadget a treat from the pouch.

“Gadget”: Mm, treats!

Change of scene. Sharon is sitting on the floor with legs outstretched.

Sharon: Every once in a while I end up on the floor. If that happens, Gadget knows to come help me.

Sharon falls over onto her side on the floor. Gadget appears and lies down next to her head.

Sharon: Good boy. Thank you. And he lies down next to me. If I need help bracing to get up, he helps me up. But sometimes I might ask him, Gadget, get the PHONE.

Gadget walks over to a cordless phone attached to the wall a few feet away. It has a stuffed dog attached to it. He carries it to Sharon and gives it to her.

Sharon: Good boy! Thank you!

Change of scene. Sharon is lying on the couch with her legs propped up.

[Voice off camera]: I’m ready!

Sharon: It’s also a good skill to have if I’m watching TV, and the phone rings.

There’s a pause of several seconds when nothing happens. The camera pans to the phone and back to Sharon.

Sharon: Any minute now, the phone will ring.

[Phone rings.]

Sharon: Gadget, get the phone!

Gadget jumps up and trots to the phone. He picks it up mid-ring and brings it back to Sharon. Sharon takes the phone.

Sharon: Thank you! [Into the phone]: Hello? Hey.

Sharon hands Gadget a treat from the pouch at her side as she listens to the phone.

Scene changes. Sharon is still lying on the couch, but the phone is gone. Gadget is lying nearby on the floor.

“Gadget”: And sometimes Mom gets thirsty, and she wants me to bring her water.

Sharon: Gadget! [She pats her leg. Gadget comes over.] Water.

Gadget trots off, but gets confused, going toward the door. Giggling is hear off camera. He looks back to Sharon, and she signs and says, “Water,” again.

This time Gadget heads toward the kitchen, just glancing at the phone briefly as he goes by.

He grabs hold of a navy blue door pull of nylon webbing with a knot in the end that is attached to the refrigerator door handle. He backs up to open the door, then sticks his head inside and emerges with a plastic water bottle in his mouth. He trots over to Sharon and she takes it.

Sharon: Thank you!

Gadget looks at Sharon for a moment, then back at the kitchen, then runs to the refrigerator and shuts the door by pushing the door with one paw, then the other.


Gadget runs back to Sharon and stares at her, waiting for his treat.

Sharon: Gadget feels it’s important to conserve electricity by shutting the refrigerator door.

“Gadget”: What’s electricity?

Change of scene. Sharon is still sitting on the couch. Gadget is not visible.

Sharon: Sometimes I need to call Betsy, but my voice isn’t working, so I write her a note.

Zoom on Sharon’s hand. It writes on strip of paper torn from the pad, using a large, black, children’s marker: “Betsy, can you come down?”

Sharon: She works in the office upstairs.

Sharon, in a high, sing-song voice: Gadget, come!

Gadget runs to Sharon. He looks at Sharon with bright interest.

Sharon: Good boy!

Sharon tucks the strip of paper under Gadget’s collar: Gadget, where’s Betsy?

Gadget runs to the stairs, and speeds up the wooden stairwell and out of sight. The upstairs balcony is all that’s visible. The camera stays focused on the white, wooden railings of the balcony.

We hear Gadget scratch, and a door squeaks open.

Betsy, sounding surprised and pleased: Hey! Sit, stay.

Paper rustles.

Betsy [yelling]: Yep, I’ll be down in a minute.


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