Dan McManus and his service dog, Shadow, have been flying together for about nine years with a specially-made harness he constructed for the dog. Shadow's presence and companionship help him manage the symptoms of his debilitating anxiety disorder.
While the trapeze artist of lore seems to 'fly through the air with the greatest of ease,' everyone knows that flying can be a very stressful experience. For Dan however, flying temporarily frees him from the symptoms of his crippling anxiety disorder, which is aided by the constant companionship of his Australian cattle dog, Shadow. "This is home," said McManus. "Shadow would rather be here than anywhere else." (See: Holly The Whippet.)
Dan McManus is a professional hang-gliding instructor who works in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has been flying professionally for almost forty years, and his therapy dog, Shadow, is always by his side. The dog's separation anxiety could only be quelled when he was by his owner's side, whether on the ground or in the air. According to Dan: "The dog had even been known to try to hold onto my boots with his teeth in order to get into the air. It felt like he wanted to keep me safe." (See: Abigail The Pitt Bull.)
Anxiety, ADD, night terrors, panic attacks and an eventual diagnosis of bipolar disorder had plagued his emotional spirit for years. Amid the internal chaos, he found two havens of peace: hang-gliding and the company of his therapy dog. Shadow seemed to know when Dan was about to have an anxiety attack and would instinctively jump close to his human to comfort him. The two became inseparable and originally went everywhere together except for when Dan would go hang-gliding. Soon, it became evident that Shadow wanted to fly too because he couldn't bear being separated from his companion. (See: Chihuahua Rescues Owner.)
McManus built a heavy duty harness for his special pal, and from the very first time Shadow sailed across the Utah skies with his front paws wrapped around his human,"he was like a kid at a carnival." Today, Dan owns a hang-gliding business and Shadow remains his most loyal customer. (See: Merel The Service Dog.)
There is no measurement for the good that therapy dogs provide for their caretakers. Sometimes, it goes far beyond human understanding.
Hey, Shadow, good job and...cool flying!
Source: Dogginton Post