My name is Tatiana Latilla and I am a 19-year-old undergraduate Psychology student from South Africa.
When I was 16, I started volunteering for The South African Guide Dog Association for The Blind, and 'Puppy Walked' a Golden retriever puppy for them, which entails looking after the puppy for a year and teaching it basic manners and obedience and socialization. Long story short, this dog changed my life and those of everyone he encountered. He went on to become a service dog and now lives with a lady who has brain damage, limited physical movement and a rather challenging speech complication.
The dogs name is Usher and is thought of by everybody who knows him as one of those one-in-a-million dogs who do not come into your life often. His owner has informed me that he is the only reason that she has the courage to wake up every morning and face the world. For me there could be no greater feeling than to have helped another human being in such a big way.
This is where Cesar's influence comes in. I did not know what I wanted to study at University, I only knew I wanted to help people, like Usher helps his owner. I started studying music, as that is my passion, but changed my mind after watching a total of three episodes of The Dog Whisperer. Cesar's ideology of balance, trust, caring, respect and confidence, as well as his interaction and treatment of people and animals alike, has changed my life in such a huge way that I am going to study psychology with a hope to study a postgraduate course on animal behavior and human-animal interaction. I hope to become an animal-assisted therapist, using dogs to change the lives of others for the better—the way Cesar does.
I am also going to study Spanish in the slightest hope of fulfilling my greatest dream of one day coming to meet Cesar in America and—if it is meant to be—work for him in his Dog Psychology Center, even as an intern or unpaid assistant.
Cesar has changed my life and I hope I can do him proud and pass along his ideals and energy to other people and animals. He really has had the most amazing impact on me and my mother—who watches his show religiously—and I will spend the rest of my life trying to live up to what he stands for.
I will always be grateful to Cesar for helping me find my life-path.
Best Regards and most sincere condolences for the loss of Daddy,
Aspiring Animal-Assisted Therapist