Key can open the fridge and deliver a cold bottle of water.

The 2-year-old Labrador retriever can also scoop items off the floor, like credit cards, pencils and phones.

And if you need a helping paw, she can gently remove your shoes and socks with her mouth.

After a slight career change, the Papillion-based pup is working as an ambassador for a Kansas-based nonprofit. She shows off her skills for schoolchildren, nursing home residents and members of local clubs. The goal is to educate the public on what a service dog can do, said Lynn Schense, Key’s handler.

Key was in training with KSDS Assistance Dogs Inc., a nonprofit that trains service dogs. She started with Schense at about 8 weeks old and learned basic commands and social skills. In October, Key went to Kansas for advanced training, like opening doors, picking up items and removing shoes. The goal was to place her with a human who needed her as a guide, service or facility dog. The dogs might help guide the blind, pull a wheelchair and perform other duties someone might need help with.

A minor medical issue — a urinary tract infection — led to Key being released from the program. Dogs in the program have to be in tip-top shape, Schense said. They need to have the right demeanor for the job and can’t have any health issues or emotional limitations. Key returned to the Schense household in Papillion and now she works as an ambassador.

This summer, the dog — along with Schense and junior trainer Marie Brousek — made four visits to show off what service dogs can do.

Key was happy to be back with the Schenses. It was a pleasant reunion when she met up with her pal Avalon, the Schense family’s 7-year-old golden retriever. Avalon also was trained through KSDS but was released for getting carsick.

Key looks forward to going to work. When Schense tells her to get dressed, she pops her snout through her work harness.

“She knows when we’re going,” Schense said. “She gets all excited.”

In the meantime, Key stays sharp by helping Don Schense take his socks off at night. And she’s learning a new trick: riding shotgun in the family’s motor home.

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