A black Labrador retriever wearing a mobility harness and colorful bandanaMeet Tzila! This amazing pup is Krystal‘s personal shadow and hero. Tzila is one of the pups produced by Shannon Metzger of Buck Mountain Labradors. She displayed the confidence and energy needed for a service dog prospect and Krystal has been working with her since she was eight weeks old.

Tzila is a lively dog! She was chaos as a puppy, which all puppies are. The more tired she became, the harder she played. She was a handful, which is pretty typical of labs. It took time, patience and lots of learning, and even some (or maybe lots) of tears, but she has transformed into one of the best dogs Krystal has ever met.

Krystal and her husband love names that have meaning. They dismissed the name “Shadow” because it was simply too cliche. On looking through different names, however, they came across Tzila (pronounced ZEE-la). It means “shadow” in Hebrew. A number of names had been picked out, but this one stuck. They thought it was unique and and seemed to fit. “Zilla-Monster” was the nickname she earned when she’d have a puppy-tantrum, in tribute to Godzilla. It just worked. She really lived up to her name, though, and not just because she’s black. She follows Krystal and is always ready to help or play, whatever mood strikes first.

Tzila learns quickly, and she loves her games. The games started when she was a puppy. This resulted in a tight bond between pup and handler from a young age. She learned to be attentive and focused, which carefully developed into games that helped her handler. She has passed the Alberta qualification test and is an official service dog. It hasn’t been an easy thing to do, though! The global health pandemic put a few obstacles in the way which slowed progress a bit. Challenges are made to be overcome, however, and this team has done it.

Tzila is a very happy girl. She’s social and confident and is eager to please. Her favorite toys include her blue soccer ball and her squeaky toys. The louder the better! She’s an entirely different dog while she’s working versus when she’s playing, but if Krystal needs her, she’s keen to help. She’ll do anything for that cookie!


Work Life


A man and a woman sit on the grass. A black dog is standing next to the woman.

Thank you to Muttlove Photography for the stunning photos!

Tzila performs general tasks regularly, but there are some that are used more often than not.

  • Picks items up, holds and carries them
  • Brings items between Krystal and Krystal’s husband
  • Closes doors
  • Finds keys, wallet and phone using scent detection
  • Puts dirty laundry into a basket
  • Puts her toys in her toy basket
  • Gets Krystal’s husband if Krystal needs help
  • Puts garbage and recycling into the appropriate receptacle
  • Alerts Krystal to medical conditions that need attention
  • Helps Krystal get up from a seated position and braces for balance
  • Retrieves water bottles from a specific location
  • Helps Krystal cool down in the event of overheating
  • Elevates Krystal’s legs to help stabilize blood pressure
  • Moves laundry from the washer to the dryer
  • Moves laundry from the dryer to the basket
  • Provides an endless supply of love and entertainment
  • And more. She’s phenomenal.


A black dog carries a stick while running through the water

Thank you to Muttlove Photography for the stunning photos!

Training is hard work, but they have so much fun together. Many people follow Tzila’s social media accounts that enjoy their hard work and antics. If you’re interested in checking them out, you’ll find the links below!