I now have a mobility service dog. Her name is Denim. She is a young female Great Dane, almost 2 years old. She is an absolute joy to be with!
Getting a service dog has meant a huge change for my life. My disability is taking on a new reality. No more denying it or faking it. My Ataxia has been progressing and it was becoming quite difficult to get around.
However, life with her has proved to be a whole new experience. It is so awesome to just be able to go anywhere I want. Denim can walk me over hilly areas, roots, rocks…I can once again take regular walks around my neighborhood! She helps on stairs, WITHOUT use of a railing. (This video of Denim and I learning to do stairs together can be seen on Facebook,. Log in if you have an account, to watch it.)
She is from Service Dog Project in Ipswich, MA. As stated on their site, “The Service Dog Project (SDP) provides a better quality of life for the mobility impaired. SDP has donated over 70 Great Danes as service dogs to individuals who have severe balance and mobility limitations. These dogs provide a valuable service and have enhanced the quality of life for their owners.“
As an example of how wonderful she has been, I recently had surgery. After I picked her up from the farm where I left her over-night, she slept constantly. She just couldn’t sleep as she was constantly looking for me. It wasn’t until several days later that she started perking back up. However, no matter how tired she was she was always there for me when I needed her. It’s so nice knowing that you’re not alone. And she sensed things weren’t quite the same as she seemed to know not to jump up on me and to let me sleep. Another time I hurt myself pretty bad and ended up in the ER. Denim was quite the star there. Once home, I needed Denim to help me feed her. She took me safely to a chair BEFORE going back to her food to eat it!