I know I’ve mentioned it before, but after last night’s wonderful celebration, I feel I need to mention it again. Because I regularly volunteer at Service Dog Project (SDP) where Denim is from, I was invited to last night’s celebration and met many other people that give so much to this wonderful organization.
In the summer of 1998, I was diagnosed with Ataxia. Being a progressive condition, it has got more invasive over the years. In June of 2013, our family pet dog of 12 years passed away. I (along with the rest of the family)was devastated and could not bear to not have a dog around. I was lost. Who would be my side when the kids were at school and my husband at work? Per the suggestion of my husband and the encouragement of my neurologist, I looked into service dogs. In my search for a mobility dog, all fingers kept pointing to SDP. “But they only deal with Great Danes and I’m only 5’2”!” Well, in January of 2014, I called Carlene White, the founder of SDP. She insisted the size was not an issue and had me visit the farm in Ipswich. Well by April I was home with my Denim by my side. She is absolutely wonderful and has made such a change in my life. Up to now, I’ve been able to avoid the wheelchair and hopefully I will be able to continue walking with Denim by my side for several more years. This video shows me learning how to do stairs with her.
Well, after last night’s party, I realized that this whole experience has benefited me even more than I had thought. Because Denim worked so well for me, I wanted to give back to her too. So we started visiting the farm on a fairly regular basis so that Denim could run free and be a dog. Because I visited the farm regularly, I started noticing how it worked and because I wanted to give back to an organization that had given me so much, I started volunteering there. Another benefit of my Ataxia?
For more information about the organization, check out their website: http://www.servicedogproject.org/ or come visit on a Sunday afternoon for open house.