Luci Camorani and Mobility Assist Dog Luci
By Amy Verrando
As a sophomore at the University of Minnesota (U of M), Luci Camorani leads the typically hectic life of a busy college student. Majoring in genetics, cell biology, and development, Luci has to juggle a challenging course load while also dealing with the difficulties of living with both Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).
EDS and POTS cause Luci to have trouble regulating her blood pressure, specifically when standing up or bending over, which can cause her to become lightheaded and dizzy, resulting in a fall. “Standing up causes my heartrate to get really high and my blood pressure to get really low so I really worry about injuring myself while falling,” says Luci. In addition, Luci suffers from chronic pain and uses forearm crutches to help with her mobility.
Luci’s U of M Accessibility Advisor has an assistance dog named Rocky. Her advisor explained the different tasks that Rocky performed for her. This led Luci to consider how helpful having an assistance dog would be, and how it would greatly improve her quality of life. So she began researching organizations and decided to apply to Can Do Canines.
Can Do Canines matched Luci with Mobility Assist Dog Maggie, an affectionate Black Labrador Retriever trained to help Luci with several tasks that make her day-to-day life much safer and easier. Upon completing an accelerated training program that fit Luci’s hectic college schedule, Maggie now helps Luci with everything from retrieving items and pushing buttons, to carrying Luci’s personal information in her vest in case Luci faints. Even more, Maggie showers Luci with unyielding affection. “I think Maggie is the biggest love bug in the world.”
According to Luci, Maggie is “doing a really great job” adjusting to college life. Whether Luci is in class, on the bus, or simply relaxing, Maggie is constantly at her side, her head in Luci’s lap.
As a college student, Luci is especially thankful for having been able to receive an assistance dog free of charge. “The fact that I got a dog at no charge, I mean, being a college student and being at a university is not cheap and having the fees of a dog on top of that … having a dog at no cost is really incredible,” she says.
In addition, Luci wants to thank Maggie’s Puppy Raisers, “Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to have my independence back, I really appreciate everything you’ve done for Maggie. She’s turned into a really good dog so I think you all should give yourselves a pat on the back.”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Puppy Raiser: Jamie Fjetland ann Family
Special Thanks: Rebecca Toews and Family
Name-A-Puppy Donor: Mitch & Wendy Peterson
You: Thank you for your donations!