To have the life you know taken away in an instant is an unthinkable event. In 2009, it became Dawne’s reality. Dawne sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that resulted in a delayed grand-mal seizure. Months later she fell into a coma and developed further complications including seizures, episodes of a sudden chemical imbalance, migraines, overall mobility weakness, fatigue, and pain. Healing has been a long journey. She had to relearn how to talk, walk. Dawne tried everything she could to regain her independence but faced a debilitating disability. She felt like she lost who she was. After being encouraged to consider an assistance dog, she filled out the application and was partnered with her perfect match.
Special Skills for a Special Team
Trixie, a two-year-old Goldador, was trained to be a combination seizure and mobility assist dog for Dawne. When Dawne has a medical episode that mimics a seizure and Trixie is able to bring her the medication that will help her. Depending on what Dawne needs most, Trixie can help Dawne retrieve several items that she knows by name and location, such as a phone, ice pack, and medication. This means that Dawne is able to keep her balance and stability, cope with her migraines, and save energy.
During a seizure, Trixie is also able to lick Dawne’s face and then lay across her to provide some light pressure therapy. This helps Dawne regain consciousness faster. Dawne says sometimes, because of her brain injury, she forgets that certain things are harder for her to do, but Trixie is able to remind her to delegate tasks. She happily remarks, “Finding new norms and patterns takes a while, but she and I have found a working pattern together.”
A Ray of Light and Thanks,
Dawne’s family feels a huge relief that she is no longer alone with her unpredictable conditions. She says, “I used to feel like a child, my family loves me so much but they were always so concerned, and now they’re more at rest.” Before meeting Trixie, Dawne had stayed safely withdrawn inside. The isolation was additionally challenging to her mental health. She remembers the day she met Trixie and since then, “She has changed my life in so, so many ways, it’s hard to explain. She’s given me hope… I feel a little more like myself.”
Trixie has been a bright spot in a dark situation, making Dawne physically and mentally stronger as she returns more and more to the world. She wants to tell everyone who made Trixie possible, “I just adore her. She has changed my life and touched my heart. Thank you so much. What you’ve done has changed my life in so many ways… not only for me but for my family.” The team continues to bond and grow to help each other establish their “new norm” life.
You can help Can Do Canines provide even more life-saving partnerships like Dawne and Trixie by donating today.
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Great Start Home: Shenna Lemche
Puppy Raiser: FCI Sandstone
Special Thanks: Shenna Lemche
Whelping Home: Mary Alexander
You: Thank you for your donations!