Disabilities can go by many names, or sometimes no name at all. Janelle knows this all too well.
She lives with multiple health conditions that make every single day different. She may feel energized while doing a task one day, but completely exhausted after doing the exact same thing another day. The fatigue affects Janelle the most, and it goes beyond feeling drained. The plunge in her energy level is so sudden that in a brief moment she is no longer able to hold objects or walk safely. Her eyesight changes, adding a level of complication to navigating safely.
Janelle uses different forms of equipment to help protect her, and after talking with another Can Do Canines team, she decided that an assistance dog was the right addition. Janelle had previously owned a service dog, but this time was in need of more skills, and wasn’t able to do as much of the training herself as she was with her previous assistance dog. She applied and was matched with a new canine companion.
Glory is a 4-year-old black Labrador that loved the chance to be an assistance dog for someone. She is able to make a difference every day for Janelle. Janelle remembers that meeting Glory was exciting and scary at the same time. Since then, Janelle has been impressed with not only how much Glory knows, but also how supported she’s felt in learning how to work with this new partner.
Janelle now enjoys being out more and relying on others less, with Glory always by her side. Thinking of her time without an assistance dog, she says, “I was much more housebound. My biggest thing was being able to get out and be more active.” Janelle laughs that she can do more and build strength because Glory enables her to by retrieving items or reaching places that used to endanger Janelle. In their home, Glory has a special tug attached to a cord that, when pulled, it alerts an emergency contact for additional help. She can retrieve Janelle’s phone for her, pick up low objects, and tug heavy or low doors. Janelle shares, “She gives me a sense of security. I have more faith that I can actually do something.”
Past, Present, and Future Thanks
Janelle is already an ambassador in the community, happily answering questions and encouraging others to explore the possibility of having an assistance dog if they feel it’s right for their situation. She notes that the process of training an assistance dog and later training the clients is truly incredible and appreciated. She feels “the impact of being able to live a life that is totally engaged. For me, it’s the gratitude I feel for the people who have supported Can Do Canines that enable people like me to live a more fulfilled life.”