Mike was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. Symptoms primarily affect his left side. He has difficulty using his left hand to grasp heavy or small items, so he uses his right arm, with his left being his “helping hand.” His balance is limited due to decreased mobility in his left leg, and he tends to trip easily. If he falls, it becomes a dangerous situation since he has a hard time getting himself back to a safe position.
Despite these constant threats to his safety, Mike’s determination to adapt enabled him to maintain employment and a sense of independence. He’s able to move about without adaptive equipment, but he recently discovered that an assistance dog was just the right fit for his life. Mike’s cousin first introduced the idea for an assistance dog, and an Internet search brought Mike to Can Do Canines. He applied for a Mobility Assist Dog in hopes of enhancing his quality of life to make it even better. He was soon matched with the endearing Ellie.
Ellie is a 2-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever whose greatest joy in life is just making her person happy. Her soft and kind demeanor are a perfect match for Mike, and the two have learned to support each other in all of their new adjustments to a flourishing partnership. Before Ellie, Mike struggled to carry bulky or multiple things. Ellie allows him to save his energy by tugging his laundry basket to him or bringing along items he can’t carry. In public, Ellie will retrieve Mike’s keys, wallet, or any object he’s shopping for. Having Ellie to pick up and bring items to his hand means not compromising his balance to lean and reach for it. By tugging heavy or lower doors, she provides the same kind of security for him. Ellie loves accompanying Mike as much as possible, and Mike feels the same. He’s been happy for their team from the first day.
Grateful for the Past, Excited for the Future
Mike was thrilled to celebrate the milestone of certification and is thankful for Ellie’s puppy raisers and everyone that made her possible. He shares about his experience so far, “Everything’s been fun. She’s amazing!”
Mike’s dad has had the most interaction with the team and has been supportive of the training process. He recognizes all the people in Ellie’s history as well as those who contribute to Can Do Canines’ growth saying, “Thank you for everything you guys do, thank you so much!”