It’s hard to believe that Amy Kainz and Mobility Assistance Dog Rebel have been “officially” together for only a few weeks. They’ve visited malls, restaurants, gone to movies and even the county fair where Rebel was “a rock star.” Amy is a wife and mom who enjoys going to her children’s activities, crafting, and volunteering her time. She also lives with progressive multiple sclerosis and needs help retrieving dropped items, opening and closing doors and needs stability if she falls.
There’s a growing bond between Amy and Rebel. They seem very comfortable and Rebel is getting used to Amy’s soft-spoken but firm commands. Rebel affords Amy “extra security and a sense of peace to my family.” Rebel also give Amy a sense of confidence when she’s out on her own without her family.
Family approval is an important part of what Amy imparted to us in her interview. For her, contemplating the acquisition of a Mobility Assist Dog was not her decision alone. Her family would be hugely impacted by a new family member and she wanted to make sure that all were onboard. She is quick to point out that her kids were really her helping hands, picking things up and opening doors for her. She realized an assistance animal ideally could do the same, especially when her kids were back in school. So, after chatting with her occupational therapist and a few people who had assistance dogs at the Multiple Sclerosis Convention, she decided to apply to Can Do Canines.
Some of Rebel’s natural smarts have begun to become specific to Amy’s needs. Rebel gets Amy out of bed in the morning and she credits him for being “the reason I get up.” He is super great about picking things up for her and is developing his skills in taking Amy’s socks off (per her request.)
The journey from expressing interest in an assistance dog to actual acquisition, certification and graduation is a long one, but Amy urges anyone who is considering it to have patience. “The right dog will be there when you’re ready and when they’re ready.” She also suggests that while you’re waiting, be curious about having an assistance dog! Talk with people who have an assistance dog and learn about mutual expectations and what’s going well for them. Accepting responsibility for an assistance dog is a huge commitment on both ends.
Amy is eternally grateful to all of the folks at Can Do Canines and says, “It’s a life-changing addition.”
It’s very clear that this Rebel has a cause and her name is Amy.
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Puppy Raiser—The Inmate Handlers at the Federal Correction Institution at Sandstone