Losing independence can be a tremendous and challenging adjustment for anyone. Dan is no exception. In 1998, a stroke caused paralysis of Dan’s right side. With determination and hard work, though, he jumped into physical therapy and continues to strive for consistent improvements. With his wife Natasha by his side, Dan does his best to remain active and still enjoy retirement, but the challenges of limited mobility caused by his stroke are a constant threat to his health.
After a neighbor who volunteers for Can Do Canines told Dan that assistance dogs may be a huge benefit to him, Dan chose to apply for a Mobility Assist Dog. His medications trigger random allergies, so he needed a hypoallergenic service dog, most likely a Poodle. The wait for a Poodle as a service dog is longer than the wait for a Lab, because we rely on donations from generous breeders to fill this need. Plus, not all of these dogs have the temperament for the demands of an assistance dog life. After waiting patiently for almost two years, Dan was matched with Jangle, a Standard Poodle.
Because the stroke affected the function in Dan’s right arm and leg, bending down to pick things up, sitting, standing, and getting up off the floor can be risky and take more energy. Jangle keeps Dan safe by retrieving items (especially his cane), tugging open lower drawers or heavy doors and pushing automated door buttons. Jangle also provides a brace skill, so Dan can lean on certain body points to get up from difficult seats or safely lower himself into chairs. In an emergency, he can use Jangle’s support to get off the ground. If he needs additional assistance, Dan cues Jangle to run and alert Natasha.
However, Dan is doing more these days without help from Natasha, who sees a noticeable difference with the new family member. She feels more secure watching Dan delegate tasks to Jangle. As Jangle learns more jobs and offers more attention the team continues to grow. Dan says Jangle “wants to learn and be involved. And he’s actually teaching us a lot, too!”
Grateful for Their “Bouquet Dog”
Dan wants to share with those who were involved with making his team possible, “I appreciate everything they’ve done for him. To me, it’s turned out to be a fantastic relationship with the dog, and they all had something to do with that.” Natasha says Jangle is “a bouquet of wonderful things that these people gave him,” and the couple is thrilled to continue supporting future teams from Can Do Canines.