Determination has driven Patty to stay productive and active, but health concerns started occurring that led to a life-changing medical discovery. At first Patty experienced numbness in her left hand. This eventually led to her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis.
She stayed ambulatory as long as possible until her condition affected her ability to walk. In her New Richmond, WI home, Patty often uses her walker, but on outings and at work, she uses her motorized scooter. In doing so, she struggles to get items beyond her reach and is in danger of falling if she leans too far.
When Patty saw several Can Do Canines teams at her physical therapy, her husband, Jim, encouraged her to pursue the application process.
A Lot of Care in a Little Dog
A 2-year-old black Labrador Retriever named Daphne swooped into Patty’s life, eagerly ready for her new adventure of helping her person. Daphne is ever-attentive and—though she is smaller-sized for her breed—she is a compact bundle of love.
Patty was nervous at first about being able to keep up with her smart girl but says she and Daphne have built confidence in each other. Daphne picks up items throughout the house, from towels in the bathroom to pens in the office to spoons in the kitchen. When Patty is relying on her rolling walker, Daphne can pull open doors that are extremely difficult to navigate with mobility equipment. She does the same super-skill when Patty is in her motorized scooter and cannot easily access opening her house door.
If Patty is in a situation that requires additional help, Daphne can run to retrieve an emergency phone and bring it back to her, even opening the door to the bathroom to do so. Patty shares that the training is ongoing but becoming a more natural dynamic. It’s shifting from practice to true work. Daphne offers now to pick up things and hand them specifically to Patty, always ready to do more that matters.
Jim expresses it’s not that Patty can’t do things, but Daphne can do it for her to reduce risk and stress. He feels better about giving her more space or being able to leave her with Daphne, knowing she has levels of security in place thanks to her canine caregiver.
Thankful for her Life-saving Sweetheart
Patty says “Daphne is a pure joy and helper that just amazes me what she can do, and I’m very grateful for that.” Patty tells others about the process being a commitment but that it moved consistently to end with the right match. With praise and gratitude for everyone involved with Can Do Canines, she says, “It’s a great organization. Thank you for your support! It is life-changing, not only for me but for others with disabilities.”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Great Start Home: Ciara Nervick
Puppy Raiser: FCI Waseca
Special Thanks: Barb Verhage
Field Trainer: Andrea Szumowski
Whelping Home: Kolleen Herr
You: Thank you for your donations!