Paws for Service

My name is Riley.  I'm a Service Dog Cadet being trained by Speak Dog, LLC in Richalnd, WA for a veteran with Traumatic Brain Injury.  I'm really excited about my job and am working hard to learn what I need to know to help my partner.   I'm almost done with training now. We train together a lot.  I know how to recognize when I need to "block" a person who is coming too close and I'm a pro at "bracing" to help when she's off-balance.   She also gets overwhelmed by too much sensory input. It's like being knocked over by an ocean wave and tumbled and it hurts her head, too.  I've never been to the ocean but I know what it's like to get tumbled.  I know when it's happening and "nudge" her or even lead her away if I have to.  I'm a smart dog to do that! When I started training, we didn't know she was having seizures.  They're weird.  She becomes totally unaware of her surroundings and gets really disoriented.  They're called "complex partial" seizures.  I know something weird is happening and tell her before.  I also help after by reorienting her. 

There's a few more things I still have to learn:

How to check the house so she knows no one is there; how to get help if needed; bring the inhaler (still practicing).  I guess she only shops at one store right now.  She knows where everything is, so it's not overwhelming.  When I'm with her, she can go into WalMart for a little while.  I know when people are too close and stand between them and my handler so she doesn't get crowded or bumped.  This is only part of what I'm learning to do!


I can help her have a better life.

After my TBI, my entire life changed.  Two weeks before, I ran a marathon.  For nine months after, I could barely balance enough to walk, never mind run.  I managed to run again, even with the occasional face-plant.  I have to avoid loud or busy roads and other areas that have too much stimulation.  Going to a store, fair, concert, or other activity requires a lot of planning.  And ear plugs to block the noise, a hat to reduce sensory stimulation, sunglasses for ongoing light sensitivity.  If it's really crowded or loud, a friend to make sure I get out of there safely if I am overwhelmed.  My life has narrowed to part time work, home, one running path, the gym, and a few stores I can shop in alone.  Even these activities take a toll, migraines, stress, fatigue, fear, anxiety, constant vigilance.  I hope Riley can help me get my life back just that little bit more.  Be more independent and able to enjoy some of the activities I did before that I had to give up (so far) because of brain injury.

training a service dog is expensive.  His basic board and train fees are $2000 a month.  It will take at least 9 months to train him.  Then, he has testing fees. Outfitting him with equipment.  Routine vetting (his neutering was donated).  His entire training will cost about $24k.   
Please help me bring Riley home!

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Organizer

Lydia Hales 
Organizer
College Place, WA
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