Payson's Mobility Assist Service Dog

Payson has POTS and needs a mobility service dog to help her be an active teenager living life with a chronic illness.

POTS is a condition that effects the body’s autonomic system which controls heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, digestion, pupil dilation, and other body actions that we don’t consciously control.  With POTS, the autonomic system does not work correctly to manage all the components of the body’s system.  POTS is often referred to as an “invisible illness” because individuals with POTS often don’t look sick.

Payson was diagnosed with POTS January 2014 after first becoming sick August 2013.  Symptoms vary among individuals with POTS. Payson’s symptoms include:  extreme dizziness, fainting, chronic fatigue, chronic joint pain, stomach aches, digestion issues, headaches, difficulty regulating body temperature, and difficulty sleeping.  For Payson, every day actions and activities take a lot of exertion, concentration, and effort.  That makes being a teenager that much more difficult. 

In order to help Payson regain some control over her life, we have been working with Leslie Horton of Most Fine Canine.  Leslie trains service dogs.  Watson, one of Leslie’s service dogs in training, is a 2 year old German Shepard rescue.  After being assessed for temperament and health, Leslie introduced Watson to Payson.

Watson will be a mobility service dog for Payson meaning that he will help her get around despite her dizziness, fatigue, and pain.  When she faints, he will stay with her until she is ready to get up.  Watson will go everywhere with Payson- to school, to doctors appointments, to the Rock School, and eventually to college.

Training Watson will take a lot of time, effort, and money.  Leslie has already started training him to meet Payson’s needs.  It will take approximately two years, many hours, and many community trips for Payson and Watson to learn to work together.  The total cost will be between $15,000-$17,000 and is not covered by insurance. 

It is hard to see your child suffer with a chronic illness.  We don’t want to let POTS get her in way or prevent her from living a full, active life.  Having Watson with her will help her live that life and together they will follow her dreams.
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Organizer

Laurel Manthey-Silvio 
Organizer
Frederick, MD
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