Hello friends and family,
Many, many thanks for your support, in all its various guises. Thanks to a charitable foundation, the remainder of Bunter’s training and care costs until his/our graduation have been fully covered!
Follow or visit Bunter’s Instagram page @bunter.boy where his trainer posts videos and photos;
Videos showing aspects of the service dog training process can be found at the facility’s Service Dog Training page;
Learn more about the differences among service dogs, working dogs, and therapy dogs at this American Kennel Club link
Purpose: A service dog will greatly improve my quality of life, mobility, and independence. Bunter will be trained to respond to my dystonic seizures/falls, help me stay balanced while walking, and learn many other behaviors and skills to help me stay safe inside my home when alone and, we hope, that will better enable me to go out in public, perhaps even unaccompanied.
My Disability Story: On February 15, 2017, the day after my 46th birthday, I awoke to great pain in the lower half of my body, arms, back, and neck. We eventually learned I had suffered a post-viral immunity attack disrupting my body’s ability to send signals through my central nervous system (transverse myelitis) and that my prognosis was uncertain.
By 2019, as many aspects of my central nervous system had significantly declined, I was forced to retire. Since then, unpredictable, full-body dystonic episodes that affect my sensory, speech, mobility, and other neurological processes became my new normal, greatly limiting my ability to venture outside my home.
Current status and symptoms: My current formal disagnoses are progressive white matter disease and generalized functional dystonia, plus some lingering long-term effects from the initial TM demyelination incident.
My symptoms usually require me to use a cane or walking poles when I leave the house; sometimes, I need a wheelchair; I am pretty much always reliant on another person to respond to a dystonic attack and its fallout. If alone, I can remain contorted and rigid in extremely uncomfortable positions—sometimes for hours.
I share certain common clinical traits with MS and other demyelination disease patients: sensitivity to sensory input and sensory changes such as noise, light, heat, movement in my vicinity, and weather changes; uncontrollable muscle contractions which cause contortions throughout my body; speech difficulties/loss; and bouts of lassitude.
My various glitches vary in intensity, frequency, and duration. Sometimes I can seem practically symptom-free, sometimes I walk like a backup dancer from the Thriller music video, and sometimes, I’m a pretzel—or just stuck, frozen in any sort of position while my neurological system tries to connect the dots. I spend most of the time alone, and I can’t help myself, so Bunter is being trained in techniques to respond to my dystonic attack, to stay with me when I collapse, and provide mobility assistance.
Training Timeline: Bunter was born on March 7, 2022. (That’s actually him in the photo.) Currently, he’s fostering with a trainer and her family, getting socialized and trained in basic skills. At about ten months of age, he will return to the facility for specialized training. When he completes his final exams, usually about age 1.5 to 2 years old, he and I will begin training together until we graduate. Doggie Do Good will provide any subsequent training and refreshers throughout the course of the dog’s life, as my disorder develops or changes.
Any donation to the Bunter Fund will make an impact. Thanks in advance for your contribution, and for taking the time to read about the changes to my life lo, these past five years.