When I hit life's 3rd decade is when my dance with my diagnosis really came to life. My 30's has been filled with a variety of health adventures. In the past 8 years, I have navigated a variety of diagnoses ranging from Sepsis to Muscoskeletal Connective Disorder all on top of the original diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. In navigating this unique journey, I have had to make some adjustments in my life to maintain my independence: a mobility scooter, a Braunability van for my scooter and house alterations to make things easy and comfortable for me.
As I continue to make the necessary adjustments, changes to live my most independent life possible, I am still in need of support. This is where my Canine friend, Linden comes in. When I adopted Linden, it was with the intention of training him as my Mobility Dog. A mobility dog is defined as a dog who focuses on helping people with physical disabilities, especially those who have walking or balance problems. When a dog is going to serve as a service dog it has to go through 4 different training phases. With the assistance of an in-home trainer, I was able to train Linden through Phase 1. We have found a local trainer, Rebecca Golian of Love in the Lead Canine Training to assist Linden and I with Phases 2-4. Linden will have to live with Rebbecca in her home for 4 months total via a board and train program for the remaining phases. We will begin Phase 2 in January 2020, followed by Phase 3 in May 2020.
When Linden is done training, he will be able to assist me in my daily life with tasks ranging from opening doors for me when I am on my scooter in public. Helping me around the house to maintain my balance. If I fall, Linden will be able to assistme in getting up in a safe manner. He will be able to retrieve items for me. For venues or rainy days where my scooter is not a viable resource, Linden will be able to assist me up and down stairs, maintain balance in public spaces, and ensure that I am not pushing myself too hard. I am excited to have Linden trained in this manner. It will allow me to maintain healthy independence with support while I am in public or while I am at home. For Linden it gives him a purpose, he is a Terrier/Shepard mix. He is a working dog by nature. I am learning through our continued phase 1 training having him as my service dog, will expand his life in extraordinary ways.
Unfortunately, this type of medical support is not covered by Health Insurance or Disability Insurance. As a result, I am turning to my community for support, and I am using Go Fund Me to assist us with the training expenses. These expenses cover Linden's time with Rebecca and Love in the Lead Canine Training. As stated before, Linden will be participating in a board and train program. The cost of the board a train per month is approximately $2800. Linden will be a part of the board and train program for 4 months. After these 4 months, Linden and I will be fully trained and ready to take our tests: The Canine Good Citizen Certification, The Canine Good Citizen Community Certification, and The Public Access Test. Once we have received all 3 certifications, Linden will be registered with the state of North Carolina as a Service Dog. It is my goal to ensure the best success for Linden and the best support for myself. To achieve this goal, it is necessary that we have Linden and myself trained by a professional.
I am filled with joy, when I think of how having a Mobility Dog in Linden will enrich my life and allow me to stay independent. I am even more excited to invite everyone on this journey with both Linden and myself. Stay tuned for updates :).
With Lots of Love & Deep Gratitude,
Brandy and Linden