• My Experience

    A Year of Crush

    This year has been a complete whirlwind. Almost exactly a year ago, I found out that I was matched with my service dog. That day was filled with so many emotions. Above all else, I was excited. That excitement came with fear and fear came with grief. Last year, my chronic illness had completely overtaken my life. I had withdrawn from my Fall semester. I had been hospitalized several times in one year, including a couple trips to the ICU. I had lost a lot of hope. Then came Crush.  I felt very adamant that a service dog would be right for my life. After doing extensive research and applying…

  • My Experience

    A Photoshoot with Crush

    It was incredibly important to me to document my first year anniversary with Crush. He has completely changed my life. If you want to read more about that, check out the “Crush” or “Service Dog” tab in the cloud below. I also have an article coming out on Friday which is a year in review with Crush by my side. Anyway, I wanted to document how important he is to me. What better way to do that than getting photos taken together? I wanted to share them here with you because they make my heart absolutely soar. I hope they make you smile! I hope your day is amazing. I…

  • Helpful Hints

    The Difference Between ESAs and Service Dogs

    This topic has been especially relevant to me lately. Two separate times in the past month, this has come up. I want to clarify that emotional support animals and service dogs are not the same thing. In fact, they aren’t in the same realm. Emotional support animals are exactly what they sound like. They provide emotional support. The only rights they have are to live in buildings that don’t allow pets. They have absolutely no public access rights. Why is this? To qualify to be an ESA your animal requires no training. They are simply approved by your mental health professional or a medical professional. If you register them online,…

  • My Experience

    My Can Do Canines Story

    A couple weeks ago, I had an amazing opportunity. Can Do Canines, the organization that gave me Crush asked me to be part of a fundraising video. The concept was very simple, they wanted to hear my story. This opportunity meant a lot to me. Crush has given me so much of my life back. I cannot thank Can Do Canines enough nor say enough good things about them. I was grateful to be given this chance to give back to an organization that has changed my life so much. I wanted to share it here to give a more in depth explanation about what he does for me. Please…

  • My Experience

    Travelling with Crush

    A few weeks ago, Crush and I went on a trip. This was a milestone for us. It was our first time travelling together. I didn’t know what to expect. We were travelling over 500 miles and spending over eight hours in the car. I wanted to ensure both Crush and I were taken care of. I made sure to stop every few hours so Crush could get out, potty, and walk around. It was nice because I also got to do all of those things. I gave him water and kept the air on high to keep him comfortable. Of course, that means I was bundled up like the…

  • Helpful Hints

    Should You Get a Service Dog?

    Before I got Crush, there was so much I didn’t know. I did hours upon hours of research trying to figure out if a service dog was right for me. It’s all about your condition and lifestyle. My dysautonomia makes it difficult for me to balance and bend down to pick things up. Crush’s tasks mitigate that really well. He has a hard harness and is trained to get anything and everything off the floor for me. To go through all of what Crush does for me would take a long time. Here’s what I considered before getting a service dog. Your Condition Like I said earlier, Crush aids my…

  • My Experience

    I Still Get Nervous…

    Let me start off by saying, bringing Crush places, in general, doesn’t make me nervous. It makes me feel safe. He provides a lot of mitigation for my symptoms. He also helps take care of me when those symptoms are too much. I had a situation come up last week that made me question my own stigma. I needed to go car shopping. Out of respect for the dealers, I chose not to bring Crush. Although it is legal for Crush to be with me, I know how annoying it is to clean dog hair out of cars. Since Crush didn’t go with me to shop, I felt awkward bringing…

  • Helpful Hints,  My Experience

    STOP INTERACTING WITH SERVICE DOGS

    The general public rarely has the opportunity to interact with service dogs. There are thousands of service dogs working throughout the United States. Most people don’t know how to interact with them. I’m going to explain why Crush and I need space in public. In addition, I will talk about why in general you shouldn’t interact with service dogs when they are working.Crush is with me in public to do a job. He is my lifeline. When my blood pressure or heart rate gets too low, he alerts me. When I’m starting to itch the precursor to a life-threatening allergy attack, he alerts me. His job in public to help…

  • Helpful Hints

    How to Keep Your Service Dog Occupied in Quarantine

    If your service dog is anything like Crush, they have a lot of energy. I’m lucky to be in close contact with the organization that gave me Crush. They have been proactive about coming up with helpful solutions to doggy boredom. They’re not all perfect but I’ll take what I can get. So here are some ways to keep your dog occupied and trained during quarantine.  Keep Training Crush knows a lot but there’s always more to be learned. I want him to be able to know objects by name. When I say get “XYZ” he’ll know what I’m talking about instead of having to point and direct him to…

  • My Experience

    Calming My Anger and Resentment

    In the past two weeks, I’ve been excessively angry. I have regressed from the mental state of radical acceptance. I have become filled with resentment. I’m actively working to remedy this change, as I don’t like the effects anger has on me. I like feeling warm and cozy within my body and anger doesn’t provide that home. This anger has been focused on individuals who don’t interact well with Crush. It’s rare that I encounter people that are rude or unpleasant towards Crush. Rather it’s people who are overly excited about seeing a dog that have the ability to ruin my day. When I say they ruin my day, I…