My first foray into the world of the “disabled” began in my early 20s after a car crash in high school left my left ankle in pieces. Year after year, I underwent multiple orthopedic surgeries trying to improve my ankle. I worked full time and tried to lead an independent life. My condition worsened as a result of repeated trauma to my leg. I had to quit work in 2000. The pain was so great I could do nothing but try to take care of my daily needs. I tried to find out what was wrong with me.
I finally found a doctor who could give me a name for the pain. Chronic regional pain syndrome is a little-known, rare neurological disorder caused by trauma to the body. I was also diagnosed with fybromyalgia. A double whammy.
I was told about service dogs by an acupuncturist treating me. I did my research and found Canine Partners for Life (CPL) in Cochranville, PA.
The day I went to CPL, my life changed. I had hope. I was paired with the most amazing yellow Lab named Bonz. He changed everything for me. Slowly over the next 9 years he helped me find a life worth living. In 2014, I had to retire Bonz due to changes in my mobility and his many years of love, companionship, and dedicated work. I was bereft.
With CPL’s unwavering support, I was teamed up with a new canine partner named Uncle Ed. He is quite a bit larger and taller so he can help keep me upright. I have now been able to go back to work part time and I now lead a well-rounded, fulfilling life.
Without the help of CPL and these two beautiful service dogs, I do not think I could have pulled myself back up. Thanks to my two boys and to CPL!