Annie: A Very Special Helper
by Pam McClellan
(Yulee, FL, USA)
Hi my name is Pam and I am 57 years old amd I am disabled. I have too many things wrong with me to go into but just to let you know I can't bend to pick things up and my legs go numb without any warning, on top of this I have two types of seizures.
My friends kept telling me that a service dog would be a great help to me. So I finally gave in and went to watch the service dog classes of FSDS, I met with the instructor and we decided I would give this a try. Now over five years later I am telling you my story of how I met Annie.
Annie and I met about five years ago when I went to pick out a puppy to train as my brace and balance service dog praying and hoping for a seizure response dog and knowing I would never be able to afford a seizure detection dog. These dogs don't come along very often. Out of two litters of goldens this one little girl was very sure she was the one for me. After working with three other puppies we left for a while, when we came back the only puppy that came running to me was this little girl.
Even though she was not my first choice I decided to bring her home hoping this bond would help us in our training. I had trained dogs for obedience and breed for twenty years and only one other time had a puppy picked me out and that dog turned out to be one of the best dogs I ever had the pleasure to be owned by. Annie is the other one.
We began our training with Florida Service Dogs and when she was tested out by our instructor she told me she would not have picked Annie out for this job because she was going to be a hand full and I would have my job cut out for me trying to control her, Annie was so full of herself. I did not go in to the story of how Annie picked me. Well when Annie was three months old she was doing fine with our training but we did have our moments but we were beginning to have breakthroughs.
To make a long story shorter I went to a festival with my adult daughter and Annie was in harness walking proudly beside me, about half way through Annie broke out of place and came in front of me nudging me. Remembering we are new at this I thought she might have to go potty,but when I tried to walk on she would not move, I spoke firmly to her to get back in place but she would not let me budge, my daughter told me Mom she may be plcking up on you being tired, so we sat down for a few minutes and then tried to get up, she would not let me up, just a few seconds later I had a seizure. Thanks to Annie I was very close to the ground and did not hurt myself, my daughter told me Annie lay beside me until I woke up. She was four months old.
This was the beginning of our loving partnership. since then she has been fined tuned into a wonderful seizure response dog, Annie sensing the change in my chemistry before I have a seizure was not taught she is just that smart and close to me. Many seizures later I am one of the luckiest people on earth to belong to such a gifted service dog. My instructor was right she could be a handful from time to time but thank God she has matured out of most of that. Annie is a big girl at over a hundred pounds but very gentle. I am bedridden a lot of the time now and Annie takes good care of me, very rarely leaving my side. I will try at a later date to continue this and tell all of you the many funny moments we had growing up with Annie. But this time I wanted you all to know how lucky I am to have her in my life.
Editor's note: And we consider ourselves lucky that you submitted your story about this special dog - thank you, Pam!