“I’d been married seven years when everything changed. I woke up one morning and I couldn’t pick up my foot,” recalls Nancy. “For thirty years I was very able bodied.”
After weeks of trying to determine a cause, doctors diagnosed Nancy with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive and fatal neurological disease, and gave her only a few years to live.
“Sometimes, you reach a point when you just can’t cope anymore,” explains Nancy. “I was resentful of the circumstances and fearful for the future, but my husband, Ramesh, stuck by my side through all of it.”
And, because Nancy survived, the neurologists had time to reevaluate her diagnosis and determine that she didn’t have ALS after all, but rather a neuromuscular disease without such a dire prognosis. But the thing that really helped Nancy pull through this ordeal had a cold nose and a warm heart — a Canine Companions for Independence® assistance dog.
“When I got my first service dog in 1994, my world was completely changed,” says Nancy. “There are never enough words to express how much Canine Companions service dogs have changed my life and how much they mean to me.”
All four of Nancy’s service dogs have helped Nancy live more independently by opening doors, picking up dropped items and pulling her wheelchair. Our dogs are trained in 40 commands to help make life easier, but they also provide unconditional love.
“I know I can never repay Canine Companions for what they have given me. But my husband and I are a long way from where we were,” explains Nancy. “These dogs truly create life-changing experiences. Ramesh and I will be leaving our legacy to Canine Companions.” Nancy and her husband are also Monthly Miracle Makers, donors that give monthly gifts easily and conveniently.
“People think, ‘I believe in the cause, I should do something,’ but then they forget to send in a donation. Giving monthly just makes sense!” advises Nancy. “It makes sense for the organization and for the donors! It’s a huge benefit for Canine Companions to have a steady flow of money coming in all year long.”
“I think anyone who has gone through trauma or become disabled is scarred in some way — whether it is a spinal cord injury or one of our veterans who was wounded,” says Nancy. “Canine Companions for Independence service dogs help bring us back out of our shell. They help us start living in the world again.”