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Recipient Anita, a Navy Veteran, has narcolepsy, mobility issues, and sensory deficits in her legs and feet that make navigating certain surfaces very difficult. Before being paired with her Guardian Angels Service Dog, Comet in 2020, she said that getting around in her daily life was a constant challenge.
Comet was trained to assist her with multiple issues. He was fitted with an ergonomic harness to better assist Anita with walking, bracing, and balance. If she falls, he performs the bracing skill to help her get back up, as well as helping her if she needs assistance as she sits down or gets up from a seated position. He also helps her wake up by kissing her on the cheek when having an episode of Narcolepsy.
Additionally, Comet helps Anita while out in public by shielding, which is a service dog’s non-aggressive way of creating a boundary to keep people from getting too close, which prevents them from bumping into her, possibly causing a fall. Due to previous surgeries, her spine is fused and equipped with hardware that does not allow her to bend normally, resulting in a harder fall than the average person.
“He’s made it so much easier for me. It makes it easier for me to go to the grocery store or go shopping and recently to attend a Guardian Angel function to raise money for a veteran here in Louisiana,” said Anita. With Comet’s help, Anita has also been able to start traveling again and attend family functions. She has also been able to combat the events caused by her narcolepsy that can occur while driving. During these episodes, Comet will whine or lick at Anita until she pulls over. She said in the two years she has had Comet, she has not experienced any serious incidents.
Comet also applies pressure to assist Anita during an anxiety or panic attack, where he places his body across her abdomen and chest area to help shorten the attacks.
“I don’t know where I would be at if I didn’t have him. If I can just inspire someone to donate or help someone understand or relate, maybe they know someone who could use help with a service dog, then it’s all worth it. Comet makes it so much easier to be more productive and independent in life and do what I need to do,” said Anita.