She’s Always by My Side
by Linda, recipient of ICAN dog Oakley
(Linda and Oakley are graduates of ICAN’s June, 2016 Graduation Class)
I currently have several disabilities that affect my life on a daily basis; which can change from intensity day to day. Oakley came into my life this past June of 2016. Oakley is a Lab/Golden Mix. She has added such joy and independence in my life.
Before Oakley, I would struggle with my mobility when walking and now she has to help me stay stable while walking. I have difficulties with getting up and down from a sitting position and her allowing me to “brace” to assist me in getting up more easily is wonderful. Oakley opens and shuts the refrigerator door while I retrieve and return items while I am preparing a meal or just morning coffee. She turns on lights to assist me when getting up in the early morning to get around safely.
Oakley knows well over forty (40) different commands and performs many of them daily to help assist me. We are currently working on learning to retrieve her toys she loves to place all over the floor in one room and place them in a basket her “toy box.” Oakley is doing GREAT with the training of this new command.
Oakley is so well behaved/trained that I have no concerns while we go to the doctor for appointments. Or when we go to the pharmacy or grocery store to pick up items. She even loves our trips to the Public Library and stays calm and by my side contently waiting for her next command to follow. Oakley does great with getting in and out of the vehicle and loves the ride.
My life is more complete with Oakley in it!!! She is loved and sleeps by my side every night (my choice). I recently fell outdoors and I let out a little yelp. She came to me immediately to make sure I was alright. I was bruised but there Oakley was to help me. Having a service animal has brought me more independence in getting out more and knowing she is there for me.
I may still have disabilities to deal with but having a service animal by my side makes me “able” to keep going daily.