Zoe Batman got the gold when matching it Labrador objection help dogSheila. After her final diagnosis of Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), Zoe knew that her furry girlfriend was just the ticket to help get her back on the right track.
“Sheila changed my life in a matter of hours,” says 28-year-old Zoe the citizens From her family’s home in Reading. “She fainted shortly after she arrived and woke up to find her curled up next to me. She’s been by my side ever since. Knowing she has always been there is such a relief.”
A disability can make routine tasks more difficult and make it necessary for individuals to adapt their curriculum. Zoe, who also has a circulatory disorder and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, faced new challenges when she moved from crutches to a wheelchair. “My hands are particularly bad, so I leave things off often. If my hand day is bad, I can drop my phone 100 times. Sometimes my arm is paralyzed, which means my brain forgets my arm is there.”
Sheila makes everyday tasks less stressful. Trained by Dogs Do Good, she knows exactly what to look for when Zoe needs her most.
“I’ve learned to bring my phone the moment I fainted. She’ll make sure I’m safe. She brings a pillow or a toy to calm me down, something I decided to do.” Sheila also helps push the footplate on Zoe’s wheelchair, open doors, get dressed, and cleverly helps with the laundry by picking up clothes and putting them in the basket. It’s no surprise that Zoe called her “Wonder Dog.”
Remarkably, Sheila has learned to recognize the signs that Zoe is about to faint. “This is something I didn’t even know. Sometimes I feel a little fuzzy, so I can’t think properly. Sheila has worked it out and she’s going to keep me from standing. She’ll insist so hard that I stay seated. It’s saved me more times than I know.”
But Sheila not only practically helps. It’s the boost Zoe needed to regain her confidence. “The only thing that has really changed is my level of confidence when I leave the house. Sheila has helped me feel less lonely and less anxious. It’s a great relief and a pleasure to have.”
Now that Zoe has a helping hand, she can also wear her favorite dresses again. “All of my clothes were too flimsy, too dark and too big for me because they were so easy to put on and take off. Now that Sheila helps me, I can wear more of my old clothes. It helps me feel human again.”
Service dogs play a vital role in the lives of people with disabilities. across the UK, Dogs do good Helped more than 1,800 families through their Family Dog service, support 250 existing assistance dog partnerships, and receive a whopping 5,000 inquiries each year about their services. We know that dog owners have improved mental health from owning a pet, but for people with disabilities, it’s about much more than that.
As with any new dog, there were also some teething issues when Sheila first arrived. Zoe explains, “Most of the difficulties were with introducing her to the cat! A lot of the difficulties come with a dog arriving and all of a sudden she’s practicing cat versus dog behavior.” “I also had to learn how to learn. Every dog learns differently. When I was teaching her about my crutches, I quickly learned that if she did something halfway, she would still get rewarded. She is very smart and very clever!”
Sheila has become more than just a pet. She’s a life-changing and life-saving wonder dog who has helped Zoe live each day to his full potential. And it’s more proof of how wonderful dogs are in our lives.
For more information about Dogs Do Good, visit Dogforgood.org.