A young woman has spoken out about how her service dog transformed her life and helped her overcome her disabilities by acting as her right hand.
As 31-year-old Sally Whitney from Brighton, East Sussex, explained, Ethan the Labrador helps her fetch clothes, bring food, and even pay for the shopping. Besides these tasks, the dog also helps her out with dozens of small chores at home.
Sally is suffering from severe seizures that can last up to several hours per fit. While she had always relied on carers to get around in the past, she now feels more free and independent thanks to Ethan’s presence.
“I cannot imagine my life without Ethan – he helps me from the moment I get up until the moment I go to bed and he is with me all night,” Whitney admitted.
“In the morning he helps me in the bathroom – I have a shower and he will close the door behind me. If I drop the shampoo, he picks it up and he gets me my towel. Then he goes into the bedroom, opens the drawer and gets out my pants – he always goes for the pink lacy ones.
“What is impressive is when we get home, I’ll say ‘Ethan, boots.’ He waddles over and you can see him thinking he has to put the boots down before he can open the door and pick them up again.
“Then he will take his own jacket off – he undoes the Velcro, takes it off and puts it away.”
As it happens, Ethan has an impressive vocabulary and is always ready to assist Sally when she needs him. From calling the lift to helping with laundry, this pooch helps the wheelchair-bound lady in countless ways.
“It is amazing – I say ‘purse’ and he goes into my bag, finds my card and then jumps up onto my knee. I say ‘touch’ and he leans over to pay. He is very excited when it goes beep,” Sally added.
“Then I ask him to get the receipt and he breaks it off with his mouth. Everyone claps and he does this pose and pricks his ears up. He absolutely loves attention.
“If I jerk, pass out or fall, he will leave the room and get help from my carer or my husband Ed. Because of the bond between Ethan and I, he is more perceptive to my symptoms than I am.
“Recently I was in the bathroom and for some reason, he started nudging my face, threw open the bathroom door and found my carer. Then I became dizzy and just when I was about to fall, my carer arrived and caught me.”
Speaking of her beloved Ethan who changed her life forever, Sally said:
“Before Ethan came along, I was pitied or invisible. Some people would say ‘you are too beautiful to be in a wheelchair’ and ask me why I was disabled.
“But Ethan is that stepping stone in between; he draws people to me which means I can have proper conversations with other adults that don’t surround my illness.”
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