A note from Nicole:
Meet Watson: a 2 year old, 70 lbs. black lab, a service dog trained by NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans, and my newest family member. This special addition to my family has blessed me with the luxury of living my life with independence and safety while adding his own personality. Watson and I met only 32 days after my tethered cord surgery this summer. Since then, I have learned what it is like to care for another being. This has made me look at my life and modify it in a way that best serves the both of us. Some people might say that the changes I’ve made in my life add too many extra daily tasks to a life that is already interesting to say the least, but I cannot begin to explain the enjoyment and rewards that Watson is able to give me. He makes sure I go outside and get fresh air many times a day. He keeps my mind thinking of new and creative ways to keep organized and prepared for both of our needs. But these are not things he was trained to do, but an added bonus that I have found. Even without these bonuses, Watson would still take the cake as the most handsome helper. Even when he is exhausted or completely asleep, as soon as I say his name, he is up and ready to help me with anything and everything I need. He opens and closes doors for me, can fetch me food and water from my fridge, is able to help me stand without my walker, letting me use him to steady myself. Watson can pull my walker to me, turn light switches on and off, and press elevator and handicap buttons. He can pick up and give me any and all objects that I drop, from a water bottle, to a pen, to a credit card. Watson also puts his own toys away! Watson makes every day for me an adventure. Having EDS, POTS, RSD, and everything else is an adventure that I never wanted, but in a very special way, having these conditions has given me the amazing privilege of owning Watson, just like the fact that I would never have met so many of my friends if I didn’t have these conditions. Watson has made me feel safe since the day I met him. Even earlier this week, he helped me back into my house as I was having an asthma attack and later that week stared at me constantly until I realized the medication I needed to take. I cannot wait to go to college and continue to build my relationship with him as he will continue to help me while I study Social Work and Health Policy and Management. And because of TCAPP’s amazing generosity, my path towards getting Watson has been easier. TCAPP has given me so much since I met them. Watson and I are living, breathing, and panting proof that TCAPP is achieving its goals of helping people in chronic pain in any way they can.