All through my life I had always been an anxious and depressed child. As I got older it it seemed to get worse. At the age of 25 I moved out on my own. It was one of the most amazing feelings…for a while. As much as I loved being on my own, I couldn’t handle going out and doing the things that I needed to do such as grocery shopping, roller derby, or even exercising. I became agoraphobic. I spent six months of my life cooped up in my house without any food or drinks. I would go to my mom’s house every day just to eat. I lost about 20 pounds and was also put on antidepressants at this time. Unfortunately, I had a bad reaction to the antidepressants that landed me in the psychiatric hospital. I spent about 13 days in there. When I was released I was no longer allowed to live on my own and had to give up my apartment. So I ended up living with my parents. One of the big discussions during this time was what treatment am I to do now? I have been on medication throughout my whole life and it never helped, had bad side effects, or I didn’t have doctors that paid attention fully or cared.
This is when we decided to take a step in the direction we had never been before. With the permission of my family we started looking for service dog companies. We ended up finding one that was local and was relatively inexpensive compared to big companies. But it was still an expense. I was in the program for about three years. And had to spend about a total of $6,000 on training and a dog.
It was worth it!
For the first time in my life I was able to go out to a restaurant by myself sit down and have dinner. I have been able to go grocery shopping on my own. I have been able to travel, go to my first pride, and talk to strangers more.
Now that I have my service dog Ellie and she is completely change my life, I have dedicated most of my time to help fund raise for people who need service dogs that can’t afford it.
I know that without my girl with me by my side I would not be alive today.
Story submitted by DeAnna.