How a Service Dog Changed This MS Patient’s Life

When did you start thinking about getting a service dog and why?
I’ve had dogs my whole life and because of my reduced physical capacity and my unsteadiness, I decided to apply for an assistance dog. Even just applying for a service dog filled me with hope and gave me the feeling that I would be able to cope with daily life.

This shows how Pantin opens a drawer. He gets out my “nappys” and shuts the drawer. He does this all while I sit on the toilet which is quite a long way from the drawer, but for ease, we filmed his behaviour from a shorter distance. – Karin

How did you find Pantin?
I found Pantin through an organization called Le Copain. They train assistance dogs and find them appropriate owners. After an initial interview and being given a resounding nod of approval by Pantin and the staff. I was invited to the dog training centre.

It’s important for the trainer to make sure that the dog and potential owner are a good match. In fact, I was introduced to two different dogs just to see how I fared with each one. Though it was clear quite quickly that Pantin had chosen me!  After working with him, he became reluctant to leave my side, and followed me everywhere. We “fell in love” with each other. This contact was just what I needed to renew my self-worth. His devotion and affection was evident.

Later I discoverd Pantin had been introduced to four people, who also loved his dashing good looks and appreciated his devotion. But Pantin was waiting for me — as far as he was concerned, I was the one!

MORE: How MRI scans are used to monitor multiple sclerosis

What kind of training has Pantin had?
Le Copain buys puppies from selected breeders. At eight weeks of age, they’re fostered to a family who is given the task of teaching basic commands and introducing them to all sorts of different surroundings. These “foster families” are given support and guidance by Le Copain. Before being admitted to training school, the puppies are all checked for good health and wellness. At 18 months of age, the dogs enter the vital school program, with professional trainers. Once they have learned all they need to help a disabled person, the dogs are then matched with a disabled partner when they are around two years of age. Once the match is made, the service dog and disabled partner take part in a two-week training program.

Pantin is pushing my “paralyzed” arm back on my lap with his nose, as it’s not good for a paralyzed arm to be hanging down for a long period of time. – Karin

One comment

  1. william nye says:

    I have had relapsing/ progressive ms for 35 years. Just in the last 10 have I noticed a progression of the disease to the point where I thought what a wonderful idea to have a service dog. Could you give me the ands ifs and buts of what contact in Florida/USA

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