What do you think the biggest benefit of having a service dog is?
His help has been more than just opening and closing doors, getting the phone, calling for help, pulling off clothes and socks, and pressing buttons. Pantin is a bridge builder. When people are uncertain as to how they should react towards disabled people, he works as an icebreaker. People ask questions about him when they initially talk to me.
He is also a great spastic pain reliever. Having a higher body temperature, he seems to sense when I have spasms and tries to comfort me by snuggling up to me and sharing his body warmth. His sensitivity is incredible. He intuitively interrupts me mid-sentence when he feels that whatever I’m saying is getting me worked up and upsetting me. He’s always trying to protect me from things that could worsen my condition or behaviour that could harm me.
Pantin showing different ways of opening/shutting doors. This is especially handy when you’re in a wheelchair. – Karin
Would you recommend getting a service dog to other MS patients? Why?
Yes. Le Copain sees the benefit of fairly mobile people recieving an assistance dog. Dogs keep people with MS more physically active. Not only does a service dog help MS patients get out of the house, but you have someone there in good and bad times, including relapses. With a service dog, you continue to grow as a team and adapt to circumstances as they occur.
Service dogs make such a positive difference to daily life. There are many reasons to feel sad about having MS, but having such a wonderful companion and assistant makes it much better. I have acquired a best friend for life.
Pantin unloading the tumble dryer. He does the same with the washing machine.
What else do you want people to know about service dogs?
You never should stroke an assistance dog even if it’s lying quietly next to its master, as the dog is still alert and working. He or she is watching for any important signals that his master may need help. Petting a service dog can distract him/her from their very important job.
How has Pantin changed your life?
Pantin gives me unconditional love regardless of my mood. Once during a relapse, I started to drop things quite often, and Pantin was suddenly next to me holding the spoon I dropped without me even saying anything, just standing there looking up at me. It’s as if he was trying to remind me that things weren’t so bad and that he was there for me.
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