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Animals: "Ilene" On You, You Lean On Me

Joined: 4/24/2015
Posts: 1
Dogs have always been an important part of my family. Before I was born, my oldest brother had a husky and even now he still has a love for them. When I was a little baby, we got a dog named Annie who was my best friend. I had a habit a lying on the floor with her and telling her all my secrets—the normal thing for two girls to do. Even at my grandparent’s house, my grandpa used to always tell his grandkids the story of his favorite dog that used to go to the grocery store with money and a list shoved in his collar and return with the needed groceries.

But it wasn’t until my brother signed up to get a service dog with Canine Companions that I realized how important dogs were. Unless you’ve owned a dog, you can’t understand how they complete the puzzle that is your family. Ilene was a piece of our puzzle that we needed.

My brother has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and because of that he has trouble doing things on his own. His muscles weaken every day, and that’s where Ilene comes in. With a simple command like, “Get!” Ilene can grab anything he may need. She can flush the toilet, turn off lights and she’ll even go to the bathroom on command. But I think her most important feature is her empathy.

Even though she can’t understand what he’s feeling, she knows when he’s upset. She’ll rest her head on his lap and stare at him with big eyes until he can’t help but smile. Living with a disease that ultimately kills you by your mid-twenties is terrible enough, but at least he has a friend to lean on now, and her name is Ilene.

A dog can make all the difference.
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