Following up five years later, I'm filled with so much gratitude and appreciation to give you a much needed update on Annie. At around 6 years old now, Annie has been my medical alert and mobility assistance service dog for the better part of the last four years. We did over a year of public access training and scent training for cardiac episodes, and used the smell, behavior, click, reward method. I truly have not had an injury from fainting since getting Annie, she's incredible. Then in 2020, I was diagnosed with MS and Annie beautifully adjusted to being balance and mobility assistance as well. Annie is the type of dog that when people see her on duty, they say how they know she's a real service dog because she's incredibly well behaved. She's an expert while flying and going through TSA, and is well-traveled having been to Broadway in NYC, the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, and San Francisco to name a few. Annie has gone everywhere except an operating room and the morgue in medical facilities when I've been a patient or a student, and she's 100% work when her harness is on. I just can't say enough about what positive impact she's had on my health, safety, independence, and overall quality of life. We've done a ton of work together, but it all started with you choosing her and giving her that chance.
I'm doing research at Tulane School of Medicine and have a lot of exposure to disabled patients who always ask about Annie. In the moment, I don't always remember the specifics but I can point them in the direction of your website. Most conversations give patients hope for the first time that getting a service dog could be accessible to them. And I also think about the inmates who train them. If it's possible, I'd want Joe to know what life changing work he did with Annie.
In every way, Annie is perfect for me. She's struggled with separation anxiety and has all the skin issues of a pitty, but it's been nothing we can't manage because she's such an incredible dog. I attached a few recent photos. She's about 40 pounds heavier than the last photos! But you once described Annie as "what you see is what you get", and I'd say this holds true to this day. Keep doing what you're doing with your programs, it's all amazing work.
All my best,