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Service dog needed

Organized by: Deanna Stevens

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THE STORY:

I am 24 years old but I have the joints of an 80 year old. My name is Deanna and I was born with hypermobility syndrome which has progressed into Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, accompanied by Fibromyalgia. If you are not aware of what Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is, it is a condition that is inherited and that affects the connective tissues in the body. Connective tissue is responsible for supporting and structuring the skin, blood vessels, bones, and organs all throughout the body. It’s made up of cells, fibrous material, and a protein called collagen. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is caused by a defect in collagen production. This condition is caused by a group of genetic disorders. This means that one of the biggest struggles that I have is the ability to keep my joints from dislocating. For example, my shoulders and knees can easily come out of their place in my sleep, from pulling up my pants, from picking up my kids. Symptoms of classic EDS are: loose joints highly elastic, velvety skin fragile skin skin that bruises easily redundant skin folds on the eyes muscle pain muscle fatigue benign growths on the pressure areas (such as the elbows and knees) heart valve problems Symptoms of hypermobility EDS are: loose joints easy bruising muscle pain muscle fatigue chronic degenerative joint disease premature osteoarthritis chronic pain heart valve problems There is no cure! This condition has no cure. I can only try to delay damage and reduce pain. Those of us with EDS have only three options: physical therapy, drugs to minimize pain, and surgery to repair damaged joints with replacements (which is always the last thing that doctors want to do) So why a service dog? I have had time to talk with my doctors in depth about where to go from here because I can't keep myself stable enough to walk down the stairs easily. I continue to fall when my joints just stop working randomly. My legs and feet go numb quickly and randomly causing me to not know where it is. I asked them if they would recommend a mobility wheelchair or scooter and they all agree that to use one would only cause loss of muscle strength, which is the only thing holding my joints together at this point, and further damage them while increasing my pain. To use crutches would mean shoulder dislocations much more often. So with all of that in mind, it was suggested to me that I look into getting a stability and service dog. How will that help? Having a stability service dog would ensure that I always have the a strong, trained dog to help me regain my balance should my knees or hips go weak, as well as being able to help me get back up if needed. Other ways a service dog would be able to help would be finding help if I am unable to get up due to dislocation, helping me to get to a safe place until I can get back up, as well as requiring me to get out of the house to walk more, thus increasing muscle strength. And yet another reason would be to generally help retrieving things that I am unable to due to inability to bend, stoop, crouch, etc. and help with doors that are too heavy. My doctors agree that a service dog would be the greatest asset that I could have at this point in my battle with this chronic condition. All money that is donated will go to the cost of adopting a service dog. Service dogs cost about 30,000.00 a piece due to the extensive training and cost of raising the pup with shots, being fixed and all other care and training supplies/ needs. These funds will be needed by May of 2017 Training of a service dog can take between 6 and 12 months after a few months of being on a waiting list, and training doesn't start until after a good partnering has been made between dog and handler. After that, there is another training for two weeks to teach the new owner how to handle the dog appropriately. For me to have a service dog will be life changing! To have a service dog will mean prolonging the need for a wheelchair or joint replacements, as well as having a companion that will always be there to help me! Without a service dog, I will continue to struggle alone, with no help when I need it most. Getting a service dog is a huge step toward reducing pain, both physically and emotionally, giving me freedom to go anywhere without worying that I'll fall and no help will come. A service dog would provide me with more will to keep moving on when I'm overwhelmed by living with pain enough to make me cry myself to sleep more nights than not. A service dog will be my guardian angel in disguise, helping me to be the best I can be. The amount of generosity, support, and love in helping me, weather by donation or sharing, is absolutely astounding! The true passion of people's hearts warms me to the core and there is no way I could thank anyone enough for all that they have done to help me! It is only with the help of everyone together that we can bring an angel into my life, and with the help of every single person here, I know that one day soon I'll be given the will to carry on, one paw print at a time!​

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Deanna Stevens

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