Nala ” The Service Dog”

1187176_737650956248574_266637686_n 1187217_741294139217589_2111754247_n 1381610_758296970850639_1698799691_n1146603_733081600038843_664577363_n 20130910_161736Nala.Nala

There are a few people in life that rock you down to your core.  A spouse, child, or a parent.  People who’s hearts beat as one and who change your life and you will never be the same.  I have been blessed to add another name on this list, but it may not be what you would think.  A few months ago, I was entrusted with a service dog for my Ankylosing Spondylitis.  Her name is Nala and this is our story.

Nala is a greyhound.  She was born to be a racing dog.  She was good at it too.  I have looked online and you can find videos of her racing, plus her dad is in the Greyhound Hall of Fame.  She raced longer than most because she was so good at it.  She retired at the age of four.  At that point, she was rescued by a wonderful organization who placed her in a prison program where there are chosen inmates that are taught to train the dogs do service work.  I believe it is a wonderful program in so many ways.  Inmates are being given a trade skill and companionship.  Plus the dogs get round the clock training.  We do love to joke that she was rescued and then went to prison. 🙂

My wife and I had been talking about getting a service dog for me for quite some time.  After over a year of discussions, we finally decided it was the best thing for our family.  We started doing a lot of research trying to figure out the best breed and the best way to go about getting one.  We decided that a greyhound would be the best bet because of their gentile nature and laziness.  I had also seen one when I was a teen and I always promised myself that I would live with one of these beautiful creatures.  I had contacted so many agencies and people about a service dog, with no results, I began to feel it wasn’t in the cards for me.  Either the wait list was a few years long or they didn’t have a dog that would fit.  I had all but given up when one morning my wife found an organization that I hadn’t called and she decided to call them.  To our surprise there was one dog that they had placed, but had come back.  They were so great and we had out home visit and application approved by the afternoon.  We were on our way to interact with her to see if she was a good fit and I told my wife that I just knew she would be perfect because there was no way everything would work out so smoothly and then she wouldn’t be great.  We went to visit her and once she warmed up to us she started walking with be right beside my walker.  Most dogs are afraid of it and will either bark or run away.  Within 30 mins of meeting Nala she was making laps with me up and down the sidewalk.  It was love at first sight.  Less than 12 hours after my wife found the organization online we had a new helper that would change our lives is so many ways.  We found out the very next day that my wife had got her job back in our hometown and we moved that day back to Indiana. She instantly took to life as a service dog.  We were blown away from the beginning.  Her first time out we went to IHOP.  She behaved perfectly.  They even used a vacuum cleaner near her and she wasn’t phased.  She has continued to give me a new “leash” on life.  With her help I was able to go up and down stairs for the first time in two years.  My wife no longer has to worry about me falling when she is at work because Nala helps me up.  We are even working on getting her to fetch my phone in case I fall and I am too hurt to get up.  On days that I am doing good and I don’t have to use my walker she helps me walk and keep my balance.  I also have anxiety and although she wasn’t trained to she will stand between someone and me when I am having issues or of someone approaches me.  I use to worry about going out and falling and making a scene.  Now I know I have a helper that is always by my side.  My wife has been astounded.  I ask her if we can go out now and she is the one wanting to go home.  When my wife goes to work Nala and I will watch TV and I paint her nails.  We nap together.  We haven’t been more than twenty feet from each other since I got her and I can honestly say she is my best friend.  She knows when I am sad or in pain and she will snuggle up to me and give me kisses.  Words can not describe this furry angel that has come into my life.  As far as I am concerned, she rescued me.  Not the other way around.

For more information you can follow her on facebook here:

Jesse Jayne Wardrip

6 Responses to “Nala ” The Service Dog””

  1. My baby girl! Thank you so much Cookie for sharing her story. ❤

  2. She looks like my Scooby Grey hounds are beautiful dogs and very intelligent lovely story.

  3. What a great story to share. Thanks for telling it.

  4. Hi. Thank you for your story. Did your insurance pay for the Nala or do you have to pay out of pocket?

  5. I have been wondering about a service dog for myself. I have AS as well as anxiety, and PTSD form a traumatic surgery that had no pain control because it wasn’t urgent and they couldn’t get me off of pain medications in time. I went into respiratory arrest post op. I have a severe fear of rehospitalization, And I’m an RN! And my asthma and aortic valve defect is out of control. I also have adrenal insufficiency so if stress levels rise I’m no5 always aware of it in time and that can be fatal. I currently have a dog who is 8 but I’m contemplating a service dog in the future to help me mostly with high stress, and a dog who can recognize when my physical or emotional stress level rises so I can take more steroids than my usual. Thanks for sharing your story.

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