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Courtney and Zido

Courtney’s a busy young woman with two jobs; one as a barista and one as an interviewer of WWII veterans for the WWII veterans memorial –- and that’s on top of being a junior in college.  She’s also a youth group leader at her church with big plans for the future.  Yet, for quite a while, she’s hidden from the world the fact that she has a disability.

With a cardiac condition that causes her to frequently lose consciousness – up to 45 minutes at a time – it was tough to live the life that was calling her.  So Courtney decided to apply for a cardiac alert dog – of course you can’t do that without the whole world understanding now that you have a disability.  So the path to being partnered with Zido (or ZeeZee) as she calls him – has been a lesson in self-awareness and acceptance. This bright, articulate and funny young lady was excited about Team Training and welcomed the opportunity to learn about her dog, about dog training, about the service dog industry, about her classmates and about herself.  While some days were challenging and frustrating she had an excellent ability to put a bad day behind her and start the next one positive and focused. Zido began alerting almost immediately and Courtney listened to her new partner. She honestly had no idea that her blood pressure and heart rate deviated from the normal range so frequently.  Her dog makes sure she knows though – laying his entire body on top of her and refusing to get off until her heart has stabilized. It’s been tough getting those alerts in public – having to lie down for all to see and wonder – but Courtney has realized how important it is to take care of herself.  This young lady is going to go far – she’s going to change the world in a positive way.