April & Dale, Summer 2013 GraduatesDecember 22, 2014
When most people think about those living with disabilities and the service dogs that help them live their lives, they often don’t think of endless activities, travels, and adventures. My life with my service dog, Dale, includes all this and more. I was able to promise him the same thing my father promised my mother when he proposed: Life will never be boring!I play in the first violin section of the Washington Symphony Orchestra, and Dale is by my side for every rehearsal and performance. In addition to the symphony, I also perform for events such as parties, banquets, and weddings. When I am not on stage, I teach private violin lessons to students of all ages. Again, Dale is with me for every note.
I don’t just play music; I also attend lots of concerts. From jam nights at the local pub, to heavy metal concerts in a packed arena, to upscale symphonies, Dale has become quite the musical connoisseur!
Our lives are filled with much more than just music though. I have three children, ages 15, 12 and 5. Those with any experience with children know that this means there is never a dull moment on the home front! Never does a week pass that we don’t have at least one activity such as football games, school plays, or some other event. Dale is quite the celebrity at all three schools.
With a long list of medical conditions, lots of time in doctors’ offices and hospitals is unavoidable for me, and once again Dale is always with me and is always a star.
Dale and I have been partners for a year and a half now, and we have done so much together. Many of the things I have done in that time would not have been possible without the help of my incredible service dog. I can’t imagine my life now without him.
I had gotten to the point where it was no longer safe for me to be home alone. There were just too many “what ifs” that were all too possible. Now that Dale is always with me, being alone is no longer as dangerous. Just about anything that happens, Dale can assist me with it. If I am in trouble that requires me to get “real” help, he can even call emergency services by activating a button in my home.
Before my service dog came into my life I was just watching my independence and quality of life slip away, one piece at a time. Canine Partners for Life changed that by matching me with Dale. All the things I could no longer do on my own, Dale now helps me do, which has made me independent once again.
I don’t take the gift of independence that has been given to me for granted. We are always living life to the fullest. Thank you CPL for bringing him into my life!
-April & Dale-