By Hannah S.
Since I was 11 years old, doctors have told me what medications to take, what tests I needed, and what treatments to try. All of their advice was helpful but there was still one question they could not answer, the “when” question. When am I going to faint? When am I going to have a seizure? Not knowing “when” really impacted my ability to live an independent life, so, three years ago I set out on an adventure to get a service dog who could tell me what doctors could not. My search led me to Canine Partners for Life where I was matched with Delilah. Delilah alerts me five minutes before I am going to faint, have a seizure, or even have a migraine.
When my blood pressure starts to drop or I have an impending seizure, Delilah will alert me by repeatedly rubbing her head against my leg. When I notice she is alerting, I sit down and Delilah puts her head between my legs. She will keep her head on me until she thinks it is safe for me stand back up. If I happen to miss her alert, she will go to the person closest to me and alert them. She is determined to keep me safe.
Although I am still fighting these conditions, Delilah helps me live a more fulfilling life. In the past three years, Delilah and I have been to nine different countries and completed two thru-hikes (hiking a long distance trail end to end). We hiked The Camino de Santiago from Portugal to Spain and The River to River Trail across Illinois in the United States. We love being outdoors and have done countless activities such as kayaking, canoeing, rafting, caving, and more. Delilah has also been with me through graduating undergrad, two years of an RA position, and we are now into our first year in the Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois.
Although it’s only been 3 years since CPL gave me Delilah, It’s hard to remember a time without her. Delilah is a stubborn, loveable, sweet, doe eyed, did I say stubborn, big baby of a dog who I couldn’t imagine living without. She’s the best thing to happen in my life and I honestly can’t thank CPL enough!
– Hannah and Delilah