Service Dog Cadet

My friends and coworkers think me having a service dog will help me achieve better independent quality of life. Right now, I shop in a handful of stores I know. The other day, my friend told me to go pick up a couple of chickens for dinner at Grocery Outlet. They were on sale. I went to Safeway and paid $2 more per chicken. You see, I don’t go to Grocery Outlet. I don’t know where to find anything, I don’t know the store itself. I only go,alone to Safeway. It’s the only grocery store I go into without another person with me.

Sensory overload is much like swimming in the ocean. You get hit by a sudden wave and knocked under water, you’re tossed and turned, the undertow starts dragging on you. You’re not quite sure which was is up or how to get you feet under you. My brain lags. Like a computer with too many windows open, the more input, he slower the output. And you’ll get error messages.”error 42511 brain not found.” I do my best to find a way to have some pieces of my old life. While I alternate between accepting I am dead, though my body lives.

We hope Riley can help me function better in public and be more independent. He’s being trained to help balance me, nudge me to come out of overload, or lead me away from overloading situations, get in between me and other people who are crowding me, recognize I’m getting a migraine before the pain starts. Maybe, with him, I can stop avoiding life.

I love my cat and ferrets. I would be very happy if the only time I had to leave the house was to get food and go running. I safe here. It’s quiet. I’m in control. Running used to be a physical,challenge. Now, it’s not only physical but mental. I have to force myself to take the road. And clean up the road rash.

Service dogs can do fantastic things for their handlers. I’m trying to raise $10k towards his training on GoFund Me. He will cost $24 k to completely train, I’ll be taking a loan to cover the rest of his training. Unless I am lucky and raise the entire amount.


This is Riley. He’s being trained at Speak Dog, LLC in Richland, WA.




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