Megan Grosskreutz and Mobility and Hearing Assist Dog Zoe
By Erin Reyes
One of the biggest milestones of a young adult’s life is moving out of the family home. But the possibility of doing so seemed far-fetched for 25-year-old Megan Grosskreutz whose parents were often hesitant to leave her alone at home.
“I can’t hear people at the door,” explains Megan. In fact, there have been several instances in which family members have walked into the house and Megan didn’t know it until they were face-to-face.
But Megan’s parents don’t just worry about her safety when it comes to Megan not being able to hear. They also worry about her safety in terms of her mobility.
Megan was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects body movement, muscle control and coordination, posture, and balance. Because of this, Megan has an uneven gait, reduced use of her left hand, and difficulty balancing.
Apart from struggling with balance due to cerebral palsy, she also struggles with balance due to hearing loss. A structure in the inner ears helps with the body’s sense of balance, and like in Megan’s case, sometimes hearing loss can affect balance too. As a result, she has a greater propensity for falling and requires help getting back up.
Enter Mobility and Hearing Assist Dog Zoe. If Megan drops something, Zoe, a Labrador Retriever, is right there to help pick it up. And if Megan does end up falling, Zoe can find Megan’s mom, Cathy, and bring her back to help.
It’s also easier for Megan to go out in public now. She used to worry about not hearing an approaching vehicle, or being able to safely cross the street when she was out on a walk. But Zoe has been able to ease those fears. “She helps me feel more confident and safe,” says Megan. “It makes me feel freer.”
Thanks to Zoe, Megan and her family are comfortable with the idea of her heading out on her own in the near future. “It’s nice to know that when and if she moves, Zoe will be there [as more than a Mobility Assist Dog],” says Cathy. “[Zoe will be] keeping her alert.”
Megan is also able to return to her volunteer work at a local nursing home—another step towards achieving the independence of her peers.
“I don’t know that Megan would have been able to get [an assistance dog] on her own, or that we could have financially afforded it,” says Cathy. “It’s a huge blessing.”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Puppy Raiser: Bonnie Bakke
Whelping Home: Karin and Elroy Balgaard
Breeder Host: Sue Edgar
You: Thank you for your donations!