Linda LaReau & Mobility Assist Dog Piper
How can you put a price on the ability to live independently? What is the true value of feeling secure in your own home, especially if you have mobility limitations?
For Linda LaReau of Circle Pines, Minn., the answers to these questions arrive daily. Despite a spinal cord injury that paralyzed her lower body Linda works at a retail store and enjoys a variety of activities—especially biking and downhill skiing.
Linda, the mother of three grown children, deserves most of the credit for leading an active, fulfilling life and making the most of every day. However, Linda also wants the world to know how much she appreciates Piper, her Can Do Canines Mobility Assist Dog, for making things a lot easier.
The two-and-a-half-year-old yellow Labrador retriever contributes to Linda’s independence in many ways, from picking up dropped items to opening doors. While these skills are helpful on their own they also help alleviate Linda’s pain. Propelling a wheelchair for 30 years has taken a toll on Linda’s shoulders so Piper’s ability to lend a paw is a huge benefit.”
“Piper helps me pick up all kinds of things that I drop, especially the things that fall out of my reach from my wheelchair,” Linda says. “This keeps me from getting out of my chair and saves my shoulder.”
When Linda needs to get out of her wheelchair Piper helps her get back into it by standing next to her and acting as a brace when she pushes off. This keeps her shoulder in a better position and prevents injury. Beyond performing valuable tasks Piper instills a sense of security for Linda.
“I have three older children who are in that transition phase of their lives and are moving in and out” Linda says. “I have had long periods of living by myself and having Piper with me not only makes me feel secure but reassures my family too!”
Not surprisingly, Linda has become emotionally attached to Piper. She’s not the only one. “Everybody wants to love her,” Linda says. “That’s the hard part—reminding people that she’s working and keeping them away.”
To the donors, Puppy Program Volunteers and others who were instrumental in bringing Piper into her life, Linda expresses immense appreciation. “Piper has been a great addition to me and my family. She feels like an extension of me. Thank you so much!”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Puppy Raiser—The Holmes Family
Special Thanks—The Inmate Handlers at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Faribault; Stephanie & Seth Scott