Disabilities often come as a double-edged sword, not only causing mobility challenges where basic movements require extra effort, but also limiting a person’s energy reserve, which is drained quickly just getting through the day.
Candy has lived with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for 39 years. Her symptoms change on a regular basis, but her condition mostly affects her balance and her cognition. MS interrupts the flow of information to the rest of the body, and the process of navigating the world demands unending strenuous physical and mental exertion. Over the course of the day, Candy’s energy fades abruptly, and she has to save what energy she has for only the most necessary activities. Walking, interacting with people, and basic daily tasks cause her to feel exhausted quickly. She found strength from a MS support group, where she met another Can Do Canines team and felt encouraged to apply for an assistance dog of her own. After just a few months, she was partnered with Bojangles, who would change her life beyond her expectations.
Bo Always On and By her Side
Bojangles or “Bo” is a 2-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever that is always looking for ways to help his person. If he’s not busy completing his tasks to do, then he is watching out for Candy’s happiness and needs. He helps her complete her day-to-day routines by opening her refrigerator, picking up things that slip out of her hands, retrieving her cane, cleaning up items and placing them in a designated bin, or tugging the laundry basket around. Bo goes even further to provide stability for Candy by wearing a semi-rigid handle on his harness that she can use for stability and momentum while walking.
Candy remembers it was love at first sight when she met Bo, and the team has grown stronger since then. One time Candy slipped on the ice in her yard and she was not able to get up on her own. Bo braced himself and provided the much needed leverage to help her back up and get her back to safety. After a health scare in late 2018, she had to stay in a care center temporarily and then live with family members. With Bo by her side, she is excited to be living independently. Candy is constantly surprised with his happy balance between being a goofball and being a brilliant lifesaver.
Where There’s a Will and a Way
With Bo, Candy is able to remain independent and as self-sufficient as possible. Now she can ask him for help to reduce falls and help conserve energy for more enjoyable things. Candy shares in delight, “I couldn’t have asked for anything better than Bo. He is my rockstar and has proven it several times over in the last month.” For anyone who supported this team happening, Candy gratefully says, “I don’t know where I would be without Bo today. I can’t say enough about Can Do Canines. I just love my dog.”