Service animals are adorable, but more importantly they're a helpful lifeline for people living with disabilities and chronic conditions.
Jacquie Blake knows what a difference a trained service animal can make in someone's life, because she relies on her service dog, Harlow, and trains canine helpers for other patients. She's sharing her progress online, and managed to capture a hilarious misunderstanding between her and Harlow.
Jacquie is living with 8 different chronic illnesses, including asthma, narcolepsy, epilepsy and cataplexy. Some days, these diseases make it hard for her to walk, stand, or do something as simple as reach for the TV remote.
“Imagine having your parents having to sit right outside your bathroom, while you’re taking a shower, because now the shower is one of the most dangerous places," she told the American Kennel Club, describing what her life was like without Harlow.
"You can’t drive anymore, and I had just gotten my license because I had just turned 15. I had to be escorted to and from my classes; it just wasn’t a way to live.” But being able to depend on Harlow has made everything much easier for Jacquie.
At least when Harlow actually follows her directions.
Jacquie has trained Harlow and 2 other service dogs, and says her Golden Retriver is usually a good student.
Normally, the hardest part of their training is working through Jacquie's conditions. “The whole aspect of my medical issues is also very hard because she needs to get out. She needs to be exposed to different situations, fireworks, busy streets," she said.
"It’s hard to do that when your blood pressure is deciding to drop all day, or a migraine kicks in, or a cyclic vomiting syndrome episode happens.” And sometimes even if Jacquie is feeling alright, Harlow doesn't quite get the message anyway.
Take this recent training session that Jacquie shared on her YouTube page: it shows off Harlow's skills as she retrieves things on command, including Jacquie's blanket and slippers.
But watch what happens when Jacquie asks for her water bottle from the fridge...
Okay, that's not quite what she asked for, but we'll give Harlow credit for looking in the right place! As Harlow's training continues Jacquie will share pictures and videos to track her progress, so you can follow both of them on YouTube or Instagram.
Share this adorable video with someone you know!
[H/T: American Kennel Club]