My MS story is simple. I came from being a child whose mom had M.S. To being her caregiver. To having M.S. myself.
I was eight years old when my father told me my mother had M.S and needed my help. He had me take over all the household chores and her care. It was a lot for a young girl, and I always worried my mom would fall when I wasn’t around.
We had a pup at the time. Casey. He was the love of my mom's life and always stayed right by her side. So I taught him to fetch the portable phone in case she fell when I wasn’t near. I taught him to bark on command in case mom needed somebody. I taught him how to brace so if she fell, she could climb up him. He was so trainable. I didn't realize I was training a service dog. I thought I was just training a dog to help my mom. Casey and my mom were smitten with each other. My mom used him until his death at age 16.
After I was diagnosed, I noticed my dog, Brie had an instinct about her. She could sense my M.S. symptoms coming on before I could. So, I started teaching her cues on how to talk to me. She puts her paws on my thighs and her head on my shoulder to tell me when I’m fatigued then will sit down and bark to tell me to go home. She’ll start licking me to tell me if I’m too hot or too cold. When I walk with her, and am suddenly off balance, she’ll counterbalance me. When my legs start to spasm, she’ll lay on them. Her weight and her heat help stop the spasms. She will stand in front of the door and won’t let me go outside if she knows I’m not safe.
We bred her, and four of her puppies are now training with a service to be given to veterans as service dogs and more are being evaluated.
People always ask me what facility I got her from, and I say, I didn’t. I just happened to pick a really good puppy. I trained her all myself.
Jayme Lockwood @musicalmedicwa