How Chase helps his Dog Mom with Traumatic Brain Injury

Kim & Chase (Mini Goldendoodle/3), Holland, Michigan 

kim and chase, the mini goldendoodleChase coming to be a family member was a bit of a surprise. We did everything textbook WRONG. We didn’t plan, didn’t research, and didn’t do a huge pro and con list. But the universe knew better and brought us together, and what a blessing he is. He has brought a kind of love into our home that truly only another loving pet owner can know.

I spent years denying myself the pure unconditional, uncomplicated, love of a dog. He was perfectly created for our family. Chase has made life a new adventure and is teaching us so much about the joy a dog brings a person again and again every day. Since we live on Lake Michigan, it’s no wonder Chase loves swimming, jet-skiing, chuck-it at the beach, and he definitely loves snuggles and being rocked. He dislikes humans on phone, being told “no” or “absolutely not,” and being left home alone.

Chase trains with me, helping me to overcome the daily struggles resulting from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that I suffered 18 years ago. It wasn’t something planned; it was, however, another gift that this sweet-faced puppy in need of a home and some medical treatment gave us. With Chase’s help, I was able to go to Los Angeles to meet some IG friends this past Spring. I couldn’t have done it without him. Chased helped me find the Gates at the airport and got me to them on time. He’s pretty amazing.

I struggle with the haters about self-trained vs. professionally trained service dogs. A lot people don’t realize that dogs can be service dogs trained to assist people with many disabilities that are not visible to outsiders. Another problem is access to training because many people can’t afford the cost of a professionally trained service dog, which can be $20-60k. A lot of people, including me, end up training their dogs with a private trainer for task specific issues and although the service dog might not be “work perfect,” they provide life changing assistance. Because many service dogs are still your pet/working dog, people continue to judge. For me it’s not a problem. Eighteen years later, I still struggle with grocery shopping especially, so I don’t do it. I just don’t go places that Chase isn’t welcome.

It’s really good to know how helpful Chase is and how much more I am able to do with his help. One of the lasting effects of my TBI is that I never got my sense of time back. My ability to focus on a task from start to finish was compromised. For example, I’ll open the fridge to make something to eat and then go do something else, but forget to shut the fridge, or turn water off or just a lot of things that make every day life so much different for me. Chase follows me around and lets me know when I need to return. He’s brilliant.

We are working on Chase’s ability to assess my alertness while driving. I have a form a narcolepsy from my TBI and have only had my license back for the last 5 years, but my driving is limited. Chase makes a huge difference in my life already. For him to learn to know when it’s happening and be able to prevent it would give me more freedom, and an even fuller life. He is the sweetest dog ever. @chasethedoodledream

Whats your dogstory?