Mobility Assist Dog Jetson was trained to be helpful in many ways. He’s a “coat tugger,” “laundry loader,” “drawer puller,” “refrigerator opener,” and “door plate pusher.” And for his new partner, Karley, he may also be considered a “penny pincher.”
Karley was born with what is called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, which, she explains, “basically means my joints are stuck in a fixed position and some muscles never developed.” She lacks bicep muscles, as well as some leg muscles, and her lower extremities cannot bear weight. Her elbows and wrists are bent and rotated at permanent, locked angles. So for holding most items and writing, Karley uses her right hand, and she relies on her left hand for feeding herself and as a “helper hand.”
Now Karley also has “helper paws,” courtesy of Jetson.
Not long after the two were paired together this summer, Karley brought Jetson with to a store. While shopping, she dropped some cash on the floor. “There was no one around,” explains Karley. “If he wasn’t with me, I would have had to either leave it and go try to find someone and hope that it would be there when I got back, or take that loss.” But Jetson wasn’t at a loss for what to do. He saved the money off the floor and deposited it all in Karley’s hand, showing that he can literally be a “penny pincher.”
Time is Money
Jetson also saves Karley from needing a personal care assistant as much, since he eagerly helps her himself throughout the day and night. “I’m definitely more independent,” says Karley, who is glad she was introduced to Can Do Canines through her neighbors who have a dog of their own from the organization. Thinking back to her first moments with Jetson, Karley says, “We bonded right away and were in tune with each other very fast. He’s such a happy dog and was ready to work instantly.”
And Karley has plenty of work for Jetson to do. At age 21, she is a senior at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, studying social work in order to focus on substance abuse treatment. She plans to do clinicals during the second semester in the Marshall area with Jetson being with her. Also, living in an apartment on her own on campus, Karley knows that Jetson will be critical to being able to do so safely.
Giving Her the Correct Change
While she originally began considering an assistance dog when she was moving away to college a few years ago, Karley wasn’t ready for all of that change at once. Now that she has Jetson, she says, “I think everything is going to go a lot smoother. I’m more confident going into classes and being able to do more.” She’s not the only one with added comfort. She sensed her mom’s relief when dropping off Karley for the school year. “It usually takes a lot of effort to get her to leave campus. It was a lot easier for her.”
One thing Karley wants to offer those who helped make her match with Jetson possible is a “huge thank you.” With tearful emotion, she shares, “It’s changed my life completely. Know that it really does make a world of difference.”
You can bet your bottom dollar that this is one partnership that is “right on the money.”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Great Start Home: Rachel Hovland
Puppy Raiser: Federal Correctional Institution-Waseca
Special Thanks: Betty Otto & Mike Ferber, Kathy Broten
You: Thank you for your donations!