When asked to describe what it’s like to now have her assistance dog, Jeanne Styter of Brooklyn Park, Minn. replies …
“There’s something about it that I just can’t put into words. I’m just so thankful.”
Jeanne lives with her husband Dan and two teenage sons, Matthew and Nick. With her husband working full-time and her sons in school, Jeanne often finds herself home alone. This presents a problem as Jeanne has multiple sclerosis (MS).
“My main worries throughout the day fluctuate between falling and not being able to pick something up that I drop.”
Jeanne first developed symptoms of MS at the age of 29. MS reduces Jeanne’s balance and mobility and causes extreme fatigue throughout the day, putting her at significant risk of falling. Despite these challenges, Jeanne has been dedicated to living an active life, spending time with friends and attending a book club and MS support group.
“I’m a go-getter, but MS can kind of stop the ‘go-getter’ in you,” Jeanne says.
So to help her get her “go” back, Jeanne applied to Can Do Canines and was matched with Knox, a two-year-old, black Labrador retriever. Knox is trained to help Jeanne pick up dropped items, open doors, serve as a brace to help her stand and get help or retrieve an emergency phone when needed.
Jeanne says that on the days when her MS is acting up the worst she used to want to stay in bed. But, with Knox by her side she now has the motivation and confidence to tackle the day.
“For me, Knox is a rockstar. He’s more than a companion—he’s my lifeline,” Jeanne says.
Knox was also trained for a special purpose that poses significant challenges to Jeanne … laundry. Knox has proven to be helpful in picking up clothing that Jeanne drops and even takes finished loads of laundry out of the dryer for her!
Jeanne says that the entire assistance dog experience has changed her life. She would like to thank everyone who has made Knox a possibility in her life.
“To me, Knox is the biggest gift I’ve ever gotten. He is my deepest blessing. Thank you.”
Thank you to all those who made this partnership possible:
Puppy Raiser: Rosalind & Jim Elmquist
Short & Long-term Foster Homes: Kirsten Purvis; Nancy Savstrom; Stacy Sheldon-Wilkinson; The Inmate Handlers at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Faribault
Team Sponsor: Judith Christensen