First, I would like to thank Mark and Deb as well as all puppy raisers for what you have given me. The Canine Companion service dogs are absolute life changers, especially Ansel!
Ansel graduated on Friday, May 18 and became my best buddy by the end of the first weekend. We have become inseparable, I take Ansel virtually everywhere. He is always the perfect gentleman and almost never needs correction. Ansel truly enjoys working and I can see the great joy that it brings him. Ansel attracts interest every time Denise and I go to a store or restaurant. Ansel is a real ham and loves the attention (he especially loves showing off his talent). I may get Denise in trouble, but she cannot keep her hands off of Ansel. He is so soft and loves to have his belly rubbed that she cannot resist.
I need to convey a story to best describe how he has helped me with my independence. As background, I use a power wheelchair and drive a minivan. I have a lift that positions the wheelchair in the back of the minivan and I walk to the driver’s side with a cane. I'm not very stable with the cane and I’m completely unsafe without it. A couple weeks ago I had a checkup at the Ohio State hospital campus. I had put Ansel as well as the power chair into the minivan and was walking to the driver side door when I dropped my cane. At this point I can neither pick up the cane nor walk further. However, I now have Ansel! I used my key fob (which I keep strapped around my left wrist) to open Ansel's sliding door, asked him to come out and pick up my cane. Without any hesitation or confusion, Ansel stepped out of the van, picked up (and dropped the cane twice), but finally got it into my hands on the third try. He got back into the van, I closed his door and proceeded to the driver’s door safely. Now that’s a buddy you can depend on!