Written by Trinda Navarro
Those of us who are lucky enough to own a service dog realize that owning one is like finally being able to own our independence. Before our dogs came along, life was often dark and lonely. At least it was for me.
Growing up in the home I did and with the disabilities I had was not an easy feat. For some, a family who doesn’t understand can be the biggest source of anxiety and self doubt. And this can be made worse if you suffer from multiple invisible disabilities.
For me personally, even with diagnoses confirming my suspicions, I was always going to be “normal” in my parents eyes. They never accepted the things I needed, instead calling me lazy, overdramatic, or unmotivated. I spent years on the verge of believing them. I quickly found myself falling further into depression. Unfortunately this happens to many individuals.
It took me nearly six years to finally obtain Kash. Some people wait even longer, and some don’t have the chance to have a service dog at all. I’m one of the lucky ones who does. My life has become a bigger, brighter place since Kash. I have been able to get out and do more things without fear of my disability getting in the way. He is literally my independence.
In the past years of having Kash by my side, I have had the opportunity to meet a few other teams. One thing I noticed was they all had the same gear addiction as I did. Our dogs all had multiple leashes, collars, vests, etc. I started to wonder why. Then it dawned on me: I believe those of us who struggled with our independence pre-service dog, now spoil that independence post-service dog. Because I worked so hard and for so long to finally feel a part of society, the thing that made that possible deserves all the best it can get. My dog is spoiled, because he spoils me everyday that he helps me live. Life is a better place since he came along.