Father of 2 boys, Hilton age 9 and Garin age 5 (as of group sign up date 0 10-9-08). We live in the small county of Stanly County on beautiful Lake Tillery, North Carolina. I am the owner of ERA Four Seasons Realty in Albemarle, NC. A demanding profession and 2 very active boys keep me running!
About my family:
Garin is in kindergarten and Hilton is in 3rd grade at Millingport Elementary where their mother is the media specialist. Hilton is very active in numerous sports and both boys love to swim and enjoy outdoor activities. Garin was diagnosed with Duchenne MD in September of 2007 at the age of 4.
Name(s) of child(ren)/individual(s) with Duchenne:
Amber walks Jack to school and "picks him up" after school, but at this point we feel Jack (& the other kids) are too young to handle her in the classroom. The school & Canine Assistants would allow it, if we chose. When I work in the classroom, I take Amber with me and Jack practices for short periods. It isn't bad, but I think if I wasn't there it would just be more for the teacher to deal with. As we practice and everyone learns we will decide when is a good time. Also, Jack does not "need" her in the school right now.
That said, it leaves me with a big firball under my desk right now. . . .
Thank you for your kind words. I think this website is invaluable in getting families together. Our boys are still doing well despite their diagnosis. I think that by taking one day at a time, we are able to deal with it as best we can. It really helps to know that there is an organization such as PPMD.
Amber is 19 months old! Honestly her lifespan or even working lifespan never crossed my mind, until we were in training. They said the dogs typically work for about 9 years and then "retire" with their receipent and are replaced. That didn't even click until Jack started talking about taking amber to college with him. He is 8 and in second grade, I was shocked that he was even thinking about college. Then I realized that was about when she would "retire". But, it goes back to knowing anything and would you give up the good, knowing there would be bad some day? We lost a "family member"/Australian Shepard two years ago and it was crushing, but we only dreamed of our boys having a pet like that! Lots to think about!!!!
Amber is from Canine Assistants in Georgia. www.canineassistants.org
At this point, much of Amber's duties are social and emotional. Jack is currently going through a lot medically and we thought this a good time to give him unconditional love and acceptance. Also, she never wants to race him or see who can jump the highest, etc. She just plays with him and loves him. If we are traveling to another state to see a doctor, she goes with him and he always has a friend to play with.
Physically she helps him get up off the grownd. He doesn't gower, but climbs up her. She "get's help" if he needs me he just asks her and she comes and gets me. She picks up things he drops them, if he is tired and he isn't up to it. In the future she is trained to do more and more for him.
A bit about the experience!!! It is wonderful, trying, loving, demanding, amusing, tiring and loads of fun!!!! We have always had dogs, so we thought we understood the commitment and the joys. Both have been so much more than we expected. The only real change I would make is to free up more of our schedule to get Amber & Jack settled and into a routine. If I did it again, I would plan a whole month of just focusing on their bond, training (she is fully trained, but an 8 year old is a little more difficult), adjusting, etc.
If you would like more details, please feel free ask specific questions.
Hi Gary, welcome to PPMD! We live in St. Augustine, Florida now, but just moved from Fayetteville, North Carolina. My son, Ryan is three and was diagnosed with DMD this past May. Where do you go for your MDA clinic? We are still seeing Dr. Smith at Duke. I hope all is well for you.