Assistance Dogs Help Humans with Cerebral Palsy (Efficient Service Animals)
Kim Bratnik of Beachwood, Ohio, has cerebral palsy and is bound to a wheelchair. But that doesn’t stop her from living her life, thanks to her fantastic helper and best pal – a 9-year-old dog named Orson.
Orson gets drinks for Kim, opens doors for her, empties the dryer, and even takes off her shoes and jacket if she needs. If Kim drops something, Orson picks it up in his mouth and hands it back to her. Orson’s assistance helps Bratnik, 25, with things she couldn’t normally do on her own, making him an essential part of her life.
Says Bratnik of Orson, “He’s basically my hands… What I can’t do, Orson picks up and can do. With him, my quality of life has been awesome.”
Assistance dogs like Orson are vital to improving the quality of life of hundreds, if not thousands, of people every day who struggle with getting around due to illness or injury. Service dogs are obedient, great at taking orders, and immensely even-tempered around strangers, which make them perfect for helping people with everyday tasks.
Service dogs are specially trained by organizations like Canine Companions for Independence, where Orson came from – these facilities offer specific types of service dogs, even ones that can smell peanuts in products to help those with severe peanut allergies. These service dogs are provided to people with issues from diabetes to cerebral palsy to wartime injuries, in the case of disabled veterans.
While these services are essential, they do not come cheap, and they often require substantial fundraising. People like Kim, bolstered by their own success with service dogs, offer themselves up as examples of the good that service dogs can do. “It’s rewarding, knowing they can make such a tremendous difference in someone’s life.”