We are excited to celebrate Service Dog Awareness Month! A special month where we take the time to recognize these special dogs for not only being the very best friends, but truly selfless heroes that really go the extra mile for their humans.
Today, we are showcasing the dynamic duo of Sarah and Edison. A native New Yorker with Cerebral Palsy, Sarah is determined and driven to go places and do things that she is passionate about. She works as a social media consultant, focusing on helping companies that serve the disabled community. Sarah is always on the move and never lets her physical disability slow her down, especially with the help of her trusty sidekick, Edison.
Without further ado, here’s Sarah!
"Hi there! My name is Sarah and that 4-legged, furry guy that you see? His name is Edison.
Edison is my service dog. He was trained by NEADS, a nonprofit based in central Massachusetts. Training a dog like Edison for service work can take up to 2 years and can involve dozens of commands and tasks. Even with all that training considered, it is important to remember that he is still a dog and that is exactly what they told me the first day we met. With all the work he does, he still loves to do all of the things dogs do, which is where his Jolly Ball comes into play.
NEADS trains service dogs for various disabilities and professional settings. Edison and I have been a team for just about four years now and working with him has been nothing short of incredible.
You may wonder what Edison can do for me. The answer is, everything but the kitchen sink! He was trained by NEADS with about 60 different commands and tasks to help me through my day and mitigate the challenges of my physical disability. When I need a little extra help, he can retrieve items from the floor, press the automatic door opener button, and so much more. He does all of this to assist me in my daily life so that I can continue to be as independent and self-sufficient as possible.
So, a bit about me. I have Cerebral Palsy, also known as CP. CP is a neurological condition that, in my case, was caused by lack of oxygen to parts of my brain during and shortly after birth. This lack of oxygen caused damage to parts of my brain that are responsible for sending signals to my body regarding muscle movement, balance, and coordination.
I try hard to not let the challenges related to my disability hold me back. I like to travel, meet new people, and go on adventures. Before Covid arose, you could catch Edison and I traveling by train, plane, and bus to go visit friends, travel for work, or just for fun. Having Edison by my side has increased my independence exponentially. I no longer need to worry about feeling stuck or nervous if no one is around and something falls on the floor. If I ever need water or something to eat, Edison can retrieve it from a dedicated spot in the refrigerator that he knows to retrieve from.
When Edison isn’t working with me, you can catch him getting lots of playtime! Having that work - play balance is so important. When he doesn’t have his service dog gear on, he is free to just be a dog. To sniff, play ball, or just relax on the grass in the warm sun. I cannot forget to say that he LOVES his Jolly Ball! As soon as I give him the permission for “free time,” he gets the zoomies right away.
For Edison and I, Service Dog Awareness Month is each and every day and for that, I am tremendously grateful. If you would like to follow our journey, you can come on over to our Instagram account: @edison_365_sd, where I share my life with Edison. This is a daily project that I’ve been curating for about a year and a half to help raise awareness of service dogs through our personal journey."
As if you didn’t need another reason to love dogs! Special pups like Edison really take the term “man’s best friend” to a whole new level and celebrating the selfless work that they do is so important. This month, we here at Jolly Pets encourage you to take the time to learn more about service dogs and all the amazing work they do for their humans.
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