by Katy Nozar

ADAI Success Story Karen and NikkiKaren lives in Kendallville, IN with her father, son, and daughter-in-law. She worked for many years as the sales director at her local newspaper before retiring in 2013, and now spends her time participating in groups such as the American Legion, the Ladies’ Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a community euchre group. Her interests include gardening, reading, playing cards, and solving digital jigsaw puzzles.

Karen has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which is a condition that causes the body’s immune system to attack the central nervous system. This can cause fatigue, numbness, weakness, difficulty walking, and a variety of other symptoms. MS affects the amount of mobility a person has, and in Karen’s case ultimately required the use of a wheelchair. Unfortunately, not all public areas provide adequate accessibility to people who use wheelchairs, which means Karen and many other people can experience frustration in getting where they need to go.

Karen decided that having a dog trained by Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence would help her do just that, gain independence in her everyday life. This is exactly what she found in Nikki, who now gives her a greater sense of self-sufficiency by opening doors and knowing when to call for help. She also provides companionship and unconditional love, which was something Karen looked forward to most before receiving her assistance dog.

In the months since Nikki joined the family, she has become a wonderful traveler while accompanying Karento the store and to all of her euchre games. She continues to respond to all of the commands she was taught, and has become very affectionate. Nikki is completely devoted to Karen, but also listens to all of her family members and has become excellent company for Karen’s father, Wayne.

Karen tells us, “I want to thank everyone at ADAI for your dedication and time, but most of all for understanding what is needed and POSSIBLE for a person with disabilities to be ABLE!”

The Ability Center and ADAI could not be happier to have helped Karen achieve all is possible.