Becky and April
Welcoming an assistance dog into her home was both a rewarding and challenging thought for Becky Jackett. Becky, who has muscular dystrophy, reveals why being connected to Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI) is so life changing; “Having a service dog gives me motivation and purpose throughout the day when my family is working or in school. In public, I feel more sure of myself." Before applying, she embraced the responsibility of what was to come, and understood the impact a service dog would have on her life.
In summer 2017, the dream of welcoming a canine companion into her life became a reality. Becky and her family opened their door and heart to April, a yellow Labrador retriever. April assists with picking up dropped items, opening doors, and pushing access buttons. For Becky, the physical support was just the beginning.
The powerful bond is proving to Becky that she can do anything she sets her mind to. She shares, “I hope to one day stand or even take a few steps again. Anything is possible!” Becky and April take on the world together as a unified pair.
ADAI started communication almost instantly when Becky turned in her application, providing information and answering questions about the process from day one. Staff made sure Becky and her family were in the perfect position to start the journey. Having a hands-on staff is what sets ADAI apart from other assistance dog organizations. Becky reflects, “Everyone we met through ADAI was kind and considerate. They thought of everything.” Not only did Becky gain a canine confidant, she built a relationship with April’s fosters who soon became friends. “I've had great communication with two of her fosters. They both offered advice plus the Client Services Manager gave helpful insight.”
To Becky’s benefit, her entire family welcomed April with open arms. Many family and friends sent cards with welcome gifts to her and are amazed at the cues she knows. She's eager to try and learn each day. Becky says, “April really looks to me for direction. One of my favorite cues is "watch.” She looks to me for what to do next.”
Becky is an educator at heart with a love for learning, working as an Educational Sign Language Interpreter. Now, Becky continues her work molding young minds by volunteering to teach sign language to local children. Proud to share the great work assistance dogs can do, Becky shares, “Who knows, maybe I'm teaching awareness to a future ADAI staff member.”