I was one of ‘those’ people who thought of service dogs as being mostly for the blind. We often forget (or never realized at all) that there are a multitude of people with various disabilities that rely on these dogs for tasks we can’t even begin to imagine needing help with, but are a daily struggle for some.
Leigh Brill is a young woman whose worsening cerebral palsy led her to apply to be matched up with a service dog. From that experience came this heartfelt book about her journey with Slugger, the yellow lab who became her teammate through thick and thin for 10 years: “A Dog Named Slugger: the True Story of the Service Dog That Changed My Life.”
The true life story of a dog who changed everything for one woman. For the first time in my life, I didn’t need to pretend, I didn’t need to be tough: I only needed to be honest. “I have cerebral palsy. I walk funny and my balance is bad. I fall a lot. My hands shake, too. That means I’m not so good at carrying things. And if I drop stuff, sometimes it’s hard to just bend down and get it.” I waited anxiously for the interviewer’s response. She smiled. “It sounds like a service dog could be great for you.” So began Leigh Brill’s journey toward independence and confidence, all thanks to a trained companion dog named Slugger. The struggling college student and the Labrador with a “a coat like sunshine” and a tail that never stopped wagging became an instant team. Together, they transformed a challenge into a triumph. Together, they inspired and educated everyone they met. Now, Leigh honors her friend with the story of their life, together.
This is a must-read for anyone who loves dogs, for those who love a heartwarming true story, and for those who just love to read period. It’s an eye-opening story about not just service dogs and all that that encompasses, but also the many discriminating behaviors out there toward them and people with disabilities in general.
Photos courtesy of Leigh Brill.com
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