Losing a friend is a heart wrenching experience, even if that friend has four legs and a wagging tail. A dog has a way of capturing your heart and becoming part of the family.
We brought home a darling 8 week old Dogue de Bordeaux puppy 91/2 years ago, which was before I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I had dogs growing up, and therefore trained Buffy successfully myself with all the basic usual commands. Once I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and the symptoms started to appear fast and furious, it was clear that Buffy’s instincts began to kick in. Although Buffy was never formerly trained, she took on the role of assistance dog and proved herself by saving me on more than one occasion. Certain breeds are preferred as assistance dogs, such as the Labrador. Not all dogs possess the necessary traits to become assistance dogs, and only a professional trainer can really ascertain if a puppy is suitable or not for this purpose.
I have fallen several times, and Buffy would stand quite still by my shoulders, taking my full weight helping me to get up. I was choking badly on two separate occasions, but Buffy instantly knew this was not a normal sound and fetched help immediately. Buffy would always know when I was having a bad Parkinson’s day and when I was suffering chronic bone pain from Gaucher disease. If I felt down or simply unwell, she would follow me around and not leave my side, watching my every move.