At just nine months of age, how could I know how much this red Siberian husky was going to change my life?
I’d been living for years with many Neurological problems, being directed and helped by my ESA, and relearning how to live my life. I had adapted. I had overcome. I had succeeded in becoming more than what my hand in life had dealt to me. Yet here I was, standing at the threshold of yet another cliff – faced with falling head first, or stumbling one foot over another until I hit bottom to another unknown future.
More tests, more specialists, and more uncertainties. But one thing was clear. My world was spinning, and with each passing day, I was finding myself being less and less able to get around safely on my own.
Vestibular Neurotitis. Chronic Vestibular Neurotitis. Symptoms affected by the small crystals in my ears unable to readjust themselves. The vestibular nerves in my eyes being unable to track movement and move correctly. And the third final nail in my coffin, and unknown neurological element that was as of yet undefined. All of which resulted in an eventual loss of all my own self balance.
Imagine standing up and feeling like you’re swinging on a tight rope, not knowing if your feet are two inches or two feet away from the floor. It was terrifying. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, at random moments, my brain would send me on an unexpected tilt-o-whirl ride, leaving me reeling in a nauseous painful ball.
Jazzie was a rare find. It takes a very rare temperament for a husky to be able to work. And not only was she calm and passive, she didn’t have an aggressive bone in her body. Even at nine months old, she was small for her breed, but perfectly matched for me.
She learned quickly, and was eager to please. While she was nervous and timid to begin with, she quickly became curious and overly happy to be working at my side.
It took about two months to learn how to walk and move with her. To become a unified unit, if you will. But once we did, we were completely in sync with one another. Clicks and snaps weren’t necessary most the time as she could just feel or sense where I needed her to be. She was incredible and gave me back my freedom to get around.
She gave me back my life.
I still have my Jazzie Bear. She’s been injured and can’t work for me like she used to, having a bad hip now. But she picks things up for me at home. And on really good days, she can still accompany me outside of the house on errands. She never knew she was working. She still doesn’t know when she does. To her it’s all some form of playing games or spending time with Mommy.
I learned, from an incredibly unique animal, that while wheel chairs and walkers have their place in this world, a dog gives you more than just freedom and mobility. They give you back a small piece of yourself that you lost when you became disabled… and maybe something more.