Being a firefighter is one of the most demanding jobs in the world, but also one of the most rewarding. For six years, I proudly served my community, risking my life to save others. However, in 1991, while rescuing a drunken driver, my life took a drastic turn. I suffered several herniated discs and torn loose ligaments from my spine, which left me permanently disabled. It was a tough time for me, but little did I know that my life was about to be changed by my four-legged companion, Ember. In this blog post, I will share my experience as a disabled firefighter and how Ember’s training and companionship have changed my life for the better.
The first few years after my injury were tough, both physically and mentally. I had to quit my job as a firefighter and learn to live with my disability. Recently I discovered Canines For Heroes and how they help local First Responders with service dogs. I’m excited about the benefits they provide to people with disabilities. After extensive research, I decided to get a service dog and that’s how Ember entered my life. My life has never been the same since.
Ember’s training has been nothing short of amazing. She’s been trained to perform various tasks, including pulling me up from a chair, opening and closing doors, retrieving things, and even warning me of potential dangers. Seeing her progress and become a well-trained service dog has been amazing, and it’s all thanks to the hard work and dedication of her trainers, Natasa Wilhelm and Sean Hubschmitt.
Working with Ember has been a great learning experience for me too. The structured environment of her training has helped me better understand how to work with my dog. It’s not just about giving commands; it’s about building a relationship and trust with your service animal. Ember and I have become a great team, and our relationship has improved beyond my expectations.
Ember has not only helped me physically but mentally as well. Her companionship has helped me deal with the challenges that come with living with a disability. I no longer feel isolated or alone, as I have Ember by my side. She’s always there to comfort me when I’m feeling down, and her love is unconditional. It’s amazing how much joy one dog can bring into your life.
I’m extremely grateful for the support of the service dog community and the work they do. It’s not just about training dogs to perform specific tasks, it’s about improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. They provide a vital service, and I believe they should be recognized and appreciated more.
In conclusion, as a disabled firefighter, my life has been changed for the better by my service dog Ember and Canines For Heroes. She’s not just a dog, but a companion and a friend. Her training has been amazing, and her companionship has helped me deal with the challenges that come with living with a disability. I feel extremely encouraged about our progress as a team, and I believe that service dogs should be recognized for the important work they do. If you or someone you know could benefit from a service dog in the Sarasota Area, I highly recommend reaching out to a trusted organization like Canines For Heroes and starting the process of changing your life for the better.