Guest post by Connie Ziegler
I just want to say thank you to Nancy for starting Susquehanna Service Dogs. Without my service dog, I would be in a nursing home instead of living independently. I received SSD Dutch seven years ago. Originally, he was for balance. Over the years, things changed for both of us. I now use him for hearing work and emotional support. And now, after a year of not walking, he has given me the courage to try to walk again, so he’s doing balance work again.
He helps me get my shoes and socks off when I’m too dizzy to bend over. He alerts me to different things that he was never trained to do. I feel this is because of our bond. He loves to get the wash out of the dryer for me, open doors, and carry small packages. He has been in the hospital and rehabs with me and has kept me calm so I didn’t need to be sedated like before.
We are not usually home. SSD Dutch has given me what I needed to live my life once again and not just stay home and be afraid to go out.
I have to admit, Nancy and I may not have always seen eye to eye when it came to SSD Dutch, but last year I started to see her in a very different light. Last year, we went to the Puppy Palace (SSD’s former space for puppy class) at the Harrisburg Mall for a brief retraining because I was having trouble with SSD Dutch when I was in my manual wheelchair. I remember starting to have a small meltdown. That day was a very rough day for me and things were not going right. That night, Nancy came to me and seemed to understand and helped me by giving me lots of good tips on what I was doing wrong. I told her at the end of the night that she really made my night and thanked her for all her help. I knew she always had good ideas, but sometimes it was just the way she said them, but that night, she was very understanding and supportive like always, and it really stuck with me.
All I have to say is, Nancy, you will be missed greatly. If it weren’t for you, who knows where some of us would be or what shape we would be in. With you starting SSD, you gave us the tools and your knowledge to live as independently as possible with our respect intact.
Connie is paired with nine-year-old SSD Dutch. They are now living in Hershey, PA.