Our guest post today comes from Lu, who shares the story of her extraordinary journey (so far) with Pippin, the uber handsome, big-hearted Cardigan Welsh Corgi who is her service dog and dearest companion.
Pippin came into my life in February of 2012. I had been searching a long while for a Cardigan breeder able to meet my need for a service animal to assist with ongoing, profound hearing loss. The right match of temperament and personality was critical.
Why a Cardigan Welsh Corgi? I didn’t need a “big” dog for mobility. Instead, I was seeking a smaller, hardy dog for life in Alaska; one with a double coat to withstand the cold temperatures.
In Paula O’Donnell of Telltail Cardigans in Florida, I found the most awesome breeder Corgi Nation could imagine! She was willing to take on the challenge, having previously placed her Cardigans in service/therapy animal settings. It took a good year and lots of patience, until the day she e-mailed me to say she was sure she had the pup for me!
Paula watched Pippin for four months to be absolutely certain. During this time, our pup had the most wonderful trainer with him every minute. When the time came, I flew down to Palm City, where I had the experience of my life meeting Paula, the trainer and Pippin. It was MEANT TO BE! Over five days, I saw him herd sheep, worked with him in classes, and watched him playing with his Cardi siblings (more than a dozen!)
Oh, I was in heaven! Pippin was IT. My newfound SATELLITE EARS FOR LIFE! Together we flew back to Fairbanks, where our journey together continued.
As my hearing failed me, he was by my side as I traveled to the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle to have bilateral Cochlear Implant surgery. Pippin had become part of my journey and needed to be there for my healing. He truly was my healer during that time, snuggling close after surgery and comforting me. To see this ability in a pup so young was incredible.
Pippin lives a full life of adventure here in Alaska, where he is known in the community and welcome anywhere we go. He has LOTS of girlfriends, adores children, and is such an icebreaker for tots with a fear of dogs. Pippin is my clown and brings such joy to my every moment. He is always up for fun and just loves the outdoors!
We have been inseparable since the day we met. The only time we were apart was the night he had to stay at the hospital after his recent surgery for knee repair. I realized how important his ears are to me then, because without the cochlear devices on, I am completely deaf at night, when they are off. I didn’t realize how much I depended on him for sound, comfort and security. What an amazing little guy!
Some wonderful folks in Corgi Nation helped make Pippin’s surgery possible, with a fundraiser to cover expenses.
I’m on a longer road to recovery than expected, and every day is a hearing challenge. Unlike some people, I didn’t just win back my hearing after surgery and therapy. Pippin provides those extra ears — my SATELLITES — and amazing comfort. I am so glad to have him assisting me.
He is truly my life, and without the love of Pippin, I would not have met ALL of you in Corgi Nation!
Corgi On, Lu and Pippin!