Kevin Stone: Hi! I am Kevin Stone, U.
S. Army Veteran and Paralympic athlete, and client of Paws With A Cause. Today, I am going to tell you a little bit about what it's like to have an Assistance Dog.
I've been partnered with an assistance dog for 14 wonderful years. My first service dog and I were together for eleven and a half years. My second dog and I have been together for three years.
When did you first decide that you needed an Assistance Dog?
We have seen a service dog in the grocery store for helping a woman in a scooter by retrieving items off the bottom of the shelf. At that time, I thought I did need help. When I realize that my children were taking care of me instead of me taking care of them, I decided it was time to get some help. So I applied for a service dog.
In what ways has your Assistance Dog changed your life?
Ashley Wiseman: The main thing is that having a disability is always the elephant in the room with new people or with strangers. People always like to make some awkward comment to acknowledge the fact that you in fact have a disability, and now people make comments about the dog. So the focus has shifted from the disability to the dog, and that's one way that things really change and gotten better.
Kevin Stone: Having service dogs in my life have helped me to fulfill a very rich life. Having my first service dog to help pull my wheel chair and to pick up things that I dropped, help me to travel independently, and to train to become a member of two consecutive team U.
A in Athens and Beijing.
My second service dog helps me travel in my current profession of motivational and public speaking as well as educating, illuminating, and inspiring law makers for the many benefits of assistance dog for veterans.
What advice would you give to others who are considering an Assistance Dog?
As you can see for me, having an Assistance Dog has changed my life. If you're considering getting an Assistance Dog, research the organizations you're considering. Make the commitments of fully participate in the process and get ready to live your life without limitations.