A Service Dog for Hope
Hello! My name is Hope! I’m 17 years old and struggle with a non-verbal learning disorder, severe anxiety, depression, chronic dizziness and exhaustion.
I was born 13 weeks early and was a micro-preemie weighing only 1 pound 4 ounces. I suffered from retinopathy and severe reflux as well as failure to thrive, though eventually developed fairly well and did not appear to suffer from any major long-term illnesses.
However, in 2015 I was diagnosed with Non-Verbal Learning Disability (a common disability preemie babies often develop) and anxiety. Unfortunately, my family and I didn’t realize the full impact non-verbal learning disorder had on my life and my anxiety continued to worsen. At the end of 2016 I became suicidal and had my first mental health hospitalization. I now added Major Depressive Disorder to my list of diagnoses. Since then I have tried all sorts of medications and therapies. I am happy to say that I am no longer at that severe level of depression, but I continue to suffer from severe anxiety and depressive tendencies. I have also discovered that my non-verbal learning disorder causes significant struggles with my social skills, confusion in my communication, additional sensory issues, and slow processing. Over the past year, I have also developed severe dizziness and exhaustion with no diagnosable cause.
Given all of my struggles I have difficulties doing most of the normal every day activities others take for granted.
It is overwhelming to attend school, go out to stores or be in crowds or around lots of noise. I need to rely heavily on the support of others to help me with everyday tasks. I want to be able to increase my independence and I believe a service dog will do just that.
- A service dog can assist me when I begin to have a panic attack, pick at my skin, dissociate, or break down.
- A service dog can steady me when I’m dizzy or get help if I feel faint.
- A service dog can prompt me to get out of bed when I’m exhausted or too depressed to face the world.
- A service dog can bring me my medications to make sure I stay on track.
- A service dog can create space around me in crowds and help me feel safe when I am alone.