Meet our Clients that are waiting for a Service Dog.
My name is Lonni Epstein and I’m looking forward to receiving a service dog so that I can finally enjoy life to the fullest!
I suffered needlessly from a very young age both physically and emotionally not knowing why I was so sick & in so much pain. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I finally was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and Ankylosing Spondylitis Arthritis, a rare form of arthritis, and I began receiving treatment. In addition to my physical disabilities, I also struggle with ADHD, dyslexia, and auditory processing difficulties.
Now in my 30’s, I look forward to receiving a service dog to provide me with the freedom to live a more active, social lifestyle and to feel like an equal member of my community. In public settings, I have to be very aware of my surroundings so I don’t get bumped, pushed, or shoved because one push can send my arthritis into an overdrive of pain. This can cause anxiety, which causes my Crohn’s Disease to flare. In addition, because of degenerative arthritic changes, it is difficult for me to bend down to pick up objects. A service dog would help me retrieve objects from the floor so that I do not risk hurting myself. A service dog will also reduce my stress and anxiety and help me enjoy my daily life like I deserve to. Because there are times I cannot get out of bed, a service dog can have an emergency recall to get help. During a Crohn’s flare, my service dog could rest its head on my stomach to help alleviate my severe abdominal pain.
It is not easy living in pain or being sick all of the time. It’s exhausting and causes me severe anxiety. A service dog would provide me with so much more independence and improve my daily life. I’ve missed out on so much because of my disabilities and I’m ready to start a new journey, living life to the FULLEST!
In 2016, Justice Walsh was a typical 18 year old with plans. He was set to attend college and study Art & Music. He loved playing guitar. In a flash, everything changed. Justice was a passenger in a vehicle struck by a drunk driver. He sustained serious head injuries that radically altered his plans forever. The doctors’ prognosis was grim, but they could not quantify Justice’s fighting spirit. Despite multiple surgeries and complications, Justice not only survived, he re-learned to talk, eat, walk (with assistance); he relies on a wheelchair for mobility. He continues to enjoy his music and be creative.
His mom calls him “Ironman” for his courage & determination, not to mention the battery pack in his chest to help control seizures.
“I would say what I admire most in Justice is his determination; he never gives up. He has such a positive attitude and cheers people up wherever he goes and warm people’s hearts. The doctors gave him only 3% chance of survival and yet he continues to amaze them and prove them wrong.”
~ Angela Sullivan, Justice’s mom
A service dog for Justice will help him overcome his partial paralysis and loss of mobility. Justice still has plans and the determination to make them happen.
Guiseppe was always an over-achiever–he didn’t just walk, he ran at 8 months old! He was a leader, a Hall of Fame Award winner in junior high school and in high school, a Gold Medalist in Track and Field, and an MVP in basketball.
In October 2005, Guiseppe encountered an unknowing epileptic seizure at the wheel of his car, causing him to crash at high speed into a tree, trapping his right leg and causing a bleed in his front temporal lobe, which put him into a coma in ICU. Luckily, his friends were driving right behind him and witnessed the accident. Before the car could be engulfed in flames, they pulled him out. Thanks to them, he made it out with his life. Guiseppe did not yet know how drastically his life and days forward would change from being a hall of fame athlete, to a devastating injury.
Guiseppe has faced insurmountable challenges emotionally, mentally, and biologically to try to function normally for the last 15 years. He has struggled with lack of mental health support options. In 2019, he was diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to the car crash.
Guiseppe, along with his doctors and family, have agreed that the best possible option to help him in his daily crises and a more suitable way to deal with the world would be through acquiring a service dog. With your support, Canine Support Teams can help provide Guiseppe with the desperate help he needs at a time when he needs it most. Guiseppe is hoping to have a life he can look forward to and develop more independence. As he’s stated, “I don’t feel like I am in control of my own biology anymore.” A service dog will help Guiseppe regain that control and confidence.