Why does Caitlyn need a service dog?
Caitlyn deAmbra is a 40 year-old wife to the man of her dreams, whom she calls Saint Douglas. She is the mother of three incredible boys, whom she'll sometimes refer to as M1, M2 and M3. And Caitlyn has CRPS. We call it that because Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is just a mouthful.
What the heck IS CRPS?
Imagine a feather being run down your arm. Soft. Gentle. Soothing. Now imagine a blowtorch on that same spot. THAT is what the feather feels like to patients with CRPS. Caitlyn's entire body has been affected. It's called Whole Body CRPS. These are some of the affects of the disease so far:
* Her leg muscles are too weak to stand or walk;
* Wheelchairs are her only mode of tranport, but the manual is too much to push, she can't even get her grocery shopping done without severe back craps and exhaustion;
* She's had a pacemaker put in because of her syncope (passing out);
* Her arms are following her legs in weakness;
* Every inch of her skin is sensitive to everything: Clothes, bedsheets, a light breeze, movement;
* She tires very easily;
* She drops everything. We don't let her have glass, it just gets dropped...our pantry smells permanently of garlic from a brand new, full bottle of garlic flavored oil that she dropped;
*Just to have dental work done, she has to go to a hospital and have anesthesia.
These are just examples. The disease affects her hair and nails, skin, body hair, internal organs, memory, and ability to function. It also means she's alone most of the time.
What will a service dog do?
A service dog will give Caitlyn a companion, help in daily functions, retrieving items, getting around the house and town, and can be the hands and legs that Cailtyn has lost. Some dogs even have the ability to reduce the pain level in patients with chronic pain. Any pain reduction would help!
Having a service dog would allow Caitlyn to reserve her strength by doing the small things for her, like turning on lights instead of making her get up, get into her chair, push herself across the room, turn on the light, push herself back across the room, and get back in bed or on the couch, and lay down again, which may sound simple, but can be exhausting for someone like Caitlyn. Remember, every movement hurts, so a service dog can alleviate a lot of pain for Caitlyn by doing the simplest of tasks. It would give Caitlyn back so many things, including her independence, and allow her to do the things she needs to do in her life, like being a wife and mother.
In short, a service dog could give Caitlyn her life back.
A Lifelong Partnership
There is no cure for CRPS. There is a treatment option, but just seeing the doctor is 2 years away, and the treatment is likely at least 4 years in the future. This treatment only helps reduce symptoms, and boosters are required for life. A service dog is not a temporary fix, it is a lifelong partnership for Caitlyn.
How Can You Help?
Any amount, every little bit helps. And every moment counts. Every day CRPS takes a little more from her. Recently she was grocery chopping and was pushing herself, and she had back cramps so badly that people in the store were going to call 911. She is now bed bound, except for doctors' appointment, and a rare time or two where she tries to life a few moments at a time, like a normal person, and it always takes its toll. Even if you can't donate, just by passing this along, you could be the person that puts it in the hands of someone who will put us over the top.
Feel free to forward this along to whomever you'd like. Once Caitlyn has her four-legged partner, she will personally write a thank you letter with a photo of both Caitlyn and...her service dog to every person that donates to the cause.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE?
There are several reasons.
1. If you go through the services that don't charge for service dogs, the waiting lists are over 2 years long. That's 2 years Caitlyn will get worse. Every moment counts. Also, by using smaller, personalized services, you can be more specific about what you would like your service dog to help you with.
2. If you use a private trainier with donated dogs, you are paying for the years of upbringing and training that goes into creating a service dog match that is right for Caitlyn.
3. When the training is "done", it's not really done. Caitlyn and a companion have to then go to wherever the trainer is and stay for up to 2 weeks, learning the commands, and getting trained in how to best utilize her new helper.
4. Monies raised go to: Dog upbringing, training, travel and lodging for Caitlyn and her husband or famliy member. Any monies not used, or raised over the needed amount will be donated to a local service dog project.
DOES CAITLYN HAVE A 'DREAM DOG' IN MIND?
While Caitlyn loves all animals, and will be greatful for any service dog, her hopes are for a male Golden Retreiver. Based on her research, it is the best fit for her personally, and they make excellent service and companion animals. And Caitlyn loves their smiles.
WHY CAN'T SHE JUST TAKE OUT A LOAN?
That may seem to be the easiest, most guaranteed way of getting the funds; however, shortly before Caitlyn got sick, she and her husband had just bought a brand new house. Caitlyn lost all of her income, which was about 65 percent of their total income, from her full-time job and new photography business that was really starting to take off. She and her huband had no choice but to file for bankruptcy and foreclose on their house. Therefore, getting a loan is out of the question.
Caitlyn says, "I can't thank my supporters enough, not just the ones that donated their funds, also the ones who gave their time to send this out to their freiends, and they send it to their friends and on and on. You have my undying gratitude, and you will always be in my heart!"