Molly's Assistance Tasks
Molly is a mobility/disability Assistance Dog trained by me with help from Dog Assistance in Disability (Dog A.I.D.).
- Picking up dropped items
- Undressing me - including hat, scarf, gloves, coat, jacket, top, trousers, bottoms, underwear and socks
- Fetching the post
- Fetching help
- Fetching named items
- Passing notes between myself and others
- Loading and unloading the washing machine
- Fetching my medication pouch
- Pressing lift and door buttons
- Closing doors
- Carrying items
- Passing money to cashiers
- Passing me items that I point to
- Pulling blankets off me
- Putting rubbish in the bin
- Fetching me a tissue if I sneeze
Molly also performs medical alerts. She will alert me 3-4 hours before my temperature spikes, by incessantly licking my hands and arms. This is crucial because I do not get early warning signs of an infection, so by the time I develop a fever I am very close to, or have already developed, sepsis (septicaemia), a life-threatening condition as a result of a systemic infection. I have three chronic multi-resistant infections in my body, only one of those leads to septicaemia, and I often contract or develop other infections, usually as a result of bacteria from my bowel spreading into my bloodstream. Molly must be able to smell chemical changes in my body, separate from the three infections in my body, either a chemical change as a result of my immune system reacting to the infection, or as a result of the infection itself as it spreads. Dogs can smell parts per trillion; they can smell a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic sized swimming pools, so it is no wonder she can smell the minute chemical changes that occur as a result of my infections spreading or my body reacting to the infections.
Molly also does another, more subtle, alert, which is an alert my blood pressure dropping. She will do this by sitting or standing in my eye line, and staring at me, trying to make eye contact, or she may put her paws up on the arm of my wheelchair and stare straight into my eyes. This is as a result of my POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and Autonomic Neuropathy, because my body cannot cope with being upright and the blood pools in my feet, and not enough gets to my brain, it can occur suddenly, on change of posture, or suddenly at any time of being upright, or it develops slowly over the course of the period I am sitting up in my wheelchair. This can lead to a collapse, or symptoms such feeling lightheaded and dizzy, cognitive dysfunction, flashing lights or loss of vision, loss of hearing, struggling to speak and becoming increasingly incoherent.