a woman has fallen out of her chair lift but her dog comes to the rescue

My Own Lassie

As a child I used to love watching Lassie save Timmy from all sorts of predicaments. Timmy would be in the well or stuck in a rock. Who would have known I would get my very own sweet version 50-some years later?

The year before the pandemic my son’s academic institution decided to combine 2 buildings and have the occupants of one building work from home. At the time he was living on a 27-foot sailboat with a 50-pound pit bull that he had just rescued. My son loved the boat. The dog did not.

Our son moved in with us and I really was not looking forward to a dog and all the care involved. We completely understood the need and chose to give it a chance. It was one of the best decisions we ever made.

She became comfortable with us

Sheeba had been bred much too early and then turned out onto the streets of Philadelphia. At first she was very timid and even a plastic bag blowing in the wind frightened her. She didn’t bark or growl but made this little yip. Until she was properly groomed she was also a bit on the mangy side.

As it turned out she is a beautiful and pristine white with pink markings. She gradually became more secure and wanted to spend more time with us. After a week or 2, she spent every walking moment in the same room with us and loved the petting and attention. However as much as we got to know how loyal and loving she was, how little did we know what she was capable of!

Sensing something was wrong

In March of 2020 I learned why they are called accidents. My son was away on a business trip and my husband had retired early. Jim is extremely hard of hearing and obviously takes out his hearing aids while sleeping. I stayed downstairs to finish a book.

I live with Parkinson's disease and utilize a couple of assistive devices. After locking up, I used my rollater to get to the second-floor stair climber. The seat is a bit high so I am always careful as to how I get on - except this time. I failed to lock the left brake and as I leaned forward, went flying onto the floor. I called out loudly but Jim didn’t hear me.

Sheeba, sensing something was wrong found me on the floor. When her barking didn’t arouse my husband she went into our bedroom and kept licking his face and arms, all the while making the high pitched whine she uses when she needs to be let out. Thank goodness that did the trick! I have a very hazy recollection as to how long I had lay there as I had lost consciousness. I had a break of my left femur and could never have gotten myself up.

In tune with my good and bad days

Since that incident she is so tuned into my good and bad days with Parkinson's, ever at the ready to offer comfort. If my son is away or my husband is up early, Sheeba comes and sleeps on the floor at the foot of my bed, always just out of the way. The minute she hears the click of my brakes she gets up and moves without ever being directed to do so. On the occasions I have fallen she is always right there and I can lean on her to get up. Are there dogs with a super power? If so I truly believe she has it.

Although balance is not usually a problem for me, there was a day when I kept veering to the right and was extremely shaky. Every time I got up to walk Sheeba would position herself on my right side to keep me steady. With her at 65 pounds and me at 95, I wasn’t going to veer off course!

A loving and loyal pet

Although Sheeba was never trained as a support animal, she has proven to be worth her weight in gold. The love and loyalty she radiates goes without measure. I always feel secure with her, although we did get a a Life Alert as an extra precaution!

Over the last 6 months my husband has developed some balance issues. After he tripped on the stairs one morning, she has taken it upon herself to meet him at the head of the stairs and escort him to the bottom as he is not comfortable using the chair lift. She will then come back up to bed for an hour or so.

Do you have a comfort pet that helps get you through the PD trials? Share in the comment section below! Paws for PD!

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