Fridays with FAITH: Meet Harrison & PARKER
Hello my FAITH-ful readers! I hope you’re enjoying the summer and cooling off with the doggie paddle like I have been! Our pack has more ‘paw-some’ news that you’ll be jumping all over the place! We have a new addition to our pack- Harrison & PARKER are now part of the maCares Service Dog Support Program!
My fellow 4-legged service dog, PARKER is a Briard named after “Peter Parker” aka Spider-Man, which 5.5 year old Harrison loves – every superhero needs a sidekick! These 2 were matched in July 2017. After completing training, PARKER went home with Harrison in May 2018. PARKER allows Harrison to be a part of the world, including socializing with other children.
PARKER helps other children focus on them as a team instead of seeing what Harrison can’t do. PARKER also helps Harrison ambulate, gives balance support, forward momentum, helps with his pain and calming him by giving him deep pressure therapy, encourages him to eat during mealtimes, disrupts behaviors so he can conserve his energy (he has limited energy stores due to his progressive disease), and alerting when he needs help.
Harrison and his twin sister were born early at 35 weeks. Harrison’s twin sister was able to go home, but Harrison had to stay in the NICU for breathing and feeding issues. Harrison was delayed in his developmental milestones and has been receiving physical and occupational therapy.
At 4 years old, Harrison was diagnosed with a genetic condition, most likely under the umbrella of mitochondrial disease. He experiences extreme fatigue and lack of energy to even eat, muscle weakness at a cellular level, pain in legs and back, and sleep disturbances. However, on the outside he looks like a healthy little boy. No one would know his struggles except when he can’t sustain activity.
The deep pressure therapy and other methods PARKER provides helps decrease the amounts of medications he needs (pain, sleep, etc). Currently, Harrison & PARKER are working on retrieval, pushing buttons, and tasks to help more as Harrison’s disease progresses. PARKER allows Harrison to have more independence. Without PARKER, Harrison is pretty isolated from friends, school, and normal activities for his age group.
Harrison and PARKER look forward to becoming involved in “The Miracle League” (an adaptive baseball team) in the fall.
Harrison loves his siblings (a brother and twin sister), dogs, superheroes, dogs, and taking pictures with his camera. Harrison says he’d like to be a daddy when he grows up.
Please help us celebrate and support Harrison & PARKER joining the family! Be sure to check out all of the maCares & faith Cares service dog teams at www.maCares.org. Stay up-to-date on the events maCares holds to raise money to stay committed to ‘Helping Service Dogs Help Others’ by following us on Facebook.
Together we are helping to make a difference in the lives of others. To help service dog teams in our program like Harrison and PARKER, you can join the 2018 maCares Tribute 5K Run/2.5K Walk by registering at www.maCares.racewire.com. Make sure to sign up before August 6th to be guaranteed an event t-shirt! You can also help us support service dog teams and rescued animals in need by making a tax deductible donation or purchasing from our Facebook Shop.
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Wags and licks,