Published by Amy Lacey, ABC8 News, WRIC.com, July 17, 2015
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Goose is never too far away from Bunny Sumner Young. The Great Dane has been her lifeline since their paths crossed at an Arizona Humane Society eight years ago.
“I rescued her, and then daily she rescues me,” Bunny says patting Goose’s head.
Goose is a cardiac assistance dog. She’s the second one Bunny has had over the years. Since age 11, Bunny has battled a condition that causes a rapid heart rate. Goose is tall enough to serve as a “walking cane” to keep Bunny steady on her feet. She is also trained to detect the sudden spikes.
“Far before I could ever sense that something’s wrong in my human brain, she knows that my heart rate is getting up and that I need to do something about it.”
Bunny explains that Goose can hear it, nudge her, get her cell phone and get help. Because of Goose, Bunny says she has been able to cut out six different prescriptions.
“My quality of life has improved significantly being six-legged rather than two-legged with lots of medications.”
Bunny is grateful to a healthcare provider who years ago recommended that she look into getting a service dog to help manage her heart condition and now lives the benefits of having Goose every day. Bunny just launched a nonprofit called Pawssible to give the gift to other patients.
“We wanted to provide people with resources to work with a trainer, hopefully rescue a dog from a local animal shelter and provide them with scholarships to train their own dogs,” Bunny explains.
She says there is typically a two-year waiting list for service dogs, and their average cost is $30,000. That is where Pawssible will come in to make more immediate matches and provide the training recommendations.
Education is also a big part of Pawssible’s mission. Bunny and Goose are spreading the word about how businesses and community organizations can better accommodate service dogs and the people who rely on them.
Bunny is now using her experience to better others’ lives one canine companion at a time.