After breaking out of the nursing and rehabilitation center, getting my dogs back and moving to my sweet little town of Dunedin, the dogs and I would explore everywhere we could in the power wheelchair.
I was just happy to be back with my dogs and to have the homeless program to nursing home experience behind me. I had been around people 24/7 for nearly a year, which was a challenge for someone who tends to isolate.
It turned out to be such a blessing because the dogs and I ventured out and met some new people in my neighborhood first. I wasn’t used to not having someone to talk to everywhere I turned.
As time passed, I was able to get my first intrathecal baclofen pump. With that, I was able to venture out even more.
As I have shared before, that first pump gave me so much—some firsts, and the ability to do things I never thought I would be able to do again.
Most importantly from my perspective right now, the pump allowed me to meet even more people in this community and to be a part of the community.
First, Duke and I went together to hear our new friend’s band play live at a local place. We did this several times and I noticed that Duke seemed to be picking out specific, but seemingly random people, in the crowd. He would insist I go over to them, which would start a conversation.
I swear he picked my first few friends here in Dunedin. From there, I volunteered for Dunedin Doggie Rescue where I met hundreds of people at events.
I couldn’t believe the volume of wonderful humans that made up this town, and over the years have gotten to know so many of them well.
When my dogs were tired of fostering new dogs, I noticed Duke was bored without his job of looking out for me, so I got him certified as a therapy dog so that we could return to the homeless program to volunteer.
Fast-forward five years. I am in awe of the amount of support I have and the love I feel for each person who is in my life. Seriously, each one.
I feel supported and loved everywhere I go—at work or at play.
In recent weeks, I have reached out more than it feels like I ever have. I am able to do that easier, not just because I have worked on doing that better, but because my support makes it feel ok to do so.
I am grateful. In fact, my heart is full of gratitude for newer friends and older friends. Each of you help me in ways that I am not sure words could adequately explain.