My Service Dog, Nikki: My Help on 4 Paws
I have always struggled. The journey has been rough. Cerebral palsy, braces, multiple doctor’s appointments, surgeries, scoliosis, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, therapeutic riding, medications, autism, unspecified anxiety disorder, etc. Through all of this, I discovered one thing that helps me: my service dog, Nikki.
Nikki is an adopted dog. We first found her through a link sent from my teacher (whom I will be forever grateful to) for the training center where she was put up for adoption. I remember the first day I got Nikki, something inside of me just said, “This is the one. We are made for each other.” So we brought her home! While Nikki and I are made for each other, we still have some “issues” to deal with. But no service dog is perfect, and she will learn with leadership, patience, and time.
Nikki is a psychiatric service dog. She is trained to do DPT (deep pressure therapy), grounding, block, cover, under, guide to exit, and more tasks we are working on. The tasks that are listed will help keep me calm when Nikki and I start going out in public together. DPT and grounding can help me with sensory overload, panic attacks, and high stress/anxiety levels.
Nikki’s face says it all: “I love you.” She loves me no matter what, whether I’m crying or dancing with joy. She will always be there for me, until she is retired. And even then, I will still love her. Nikki doesn’t care if I am autistic or anxious. She gives me the sweetest kisses that make me smile. She has given me goals to work towards and achieve, and she has also taught me problem solving, because you have to learn to communicate with a dog. At home, Nikki currently helps me when I am anxious. She does DPT or grounding on command. And she gets a treat for doing the task as a reward.
I have been on two medications so far, and they have not helped me with my anxiety. They made me more anxious or super agitated and tired. My service dog has helped me more.
We are working towards going out in public together as a service dog team. I have her vest ordered and will probably be buying more SD gear in the future. I am excited for the future with my service dog. She means a lot to me, and with patience, leadership, our awesome trainer, and time, I’m sure Nikki will turn into an awesome service dog.
To follow our adventures please follow us on Instagram! @helper_dog_nikki
Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.
Follow this journey on Ausomely Autistic.
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